Question for Leo's

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Thread: Question for Leo's

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array ErikGr7's Avatar
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    Question for Leo's

    Guys I know that it's time to make a career change when
    I return back to the States, which is in a few months now.

    Taking into account the current economy and future would
    some of you Leo's still go back into law enforcement? How
    is it for job security? Benefits?

    I saved enough that I have the option of going back to college
    and becoming an RN if I wish. The down side is all the algebra,
    chemistry classes I will have to take..plus the two years of my
    life. The only reason I would consider nursing is for the salary.

    My true love is guns and I have always had a interest in law
    enforcement. I think what stopped me before was the danger.

    I don't know if they would even hire me at 35 but, it sounds
    like an exciting career. I know of course you will always have
    those "days" in any field and working in the public you always
    have to deal with people both good and bad.

    Don't mean to put my life out here all the time guys..lol Just
    need some advice.

    Thanks Erik

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    35 is a perfectly good age to get into LE. A lot of departments like older folks because they tend to bring life experience to the playing field.

    That said, loving guns is NOT a good reason to go into police work. If you are really interested in law enforcement and happen to enjoy shooting and/or are good at it, that is great. If your interest is guns and you want to go into LE to get to carry one all the time and get free range time, don't bother.

    I've said this before, but it doesn't seem to get through to a lot of people. Police work is NOT about guns, it just happens to involve guns from time to time. There are a lot of skills more important than shooting for a good cop.

    There is nothing wrong with taking a job just for the money, but taking a job like nursing "just for the money" is probably a bad idea. I would imagine that nurses have to deal with a lot of BS from sick people and their families (without the added benefit of being able to arrest them), and unless you love the job you will probably find that the money isn't worth the hassle. Same goes for LE actually, except that no one in their right mind takes the job for the money.

    As far a job security and benefits go, there is more security than a lot of private sector jobs, but not nearly as much as there once was. Rookies are the first to get the axe when times are bad. Find a department that doesn't have serious money problems and you should be OK.

    Benefits are generally good, but not great. Many of us do have excellent retirement though, which is especially unusual in today's 401k roll the dice world.

    I love policing and I don't want to do anything else, but I don't do it for the money or so I can carry a gun, so YMMV.
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  4. #3
    Senior Member Array Chevy-SS's Avatar
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    LEO's in Rhode Island have fabulous benefit packages with decent pay grades. Plus, their wonderful retirement packages exceed many of those in the private sector.

    I looked into joining one of the local departments in early 1970's, when the pay and benefits were very mediocre. The average LEO pay was so dismal at that time, I was discouraged and went into another vocation. But boy howdy, things have really changed since then. The union negotiators have really earned their pay and our local union employees (police, fire, and teachers) now enjoy truly lavish benefits packages that are the envy of most in the private sector.

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  5. #4
    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    35 is not too old to start policin'. It may be too old for some federal agencies that mandate retirement at age 50-something, and some local agencies may still have the once-common age 34 or 35 upper limit, but many have upped the limit to 45, or done away with age limits entirely.

    Don't get into LE work because you like guns. It is not about guns, though being proficient with the weapon(s) you are allowed to carry is certainly an enhancement to your safety. Unlike the movies/TV, the weapons you carry, if not issued to you, will be subject to agency rules. Police work is street-level social work, and you need to be able to set aside your personal prejudices and political beliefs, and work within the law and agency policies.

    The money can be amazingly good, especially with some agencies, but do figure the local cost of living into the formula.

    Danger? Well, the stats for death rates on the job don't show LE work to be as bad as many might think, but the danger is there. Sometimes duty will compel you to do something, even if there is no cover or back-up. You must be comfortable with your mortality, to be comfortable working the streets, IMHO.

  6. #5
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Landric and Rexster "nailed it" IMO.

    Knowing how to talk to people is really important, probably the most important thing you can know.

    Nursing is not an occupation to get into just for the money. It does seem however that the personality profiles of LEO's and Nurses are very similar, if that tells you anything. I knew a lady, Registered Nurse, that worked in a local ER. She quit and went to work for a local agency and promoted up to Sgt before she retired, or I lost track of her.

