Looking to join the Law Enforcement team.

This is a discussion on Looking to join the Law Enforcement team. within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I am 21, almost 22. I have been serving in the US Navy for the past few years. When it comes time to re-up or ...

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Thread: Looking to join the Law Enforcement team.

  1. #1
    New Member Array griffin7's Avatar
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    Looking to join the Law Enforcement team.

    I am 21, almost 22. I have been serving in the US Navy for the past few years. When it comes time to re-up or get out, I'm still not sure what I will do. With the economy being so unstable I'm kinda scared to get out. Sure, the military doesn't pay much, but when it comes to supporting my family I love the security the military offers. If I do get out I would like to get into Law Enforcement. I attended college for two years before I joined the Navy, but I do not have a complete degree yet. Here's my questions. To get into the Law Enforcement career will I need to get my degree? If so, what degree will help me the most. I thought of getting my degree in Criminal Justice, but I have been told that that degree does not really help anymore than a degree of another type such as a science or mathmatics degree. Will my military background help me get into a special program down the road such as K9, SWAT, Drug Enforcement? And finally, do y'all think that making the transition from Military to Law Enforcement would be a smart and stable decision with the current economy conditions? Thanks.

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    Member Array G96X0's Avatar
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    There will always be criminals, so you will always have work. But can you tolerate seeing the bad side of people most of the time? Also, dealing with that for the next 20 years?

    It's the biggest complaint of the few cops that I know.

    PS. Thanks for serving our great country

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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    You can edit the title by switching to "advanced editing" or whatever the equivalent is. You should see the button appear when you edit your post.

    Most of your questions depend on the department. A small department with few businesses and lots of residences (suburb for example) may not care what type of degree you have. Nor would a really huge department like Seattle that can never seem to hire enough new guys. Other departments are more competitive and the type of degree you have just might separate you from the next guy.

    Most of the mid to large departments in the State now use Public Safety testing - Apply with Public Safety Agencies Online for their testing. They have a lot of information there.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    If I had it to do again, I would have put in 20 in the military then gone immediately into law enforcement at 38 years old. By the time I were 58, I'd be double dipping in my two retirement accounts. Still plenty of time left to play around with some other work if I wanted. Seven years later, I'd be qualifying for my third retirement check from Social Security. Made in the shade, with great job security through both careers.
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    Member Array calireserve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matiki View Post
    "Most of your questions depend on the department. A small department with few businesses and lots of residences (suburb for example) may not care what type of degree you have. Nor would a really huge department like Seattle that can never seem to hire enough new guys. Other departments are more competitive and the type of degree you have just might separate you from the next guy."
    +1 to Matiki

    Its a great time to get into LE. Check out the forum below. You can find out about most departments in the country.
    Thank you for your military service griffin! Good Luck on your career choice.

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    With this economy? You may regret getting out right now...let the military pay for you to complete your degree while you're still in...I'd hang in there for at least another 2-3 years...let the economy sort itself out, if it does...can't hurt.
    The BG's will still be there (multiplying)...
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    I'd wait a couple of years, finish out your degree while still in the Navy. If you can do as AZHusker said and retire, go to work in law enforcement until you retire there. If I had my life to do over again, that's exactly what I would do. You may be able to switch to military LE at re-enlistment time. That would give you a good foot in the door to civilian LE....
    Bumper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bumper View Post
    I'd wait a couple of years, finish out your degree while still in the Navy. If you can do as AZHusker said and retire, go to work in law enforcement until you retire there. If I had my life to do over again, that's exactly what I would do. You may be able to switch to military LE at re-enlistment time. That would give you a good foot in the door to civilian LE....
    Actually I have been told by different LE agencies they are leery of hiring former military LE people. They prefer someone who they are training initially and not having to break old habits first. Military LE and civilian LE is like comparing apples to oranges. They are both fruits, but it pretty much ends there. Policy and procedures, use of force, state/local laws vs military law, even tactical training is geared differently.

