A career in the police force comes with many responsibilities. With the training, unpredictable nature and obvious risks, it isn’t an easy position to take up. This is why it is sensible to ask: Can someone with Tourette’s be a Police Officer?
Many people with Tourette Syndrome work in the police force, some even using social media as a way to raise awareness. This does depend on the severity and the countries laws.
The severity of tics will be a factor
Everyone experiences tics differently.
Some more severe than others. This is why there cannot be a definitive ‘yes or no’ answer to the question, it purely depends on how Tourette affects you personally.
More complex tics may be hard to suppress, or manifest during intense or dangerous situations. Tics may also worsen at times of high anxiety, pressure and stress. Tics are known to do this.
In 2016 an officer with Tourette was fired for saying a racial slur in training
Mr Flickinger was hired in March 2016, before being fired in May of the same year.
During his appeal he stated that he was open about his tics during the hiring process, all to no avail.
‘They hired me knowing that I have Tourette’s. I mean… it’s not like I can hide it’.
This is a quote from the Arkansas Online article on the incident.
Apparently the officer disclosed having Tourette Syndrome during the hiring process, but did not specify that a racial slur was one of his tics.
What would the outcome be if he did? I cannot imagine that he would have been hired, judging by the decision to fire him over the tic.
A tic of this nature, in a role of this nature, can make recruitment very tricky indeed.
Be honest during the recruitment process
If there is full honesty about the tics experienced, there is less chance of complications after entering the role.
It can be difficult to open up about Tourette, I have struggled with this all my life.
A police officer is under a bigger spotlight, working in the community with a greater chance of engaging with people less knowledgable on the condition.
The greater use of phone cameras means things can be recorded and uploaded with little to no context at any moment.
The more open you are, the more understanding people will be.
Some national charities- such as Tourette’s Action in the UK- offer Tourette Syndrome ID cards that offer an explanation for tics.
Tourette’s Cop is a great ambassador
Tourette’s Cop uses Instagram to spread awareness about having Tourette’s in the police force.
Based in the US, his large audience receive daily updates on his struggles, his strengths and general information about living with the condition.
Can you be a police officer with Tourette Syndrome?
If tics are manageable, it’s certainly possible.
But be prepared to disclose tics early on if they are more complex, as this could interfere with the job.
For those with only simple tics, it may not even be addressed during the recruitment process. some tics won’t interfere at all and may even improve during moments of increased concentration.
Tourette’s Cop and others like him are great ambassadors, helping to motivate and inspire a new generation break the boundaries.
Go for it, and all the best in your career!