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Discussion Starter #1
First of all, Mods if this is the wrong place for this, I apologize and feel free to move it as you see fit.

I have been a truck driver for a few years now, but I have always wanted to become a LEO on the city or county level...I'm going to call the local sheriffs office tomorrow and talk to them about it, but in the mean time...what is generally required, as in education...I have my GED and am plenty capable of earning a degree in Criminal Justice and/or Investigation...but I was wondering if its possible to get this with "on the job training".

This is not a decision made on a "whim"...its been in the back of my mind for a few years.

I'm tired of that damned old truck and want to work locally...I'm guessing that here in my area they are not very picky (I went to school with most of the current local LEO's...I know (knew) them.

All input appreciated...Thank You:)
 

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You could most likely find out what the requirements are by doing a search for you local LE website.

A degree always helps, but here all you need is a high school equivalent education.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You could most likely find out what the requirements are by doing a search for you local LE website.
I tried that...they don't have one...:(...I found a link but its a dead link.

But Thank You for the reply.
 

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Get a start

If you have to work some place which is not your dream to get through the academy, and then move as a lateral (in some places the GED might hurt you), consider that. At least in some parts of the country, getting the certificate makes you a lot more marketable.
 

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In the Southwest, agencies are begging for recruits. Phoenix PD even advertises in Los Angeles. Most don't require any special training, you will be attending an academy. Higher education is usually required for advanced promotions. Contact the agency's recruiter and ask personally when they will be doing a new testing period. Don't lie about anything, it'll come out. Start getting yourself in great shape right now. When you get to the academy, it'll be too late!
 

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Discussion Starter #6

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Discussion Starter #7
In the Southwest, agencies are begging for recruits. Phoenix PD even advertises in Los Angeles. Most don't require any special training, you will be attending an academy. Higher education is usually required for advanced promotions. Contact the agency's recruiter and ask personally when they will be doing a new testing period. Don't lie about anything, it'll come out. Start getting yourself in great shape right now. When you get to the academy, it'll be too late!
AZ is a beautiful place...but moving that far is not possible. I won't lie. I am in great shape...lean and mean, 5'10", 160 lbs :)

I have to stay pretty much here in the area...pay is not really an issue, but the more $$$ the merrier.
 

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law enforcement as a career

Everything in law enforcement depends on where you live and what agency you work for.

When shopping for an agency:
(1.) Find out what they pay. Do they have a defined pay progression based on years of service? How long does it take to hit top pay? Do they have educational incentive pay and or/tuition assistance?
(2.) How much VOLUNTARY overtime is available?
(3.) How often might you be ordered in or held over? It happens to all of us sometimes, and in some places, because of the staffing level and the amount of calls for service they get, it happens A LOT. That makes it difficult to plan anything outside of work and can interfere with daycare.
(4.) Do they rotate shifts or do they work straight shifts? Some places have you rotate from days to evenings to midnights. Some places may have you rotate in relief between two shifts, and others just have straight shifts. (Rotating around the clock has been proven to take years off your life, and is less common than it used to be)
(5.) How do the days off rotation work?
(6.) How easy is it to get time off and how much notice do you have to give?
(7.) Do shifts get picked on an annual basis, or do you get hired and put into a spot and don't have an opportunity to move until there is a vacancy?
(8.) Do you have a union? How detailed is your contract?
(9.) How much leave time do you get in a year? How much sick time? Does sick time accumulate?
(10.) Being a cop means nights, weekends, and holidays. Depending on circumstance and your expectations, that can be really hard on family life. Or not that big a deal.
(11.) Rookies in most places start on the midnight shift. If you can't get accustomed to working the late shift, being awake at night and sleeping during the day, maybe being the police is NOT a good idea for you.
(12.) If you work the evening shift you won't see your wife & kid much.
(13.) What kind of arrangements can you make for child care?
(14.) How well is the agency staffed? How well are they equipped? Do you have a reasonable opportunity for specialized training? Do they pay education incentive for your degrees?
(15.) How is the retirement program? Is there a state-wide retirement program or is the program agency specific?


It's hard to make any kind of blanket statement about police work as a career because there are WAY too many variables from agency to agency and from one part of the country to another.

(I'm fortunate. I've been on straight 11p-7a BY CHOICE since 1977, because I'm a night person. I like the flexibility of working nights. My evenings are free to do things with family & friends and to do recreational things EXCEPT that I can't drink before going to work. We have rotating days off, reasonable pay and benefits and reasonable opportunity for voluntary overtime. As much as a few of the guys at my PD bitch and whine about everything, we have it pretty good, and they're too dumb to realize it)

If you're married and have a wife & kid(s), then you also have responsibilities as a husband and father. Which means you need to be home sometimes. Don't make the mistake lots of guys do, and get hired on, work evenings so you don't see your family much anyway, and THEN get on specialized units like SWAT or Search & Rescue or Narcotics or something, which places even more of a demand on your time. Take a good interest in your career, feel free to pursue interesting training & education on your own time and at your own expense once in a while, but don't let the job become your life. If you have kids, having a job assignment where you have to carry a pager and be on call all the time may NOT be a good idea . . .

