Honor, Excellence, Accountability, Respect and Teamwork



Honor, Excellence, Accountability, Respect and Teamwork are the bedrocks of the Charleston Police Department. In keeping with the spirit of our values, we try to maintain open communication with our applicants regarding our expectations. If selected to work for the Charleston Police Department, the organization and the general public will be entrusting the officer with a very high level of power and authority. The following could disqualify an applicant; however, the final decision is made by the Chief of Police.

Criminal History

  • Conviction of any felony or any crime involving moral turpitude (crimes contrary to justice, honesty, or good morals)
  • Conviction of any crime which carries a 6 months jail sentence or more, excluding traffic violations which are discussed separately, or the South Carolina State Law equivalent within the last 5 years
  • Any conviction of domestic violence, including simple assault against a domestic partner, spouse, child or parent
  • Adult commission of undetected crimes of a serious or repetitive nature.

Traffic Violations

  • Three or more negative points on a South Carolina Operator’s License or the equivalent for out of state licenses
  • Points may be negated by attending defensive driving school offered by the Division of Motor Vehicles prior to initial testing
  • Any conviction of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, refusal to take blood or breath test, eluding police, racing, or leaving the scene of an accident within the last 5 years.


  • Any involvement in the sale or distribution of illegal drugs as an adult;
  • Juvenile involvement in the sale or distribution of illegal drugs is an area of concern which will be given careful scrutiny in the context of the full investigation/review
  • Any illegal possession of heroin, cocaine, hallucinogens or any other schedule 1 or 2 drug, or any derivative thereof, as defined in the Code of South Carolina within the last 7 years
  • Illegal possession of anabolic steroids within the last 3 years
  • Illegal possession of marijuana or a derivative thereof within the last 18 months

Credit History

  • Demonstrated history of financial irresponsibility. (Examples of areas of concern include unpaid collections or unsatisfactory judgments where no payment plan has been established. Bankruptcies will be evaluated based on the time frame, circumstances, other measures pursued, and restoration of credit.)


  • Dishonorable discharge from any military service;
  • Untruthfulness and/or intentional withholding of information on any application, interview, or paperwork associated with the position. Examples of intentional withholding of information would include deliberate inaccuracies or incomplete statements; or
  • Cheating on any examination or testing associated with the position.


  • Applicants who are successful in the initial testing will undergo a thorough background investigation, including polygraph examination. Areas of concern will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis within the context of the full investigation/review.
  • Listed are additional areas of concern, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Reduction of charges as a result of a plea agreement or other form of sentencing disposition prior to a conviction in any of the aforementioned criminal and driving history categories;
  • Crimes committed as a juvenile, including undetected crime;
  • Patterns of reckless and/or irresponsible driving;
  • Conviction/s of driving under the influence;
  • Illegal drug possession that does not fall within the parameters defined above;
  • Less than honorable military discharge, erratic work record, or unfavorable employment references; and
  • Pending litigation or prosecution for criminal offenses must be resolved prior to consideration for employment.
The City of Charleston