Law Enforcement Career Switch Question

This is a discussion on Law Enforcement Career Switch Question within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; First let me explain the course of the last 5 years of my life that have lead up to my confusion today. It all started ...

View Poll Results: What should I do?

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  • Leave CMU and join the academy if possible

    4 6.15%
  • Finish another year at CMU and then join the academy

    42 64.62%
  • Don't bother with L.E.

    14 21.54%
  • Other

    5 7.69%
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Thread: Law Enforcement Career Switch Question

  1. #1
    Member Array reyno2ac's Avatar
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    Question Law Enforcement Career Switch Question

    First let me explain the course of the last 5 years of my life that have lead up to my confusion today. It all started in 2005, the year I graduated from high school, I went in to talk to a Marine recruiter. I was ready and willing to join but my hypoglycemia and scoliosis stopped that plan dead in its tracks. Instead I enrolled at the local community college and took my basic class, math, english, and so forth. After a couple years I entered into my first year at Central Michigan University declaring a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. After a couple tough math classes and some fun computer programming classes I switched to a B.S. in Computer Integrated Manufacturing. Again, after digging a little deeper into computer classes I realized the programming was not quite my thing. I then switched back to what I though would be better for me because it was a more "hands on" degree, Manufacturing Engineering Technology. I've tried to discuss the idea of a non-technical degree with my parents multiple times and they both feel very strongly that I wont amount to much of anything without a computer or engineering degree.

    The strangest part about all of this is that both my parent were Police Officers in Dallas, Texas. They both gave up the job when I was born, back in 1978. As I stand today I feel like I want nothing more than to walk away from CMU and apply to join the police academy. My issue is that I've got one more year here at CMU to finish my MET degree and all the police academy's require at least an associates degree to enroll. The last thing I want to do is add another 2 years of school on.

    I feel as though I've let myself and the people around me down by not being able to join the Marines. Law enforcement seems like the next closest thing that I can do to fill this "void", if you will.

    I guess what I want to know, from those of you who are involved in L.E., am I completely crazy for wanting to make this switch?!

    I'd hate to abandon 5 years of college with nothing to show for it than a pile of debt, but after taking all these classes, talking to councilors, and so forth, I just cant see myself working a desk job for the rest of my life.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array cagueits's Avatar
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    If you think you like LE, go for it - don't work in a career field you don't like. If you try LE out and don't like it, go back to college.
    I can no longer keep track of threads as I used to. If you need to contact me, PM me instead of asking me something in the thread. Disclaimer - No legal advice issued anywhere. Take care.

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Finish your degree.

    Here's why...with those 5 years of college without a degree, one could argue that you don't finish what you started. And at least those folks who accomplished an Associate's degree have something to show.

    Trust me when I say it's easier to get the degree now, rather than start all over 10 years from now. Between work, family, and having some fun, it will take that long to get back into the school-thing. Not to mention, looking back, you will kick yourself for NOT completing your degree.

    Look at it this way....if you decide to go back to school, wouldn't you like to go for a Masters with peers? Or a BS with 18-yr-old you'll want to strangle?

    BTW--it's commonly accepted that most classes have a 10-year shelf-life. If you wait to go back and finish, you might have to re-take the same classes you've already paid for. Do you really want to take English 101 and 102 over again?

    I waited 13 years to go back for my Masters....with a wife and two kids and a full-time job and preparation for deployment. Zero time for fun stuff.

    You can stick it out a year and be done with it.
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  5. #4
    Member Array JAG45's Avatar
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    Take the next year and finish your degree. It will be something no one can take away. I took 6 and a half years getting an engineering degree, after 5 years do not throw it away. Also a 4-year degree is a plus in LE. Then if you still want to try LE go for it. But LE is not for everybody and I have seen a lot of people really think that it is what they want. Several go from a explorer program to reserves to full time and then find out in two years it is not for them. Politics, internal conflect, and dealing with the public takes it toll.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    As a former marine, I can say that my two 4 year hitches were the most memorable of my life so far. But don't be down on yourself for something you could not control. Rather, concentrate on the things that you can. My advise is to finish your degree, not just for the degree itself, but fir your own sense of accomplishment. You NEED this. I can tell you for sure that LE is not what people think. Like JAG35 said, it is dealing with the public and internal conflict and politics. Back when I started 22 years ago, it was real police work. Now it is glorified social work. Our society today needs babysitters and social decay is rampant. My veteran training officer told me when I started that air conditioned cars and sunglasses were the worst advances he had seen in policing. Get that degree, and then you will have more options, don't limit yourself. Words for you in marine wisdom; improvise, adapt, and overcome.
    Last edited by glockman10mm; February 13th, 2010 at 10:35 PM. Reason: Spelling error

