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I’m Going to Become a Police Officer But Need to Clean Up My Credit. – Dustin

“Dear Steve,

I have a good amount of debt collectors trying to collect and recently was selected for a local police department. They do a credit check and I’m really scared this may disqualify me. I have no repos, foreclosures, or bankruptcies. It is simply some debt that I couldn’t pay, that went to a collector. I have a little money to pay off some debt, but I need to do it very quick. My current credit score is in the low 500 range. For the job, I need to attach my credit report to the background investigation. I have been considering going to a local credit help professional because they know the laws better and may be able to better assist with dealing with the creditors, and also making sure my credit report gets updated as it is supposed to (because I have no clue about the process and how things are done).

Should I pay off this debt in whole, then hound the creditors to update the main credit reporting companies? Should I keep copies of the receipts and attach it with my credit report to the department to show that I am now in good standing? Will collection companies report that I am working with them and will this show on my credit report? After paying the debt, how soon will it show on my credit report? I have about a 2 week window to repair this, so I know it is going to be difficult. Please give me any kind of advice to quickly remove this debt, or at least show the department that I am paying this off in good faith.


Dear Dustin,

In your particular situation you have three logical solutions.

The first would be to pay the debt off in full right now. Pay by some means that shows you paid and they received payment. Keep all the documentation together.

The second would be for you to contact a credit counseling group and get them to put you on a debt management program. You can click here for credit counseling information. The credit counseling group can provide supporting documentation to the department that you have taken action and working to resolve the situation.

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The third option would be to check with the HR department and see if they would prefer if you simply engage in a plan to address the debt with a payment plan or would prefer to see the debt eliminated entirely. If so then bankruptcy would be the way to go. It would close the door on the debt and let you focus on doing better moving forward.

Bankruptcy is a legal process to eliminate unmanageable debt. For some departments the presence of a bankruptcy is less of a problem than ongoing debt. I can’t see where it would hurt to ask them since they are going to see your report anyway.

You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and if you’d like a second opinion about your situation or a personal consultation by another debt coach, please feel free to contact Damon Day.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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