Thinking of joining the police force...

Thinking of joining the police force...

This is a discussion on Thinking of joining the police force... within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; It's something I kind of always thought would be a good idea, but never put much stock in it cause I knew my mother wouldn't ...

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Thread: Thinking of joining the police force...

  1. #1
    Member Array Red82's Avatar
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    Thinking of joining the police force...

    It's something I kind of always thought would be a good idea, but never put much stock in it cause I knew my mother wouldn't like it when I was growing up and then I didn't think my wife would. Well she actually brought it up the other day and we've been talking about it in detail. Any thoughts from you LEO's on how much you like or dislike your job?
    Protection is a responsibility not just a right.


  2. #2
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    Every local and department is very different. The biggest piece of generic advice I can give you right now is to shop for the department you want to work for, don't let them shop for you. This is easier said than done because of the current economy, the good jobs with good departments are highly competitive. You must bring something to the table, (experience, education etc) if you have nothing, go get it first.
    Last edited by SIXTO; November 24th, 2008 at 10:32 AM. Reason: it was late, typos
    "Just blame Sixto"

  3. #3
    Member Array hickatheart's Avatar
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    What things do you suggest shopping for? Besides pay and benefits: level (state/local), does the dept. stand behind the guys, jurisdiction (wealthy parts of town, woods and cows), potential for OT, stability of the job, ability to join special teams . . . these are some of the things I've encountered in my search.
    It seems odd, that in a time of increased crime potential, LE would be the thing cut.
    SIXTO: nice post count #!
    H@H

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    Member Array sc4x4's Avatar
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    That statement sums it up, if you really want to become a LEO you need to research your options and find a department that best suits you and your expectations of law enforcement.

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    VIP Member Array NY27's Avatar
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    I would suggest taking any and all open competetive exams for LE. Get your foot in the door with any dept, even corrections. You will gain experience and be more appealing to the better jobs like Sixto mentioned.

    I work for a small village in Westechester County, NY. My pay is good and my workload is less. I did my time in corrections, NYPD and another city in Westchester before making my final move. It took me over 7 years to get where I am and I have nearly 13 years on the job.

    It all depends on what you want to do. Hopefully you can land the job the you want the FIRST time.

    Good luck.
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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    Find a Guardian Angel in the business who can guide you through the finer points of which agency near you is better and why.

    Some things that you don't think of early on like retirement benefits and insurance for dependants, pension, carry limitation, shifts, detective status, specialty assignments, promotions, etc...can make a big difference when you're in it for 20 -30 years.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

  7. #7
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    You are receiving some very good advice.

    If you don't have any experience, you may have to work your way to where you want to be, both department and jobwise. It took me over ten years to get where I wanted to be, agencywise. I've thought of leaving, and even looked around, but always end up staying where I am because I wanted it so much to start with.

    BTW: I didn't get hired for the job I originally wanted. During those ten years I got more and different expiriences, and that is what made me more "hireable" to the agency I'm with. In short, I bring something to the table besides just being "young and dumb cannon fodder."

    If you get lucky enough to get a job as a LEO, or any job for that matter, keep your mouth shut and don't let your brains dribble out. You can learn for anyone at work, even if it's how not to do something. I try to let others make the mistakes, and then learn from them so that I don't repeat them.

    Good luck and hang in there.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member Array WC145's Avatar
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    Also, be aware that there's lots of LE jobs other than your local PD. You should look into what is available to you given your age, education, locale, willingness to relocate, etc. You might find something that really appeals to you that isn't what you might think of as the "police".
    For instance, I'm an LEO but my job involves very little "policing" per se. I am a constable and shellfish conservation warden for a small town on the coast of Maine. I have full police powers but my primary duties have me spending my time around the shore and the mudflats enforcing state and local shellfishing laws and ordnances.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by hickatheart View Post
    What things do you suggest shopping for? Besides pay and benefits: level (state/local), does the dept. stand behind the guys, jurisdiction (wealthy parts of town, woods and cows), potential for OT, stability of the job, ability to join special teams . . . these are some of the things I've encountered in my search.
    It seems odd, that in a time of increased crime potential, LE would be the thing cut.
    SIXTO: nice post count #!
    H@H
    Yes, all of the above... the biggest thing is the climate of the department. So many good departments are completely ruined by a few members of the brass with little man syndrome, I've seen it myself a few times. Things like that you will never know until you get an inside source, or you are there yourself.