    Since you have a family, and the economic situation isn't the best right now. I'd give it another hitch. Finish your degree, in whatever field you choose, then look at getting out after that enlistment is up.
    Criminal justice degree may not help you get hired, but as you move up the ladder, I'm sure it would give you better standing than someone with a degree in "basket weaving".
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    Member Array ispcapt's Avatar
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    When you are about 6 months from ETS then start applying to whatever LEAs you are interested in. It usually takes a few months to get thru the hiring process and it's a very competitive application process. Then as you get closer to your ETS if it looks like you're not getting hired by an LEAs then you have the option of re-enlisting. If you wait until you ETS to start applying you could be waiting for a while without a serious job.
    Being prior military has its advantages. Most places give veterans preference points. In addition, many agencies actively look for prior military types. You're already use to working in a team environment and should have developed some discipline in your life. Those are not traits/skills common with kids just out of college.
    Many agencies require college with more and more requiring 4 yr degrees or at minimum a 2 yr degree. However, many of those waive all or some college requirements for prior military. My agency requires a 4 yr degree but if a person has 3 yrs prior military then they only need 2 yrs of college.
    Go for it if it's something you're interested in. Most of the time the pay isn't very good, the working conditions sometimes are pretty bad, and you'll sometimes find yourself working for supervisors who don't have a clue and treat you like a kid. Gee, sounds sort of like the military doesn't it.
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    Senior Member Array XD in SC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    Actually I have been told by different LE agencies they are leery of hiring former military LE people. They prefer someone who they are training initially and not having to break old habits first.
    .

    Just the opposite here. Me not having Military experience, is hurting me as far as getting into LE. I will have to take the long way around.
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    Senior Member Array mulle46's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by XD in SC View Post
    Just the opposite here. Me not having Military experience, is hurting me as far as getting into LE. I will have to take the long way around.
    I think Archer meant( and I could be wrong) that some agencies don't like hiring prior military who were LE while they were AD. Military LE is alot different than civilian LE, and some agencies would be reluctant to hire former military LE, as they wouldn't want the liability issues if the former military LE reverts back to how they were trained in the military while acting as a civilian LEO. OMO. Az Husker, I would have probably done the same, if I hadn't gotten married and had a child. I got out because I didn't want to miss my child growing up. As it was, I missed a year and a half of her first two years from deployments. I would have been 40 though with 20 years in the military.
    You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Quote Originally Posted by mulle46 View Post
    I think Archer meant( and I could be wrong) that some agencies don't like hiring prior military who were LE while they were AD. Military LE is alot different than civilian LE, and some agencies would be reluctant to hire former military LE, as they wouldn't want the liability issues if the former military LE reverts back to how they were trained in the military while acting as a civilian LEO. OMO. Az Husker, I would have probably done the same, if I hadn't gotten married and had a child. I got out because I didn't want to miss my child growing up. As it was, I missed a year and a half of her first two years from deployments. I would have been 40 though with 20 years in the military.
    mulle46 is correct in what I was trying to say.
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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    I am a Marine Corps vet, no college. I made LEO Sergeant in eight years, so you can do anything you want.

    IMO, you have the perfect mix of some college, military experience, and not too young. Check on your base or on a nearby Marine Corps base. A lot of the larger departments recruit there. I tested, interviewed and was offered a job by LAPD back in 1991. I didn't take it (tough decision) because I wanted to go back home and be a LEO. It then took me seven years to get hired.

    As for SWAT - stay in shape and be proficient in as many weapons platforms as possible.

    I worked a K-9 and I can tell you that it all boils down to your rhythm with a dog, not your experience. You either have it or not. Dogs are easy to train, handlers are tougher. If you really want K-9 (it's the best job in LEO) re-up and become a handler and then recruit into the department and hope for the best. A lot of the time, seniority is a factor in the K-9 handler selection process

    Wherever it leads you, good luck.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    FYI - LAPD info for military personnel

    56,000 - 75,000 starting pay.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

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    Member Array Stranger's Avatar
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    If you do get into law enforcement don't forget to say thanks every now and then to your support staff (Communications techs, mechanics, dispatchers, etc.) they are all there to help you do your job the best that you can.

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