Go for it.
I was 40 when I started.
This is a discussion on Question for the LEO's of the forum within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Would like to get the opinion of the LEO's out there. I am a 40 yo male who is currently clearing the Army after 23 ...
Would like to get the opinion of the LEO's out there.
I am a 40 yo male who is currently clearing the Army after 23 years.
What is your opinion of someone my age thinking about becoming an LEO?
I have a good background with weapons.
My legs may not be what they were, but I'm still strong (MHO).
I would like to thank everyone up front. I am looking at honest opinions, please tell me your thoughts.
"Without fear there can be no Courage!"
Go for it.
I was 40 when I started.
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I was an LEO for 21 years and reired when I was 49. You don't have to worry about a thing. All agencies have rigorous physical tests you have to pass before they'll even consider you. Then you have even harder physical requirements to meet when you attend the academy. If you get past both these trials by fire you're good to go. Any physical shortcomings will be immediately obvious.
"First gallant South Carolina nobly made the stand."
Edge of Darkness
I know of 2 guys older then yourself who made the Sheriffs department. It is certainly worth a shot. I do not think either of them really passed the physical portion of the test, they both have bad (bad!) knees, but they continued to show improvement throughout the physical portions so were let through...
Go for it. What you will encounter will depend on where you go. Your weapons background won't be as important as your ability and willingness to study, particularly some of the drier statutes. Physical fitness standards vary widely by agency and state but there is generally some description available of what is expected. I went when I was older. My prior education helped me with the studying and I had kept in some shape so the physical fitness part was not bad. You may enjoy it and find that it is a concentrated period that goes by too quickly.
I think a mature individual with life experiences makes the best cop! If it is what you want to do, go for it.
I carry a .45 because they don't make a .46
You're still young. We've had retired military go thru our academy in their 50s. The oldest I recall was a retired LTC who was 54. 40 yr olds are not uncommon.
My Dad got his POST certification at age 52. His department gave him a plaque saying "WORLD'S OLDEST ROOKIE". He's now 75, retired twice, and still has that trophy on his wall.
Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse.
Do it. Buy your military time as soon as you are able, retire at a relatively young age and kick back. Weapons back round really doesn't mean squat, its a very small portion of the job. Find something else to sell yourself on, such as leadership or communications.
"Just blame Sixto"
The local Sheriff's dept. (Harris County, Houston, TX.) has no age limit for incoming applicants. I've known folks in their 50's joining. The physical requirements aren't that difficult. Your military experience will be a big plus for you. I think you should go for it.
"Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States can't make it without Texas!".... Sam Houston
NRA Life Member
I was a security specialist in the USAF back in the early 80's. After I did my 4 years I worked a lot of other jobs but stayed interested in LE. I got back in to it about 5 years ago at 41. Mine is kind of a niche job that is peculiar to Maine and Mass and I really enjoy it. I work on the coast and spend my time on the water, beaches, and mud.
If you really want to you can do anything you put your mind to. I say you should go for it. Also, remember that there's lots of LE jobs out there that are not necessarily "city cop" types of positions, such as mine. Look around and find something that suits you then give it your best shot.
And thanks for 23 years of watching our backs!!
"If violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge or jury. Therefore what he must be taught to fear is his victim." - LtCol Jeff Cooper
Being older I welcome you.
Youth and bravado often gets your mouth writing checks your butt can't cash. Being older you hopefully will have some wisdom and life expirience to draw from and be able to think and reason.
I was 28 the first time. Quit after three years and went back to school. I went back to L.E., in a "specialty" in my 40's. I think I've found my niche, and I'm looking to stay until I retire after twenty. For me it's twenty and out.
Maybe after this run I'll go to Walmart and be a Greeter.
Except for a bad knee, that tends to want to pop out of joint if I pivot hard on that leg, I could probably pass my agency's physical agility test, at nearly 48 years of age. I could actually get a couple of bonus paid days off each year, if I passed the test, but I don't want to try it unless/until I a doc tells me the risk is very, very minimal. If I had to go on light duty, I would have to take a substantial pay cut.
As someone mentioned on the first page, Harris County in Texas has no age limitation, and from what a deputy told me, NO physical agility test at this time. That is for a civilian jailer, but you can move up fairly quickly to deputy, and once attaining deputy status, eligible for transfer to a street assignment.
One of the TV news magazines shows had a recent feature on folks entering law enforcement in their 40's and 50's; it is a trend now, either for folks laid off from the private sector, or folks in mid-life who want out of the private sector and want to contribute to society, or to be part of something bigger than themselves, and contribute to local history, rather than being a pawn in some company/corporation. Military guys retiring and getting into LE is not a new trend at all; it has long been common.
Give it a go and good luck. Maybe try to look for an agency that has more options than just patrol. A Sheriff's Office may have courthouse security positions as well as patrol so, if you want, you have an opportunity to get off the road.
On the Police side, I usually recommend that people get into a metro-type department that has multiple functions such as patrol, SWAT, training, homicide, robbery, narcotics, etc. A lot of options and opportunities make for a fun ride.
Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.
I have told the story elsewhere on this board. I received my national police instructor certification back in the 80’s and worked as a trainer for several departments (always had another full time job). I semi-retired and moved back home to take care of my mom and dad, after they passed, I was asked by a couple of local officers to join the local PD reserve program…. That made me about 55 at the time. I and one gentleman who just turned 60 were in the certification class for part-time officers. We had the highest overall scores in the class. I was tied for the highest PT scores and posted the highest firearm scores in the class. My older friend was always in the top 50%. We were picked up by the same local department and are the two most called on officers when they need extra help.
I am the only reserve officer the department has, that has not had a complaint filed against him with more that has more than 3 years in-service. I won the county wide LEO shootout the first year I got to compete, and have been asked to go full time on more than once occasion. Age is not a restriction in a lot of places, it is your ability that counts, and your maturity can be highly valued. Smaller departments are always looking for a good officer.
I say go for it. Talk with several local departments, and see about joining the reserve program. In my department about 85% of the new hires come from their reserve program. The department really likes the program it gives them a year or so the watch you work with the different officers, and weeds any bad applicants who make it through the screening process.