    People will always get sick and commit crimes. Therefore both occupations will be in demand for a long time. I myself burned out on being a LEO and went on to become an RN. I'm now a LEO again, but I keep the funny letters behind my name because I earned them.

    Biker

  7. #6
    Senior Member Array ErikGr7's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for the help. I do appreciate it greatly.

    I guess I should have explained things a little better. I'm
    not doing it to carry a gun or just for the shooting. I can
    go to the range for that.

    What I meant to say is I am not a sit at the office type
    personality. I just think I would really enjoy working in
    law enforcement as I have always had a fascination
    with it. I never met a stranger and find it easy to speak
    with anyone I meet. Just think being a Leo might fit me.

    I of course don't mean to do it for the money only. I'm
    making more now welding but, if I switch careers I still
    want to be able to have a comfortable living.

    Glad to hear that 35 is not too old..

    Thanks again all

  8. #7
    Distinguished Member Array Agave's Avatar
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    You could consider the Patrol. The pay and benefits are about as good as it gets. It is law enforcement, but it's a different kind of law enforcement job. I don't know if we are currently hiring.
    The preceding post may contain sarcasm; it's just better that way. However, it is still intended with construction and with the Love of my L-rd Y'shua.

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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Landric View Post
    35 is a perfectly good age to get into LE. A lot of departments like older folks because they tend to bring life experience to the playing field.

    That said, loving guns is NOT a good reason to go into police work. If you are really interested in law enforcement and happen to enjoy shooting and/or are good at it, that is great. If your interest is guns and you want to go into LE to get to carry one all the time and get free range time, don't bother.

    I've said this before, but it doesn't seem to get through to a lot of people. Police work is NOT about guns, it just happens to involve guns from time to time. There are a lot of skills more important than shooting for a good cop.

    There is nothing wrong with taking a job just for the money, but taking a job like nursing "just for the money" is probably a bad idea. I would imagine that nurses have to deal with a lot of BS from sick people and their families (without the added benefit of being able to arrest them), and unless you love the job you will probably find that the money isn't worth the hassle. Same goes for LE actually, except that no one in their right mind takes the job for the money.

    As far a job security and benefits go, there is more security than a lot of private sector jobs, but not nearly as much as there once was. Rookies are the first to get the axe when times are bad. Find a department that doesn't have serious money problems and you should be OK.

    Benefits are generally good, but not great. Many of us do have excellent retirement though, which is especially unusual in today's 401k roll the dice world.

    I love policing and I don't want to do anything else, but I don't do it for the money or so I can carry a gun, so YMMV.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rexster View Post
    35 is not too old to start policin'. It may be too old for some federal agencies that mandate retirement at age 50-something, and some local agencies may still have the once-common age 34 or 35 upper limit, but many have upped the limit to 45, or done away with age limits entirely.

    Don't get into LE work because you like guns. It is not about guns, though being proficient with the weapon(s) you are allowed to carry is certainly an enhancement to your safety. Unlike the movies/TV, the weapons you carry, if not issued to you, will be subject to agency rules. Police work is street-level social work, and you need to be able to set aside your personal prejudices and political beliefs, and work within the law and agency policies.

    The money can be amazingly good, especially with some agencies, but do figure the local cost of living into the formula.

    Danger? Well, the stats for death rates on the job don't show LE work to be as bad as many might think, but the danger is there. Sometimes duty will compel you to do something, even if there is no cover or back-up. You must be comfortable with your mortality, to be comfortable working the streets, IMHO.
    Above is more than excellent advice.

    The only thing I have to add is that LEO pay packages are not the same everywhere. It is widely varied. Some agencies might make 75+ base, while the next door agency in barely making minimum wage. Same ring true with security. Where I work, we are very well off. But a lot of places around use are laying people off. Even with the layoffs, generally speaking, public civil employees are more secure than the hire at will private sector.

    And 35 is not to old. Our newest guy just started a few months ago approaching 40.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  10. #9
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    An LT at the Sheriffs Dept here makes a whopping 32K a year.
    The Sherrif makes a fortune, around 40K a year.
    I dont see how they do it.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  11. #10
    Member Array Erik's Avatar
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    Another "what's already been said" comment.

    And a plug for the federal jobs available in addition to the Patrol: Check out the 18 series jobs at usajobs.gov. There are a surprising number, somewhere around 90 or there abouts, and the compensation packages are usually competitative.
    God, country, family.