    Many people are shocked that L.E. isn't expanding fast due to potential crime increases. But, money doesn't grow on trees; when the economy is down, the public sector is affected too.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Black Knight's Avatar
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    Every department has its good and bad aspects. The trick is to embrace the good and be willing to attempt to change the bad. Realize that you may not be able to change the bad by much so accept the fact and go on. In my department we are used mostly for facility security and do very little real law enforcement at this time. We are trying to change this but change comes slowly. It was nearly 3 years before we were allowed to carry a live round in the chamber of our Berettas. The powers that be were not police oriented and operated as if we were in the 1940's carrying the old Colt 1911's. If you are wondering I am with a Dept. of the Army Civilian Police unit.

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    I can say, go with what your heart is telling you

    I had an interest in LE for quite awhile and thought for a few years that it just wasn't the right time, or it won't work with my family, etc
    well, at 36 I made into the academy and I'm enjoying this career change, my mom was leary of my decison at first too but she understands that this is where God has led me in my life and its where I'm supposed to be, support of your wife will be a HUGE asset, life in LE is stressful for your family and your wife will need to be understanding and supportive
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    Member Array SpizyChicken's Avatar
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    We need good officers and thank God for the ones we have. I almost became a LEO. But didn't for many reasons. With the court system and the world today you get crappy pay to be counselors with guns. More and more people are disrespecting police because they know they can and get away with it. They know the law and follow it to the very edge. LEO's hands are tied in so many ways, yet have a huge responsibility and even greater liability.

    If you are single, no family and want a different job, go for it!
    But if you are married, plan to marry, have a family, or want decent pay with lower stress level, don't do it!
    Pro-Peace & Pro Piece

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpizyChicken View Post
    We need good officers and thank God for the ones we have. I almost became a LEO. But didn't for many reasons. With the court system and the world today you get crappy pay to be counselors with guns. More and more people are disrespecting police because they know they can and get away with it. They know the law and follow it to the very edge. LEO's hands are tied in so many ways, yet have a huge responsibility and even greater liability.

    If you are single, no family and want a different job, go for it!
    But if you are married, plan to marry, have a family, or want decent pay with lower stress level, don't do it!
    That depends a lot on where you go. See my first post in this thread.
    For example, I'm happy with the pay I get to be a police officer. I'll break 6 figures this year without a whole lot of over time; and I'm paid to be a street cop, not a fuzzy officer friendly type... To be honest, I dont do a lot of work, its all pretty easy. We are not paid for what we do, but for what we might have to do.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Dal1Celt's Avatar
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    Will be talking to the local PD recruiter here in the next few weeks. Was told by an LEO that they love us military retirees (less we have to be taught) My younger brother an LEO for the past 14 years (just left traffic to be a SUV detective) trying to talk me out of it.

    22 years of Military service, it's hard think of any other life then service. (uh yes I've been institutionalized)
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  15. #15
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    There are pro and cons to every type of department large or small, High speed low drag or Fuzzy officer friendly. Larger Departments pay more and have more specialities to try to get into.(Motors, K-9 SWAT etc..) smaller departments pay less and you have to be a jack of all trades. With really large departments your better off going into the military, cuz your gonna get shot at & the rules of engagements are less complicated. They shoot at you you destroy them..You don't have a cilvilian review board.

    I started off the in the military, went to a large Department (patrol, SWAT) Now I run a small rural department. I guess I'm a Warm and Fuzzy now...that's OK, LE Patrol is a young man's game.

    It's really competative so take the oppertunity to go through the process whenever you can, You'll learn from it. If they have a ride along program, try to go on it and ask the officer about the pro and con of the agency.

    Good Luck
    "Arms in the hands of individual citizens may be used at individual discretion..in private self defense." John Adams

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