  7. #6
    Member Array soonershoote's Avatar
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    Your so close, you'd be crazy to walk away now, get that degree!!! After that, then go for your dream job....but get that degree now (esp since it's a strong technical degree.......yer parents are on the ball!
    Pretty much everything Sig, Jag and Glock wrote is spot-on.
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    Member Array crankinNM's Avatar
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    I voted don't bother with LE

    I got a two year degree in Manuracturing Engineering and have worked as a CNC Machinist for 6 years now........love it........I don't have to enforce any laws.......really I would not enjoy enforcing laws......I like making things.

    Thats me. You?

  9. #8
    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    Finish your college. Then join the academy if you are still interested. If police work isnt your bag...you go be an engineer.
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  10. #9
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    You are a knucklehead if you don't finish your degree now. There isnt much hiring going on right now anyway.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  11. #10
    Member Array black knife's Avatar
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    As a former Marine and a former Cop....finish college man. Police work is not all about chasing bad guys and getting into shoot outs. Its about report writing and writing and writing. It gets old after 5 years...trust me. At least with a degree you have something to fall back to in case you get hurt or get bored with law enforcement. I made the mistake of not going to college....I joined the Corps instead which I don't regret by a long shot but I wish I had a college degree as well.
    "You fight the way you Train"

  12. #11
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIGguy229 View Post
    Finish your degree.

    Here's why...with those 5 years of college without a degree, one could argue that you don't finish what you started. And at least those folks who accomplished an Associate's degree have something to show.

    Trust me when I say it's easier to get the degree now, rather than start all over 10 years from now. Between work, family, and having some fun, it will take that long to get back into the school-thing. Not to mention, looking back, you will kick yourself for NOT completing your degree.

    Look at it this way....if you decide to go back to school, wouldn't you like to go for a Masters with peers? Or a BS with 18-yr-old you'll want to strangle?

    BTW--it's commonly accepted that most classes have a 10-year shelf-life. If you wait to go back and finish, you might have to re-take the same classes you've already paid for. Do you really want to take English 101 and 102 over again?

    I waited 13 years to go back for my Masters....with a wife and two kids and a full-time job and preparation for deployment. Zero time for fun stuff.

    You can stick it out a year and be done with it.
    This is fair dinkum mate.

    As Sixto said, "you'd be a knuckehead" if you didn't finish your degree. I quit college in my Junior year to go rodeo full time. I did OK, but going back to school after I got done riding snot slinging bovines was not only hard, but darn near impossible. As you grow older your responsibilities change. Get the degree while you can.

    I did what I wanted to do, and have the aches, pains and a few scars to show for it. If you don't have a college degree after getting so close shows me one thing, you can't finish. In short, you're a quitter. I don't cotton to quitters much, but that's just me.

    FWIW: I sometimes want to quit, everyday in fact. I haven't yet, but I guess that's because I keep going back to see how much I can take. How much can you take?

    Biker

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Get yer degree and then look into all aspects of Law enforcement,maybe local,or federal marshall,Diplomatic Security Service,etc.
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

  14. #13
    Member Array Blue Jacket's Avatar
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    As a retired LEO my advice to you is get your degree. Both my kids have college degrees and are financially doing well. With the age limit dropped years ago for police applicants you can consider that field at a later date. Many small departments pay more money for anyone with a college degree. I hope you're not judging police work on what you see on television. It's what you don't see that makes the job at times miserable and unrewarding. So, finish your schooling. My goodness, you are on third base heading home. Don't waste that hard work, time and effort you've put in towards a college degree. Don't forget all the money you've spent and all you can make with a diploma. Good luck.
    May we never forget those in uniform who protect us night and day in lands far away. And those in all wars who paid the supreme sacrifice in defense of our country. May God Bless our Troops and First Responders.

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array boricua's Avatar
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    You must finish your degree and then you MUST do what you LOVE and will make you happy. Good luck!
    Duty, Honor, Country...MEDIC!!!
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  16. #15
    Member Array reyno2ac's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the help! I suppose I will take the majorities advice and finish my degree here at CMU, then if I still want I can pursue a career in L.E.

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