  12. #11
    Member Array calireserve's Avatar
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    Go for it!!!!!
    35 is not too old!!!! You would be very desirable to many departments because they like to hire people with life experience.
    No two days( or nights) are ever the same in law enforcement. I started at about your age and am having a blast. The money in california departments vary quite a bit. Do some research, pick a few departments that you think you might enjoy, go on a few ride-alongs and GO FOR IT!!!

  13. #12
    Member Array LM2024's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ErikGr7 View Post
    My true love is guns and I have always had a interest in law
    enforcement. I think what stopped me before was the danger.

    I don't know if they would even hire me at 35 but, it sounds
    like an exciting career. I know of course you will always have
    those "days" in any field and working in the public you always
    have to deal with people both good and bad.
    The other LEOs here have given great advice. Again, like they said, having a love of guns is not a good reason in itself to become a LEO. By the way your post reads, it gives me the impression that Law Enforcement is just another job, which it isn't.

    35 isn't too old at all if you're in good physical condition. Myself, I became a LEO this year at age 42 after spending almost 23 years in the USAF. Sure, it's a bit tougher to pass the extremely rigorous physical training at 35 versus the young kids who come in at 21, but it can be done.

    If what stopped you before was the danger involved, then perhaps this isn't the career for you. There may be times that your fellow LEOs on your crew may need you to back them up in a dangerous situation, or you may roll up into a dangerous call. If you can't do that, then don't waste your time. Pursue a different career. There's no shame. It's not for everyone.

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    I started my LE career at 29 and was able to retire at 49, not too shabby. I worked security afterwards and was able to save 30K for a downpayment on a new house. My old dept. provides a pension for the rest of my life and medical insurance at less than $200/month. I'm also a Vietnam era vet so I have the VA. Whenever a city/county/state lays off employees, FD and PD are the most secure and rarely if ever get the ax.
    One good aspect regarding guns, our dept. allowed us to carry our own, also I found out it was a tax write off, so I bought a new gun every year, courtesy of Uncle Sam. I must have carried 50 different guns (BUGs included). Thank God I never had to shoot anyone.
    My advise to you would be to work for an agency like LAPD, NYPD, Chicago PD, etc. Retire on a big pension, then settle down in a place like Wyoming or Montana where the cost of living is low and you can really stretch that dollar.
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  15. #14
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    very good advice in this thread for you

    35 is not too old, I was 35 when I started the academy, all I can tell you is if your academy has PT then you need to be in better shape than you think you are right now at our ripe old age compared to the 21/22 year olds
    Agencies don't mind the age if you show you can do the physical aspects of the job, and show your maturity and personal skills in dealing with people. I use these 2 tools along with some jedi mind tricks daily , way more than I use my pistol.

    As for pay.....its all relative to where you live/will work, my base salary right now is as much as I was earning here in the computer/IT field and I'm more happy now than I've ever been in any job. I have great benefits also.
    I got tired of the 8-5, office setting stuff too....I now have my own Crown Vic cubicle and I love it.

    As you said, you will always have "those days" in any job. I've had them myself and can be anything from dealing with absolute morons in society wasting the 911 system and your time, to being the first to arrive at a car wreck and doing CPR on a 2 year old and having the paramedics pulling you off of the child when they arrive and you don't want to stop....but its too late and the kid is dead, to coming close to shooting someone 5 minutes later, or being in a foot chase with a robbery suspect after dark. From telling a 78 year old husband that we did all we could but his 76 year old wife didn't make it, to giving the teenagers tickets for speeding, breaking up bar fights, taking reports for vandalism, auto burglaries, assaults, thefts.....the list of things you may face each day is huge, but is never the same.

    I have to go to work each day knowing that I could lose my life today if I don't perform as I've been trained but also having the mindset that no matter what happens or who I come up against I'm going home after my shift and I'll do whatever it takes to do so. I go to work knowing that I'm going to have calls that are a stupid waste of resources but a few minutes later I'm going to have to employ my training and keep under control due the adrenaline dump I'm getting from the circumstances of the call.

    My biggest piece of advice from my life experiences.....don't choose a career change based on the salary....choose it because its what you want to do.
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