Lots of guys work all night and then baby-sit all day, and then try to catch a nap before going back to work at 11pm. They spend their whole life all jet lagged and burned out, they can't function effectively at work much of the time, and they never get to see their wife. Try to avoid that at all costs if you want to be effective at work and stay married.
 

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Jeff...Graveyards for 30 years? You must be everybody's grandpa! I loved that shift, has the most fun stuff. Never could get used to the sleep pattern. I actually liked swing shift. Worked out well when our kids were small. I'd get home after 11, have a few beers, get up when the wife was leaving for work and take care of the kids. No daycare. If you're a partier, you can make the bars for a few hours and take advantage of all the inebriated sweeties! Or go home, to sleep, and have the whole day to do your Home Depot stuff.

Congrats on your longevity...retirement must be coming soon???

Tracy
 

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Move to LA, join LAPD, get some experience and your golden. With a few years of LAPD you could work anywhere in the nation. Starting is about 60k/yr. Like AZ said your ass better be in shape. They will chew you up and spit you out hardcore. You have to play the rookie game and deal with the BS. Everyone does it and has gone through it.

http://www.joinlapd.com/index2.html

You want some info let me know... I'm not LAPD, but LAFD, make even more money if you want... Plus one of my co-workers is a trucker/firefighter and might be able to keep you truckin on the west coast.
 

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I'm not sure what you mean....
**
Some agencies, a growing group, will hire officers who are already certified. You don't re-do the academy, although if you going to a different state you would do a special class they have for certified officers coming from out of state (here it is a 2 week class on Washington law, etc). That's generally referred to as moving laterally, instead of starting over. Think of it as changing driving jobs - you don't need a new CDL. :biglaugh:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
OK..I see...

My county Sheriff said he would be glad to have me aboard...they are 4 guys short...2 jailers, 2 patrol officers.

But the salary is worse than I expected... $25,000 a year.
Thats just barely over 1/3 of what I make now...I was never in it for the money, but I do have a wife and 2 kids to feed...I'm going to have to rethink this a little bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Move to LA, join LAPD, get some experience and your golden. With a few years of LAPD you could work anywhere in the nation. Starting is about 60k/yr. Like AZ said your ass better be in shape. They will chew you up and spit you out hardcore. You have to play the rookie game and deal with the BS. Everyone does it and has gone through it.

http://www.joinlapd.com/index2.html

You want some info let me know... I'm not LAPD, but LAFD, make even more money if you want... Plus one of my co-workers is a trucker/firefighter and might be able to keep you truckin on the west coast.
No offense...but I wouldn't move to CA for $120K a year.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Everything in law enforcement depends on where you live and what agency you work for.

When shopping for an agency:
(1.) Find out what they pay. Do they have a defined pay progression based on years of service? How long does it take to hit top pay? Do they have educational incentive pay and or/tuition assistance?
(2.) How much VOLUNTARY overtime is available?
(3.) How often might you be ordered in or held over? It happens to all of us sometimes, and in some places, because of the staffing level and the amount of calls for service they get, it happens A LOT. That makes it difficult to plan anything outside of work and can interfere with daycare.
(4.) Do they rotate shifts or do they work straight shifts? Some places have you rotate from days to evenings to midnights. Some places may have you rotate in relief between two shifts, and others just have straight shifts. (Rotating around the clock has been proven to take years off your life, and is less common than it used to be)
(5.) How do the days off rotation work?
(6.) How easy is it to get time off and how much notice do you have to give?
(7.) Do shifts get picked on an annual basis, or do you get hired and put into a spot and don't have an opportunity to move until there is a vacancy?
(8.) Do you have a union? How detailed is your contract?
(9.) How much leave time do you get in a year? How much sick time? Does sick time accumulate?
(10.) Being a cop means nights, weekends, and holidays. Depending on circumstance and your expectations, that can be really hard on family life. Or not that big a deal.
(11.) Rookies in most places start on the midnight shift. If you can't get accustomed to working the late shift, being awake at night and sleeping during the day, maybe being the police is NOT a good idea for you.
(12.) If you work the evening shift you won't see your wife & kid much.
(13.) What kind of arrangements can you make for child care?
(14.) How well is the agency staffed? How well are they equipped? Do you have a reasonable opportunity for specialized training? Do they pay education incentive for your degrees?
(15.) How is the retirement program? Is there a state-wide retirement program or is the program agency specific?


It's hard to make any kind of blanket statement about police work as a career because there are WAY too many variables from agency to agency and from one part of the country to another.

(I'm fortunate. I've been on straight 11p-7a BY CHOICE since 1977, because I'm a night person. I like the flexibility of working nights. My evenings are free to do things with family & friends and to do recreational things EXCEPT that I can't drink before going to work. We have rotating days off, reasonable pay and benefits and reasonable opportunity for voluntary overtime. As much as a few of the guys at my PD bitch and whine about everything, we have it pretty good, and they're too dumb to realize it)

If you're married and have a wife & kid(s), then you also have responsibilities as a husband and father. Which means you need to be home sometimes. Don't make the mistake lots of guys do, and get hired on, work evenings so you don't see your family much anyway, and THEN get on specialized units like SWAT or Search & Rescue or Narcotics or something, which places even more of a demand on your time. Take a good interest in your career, feel free to pursue interesting training & education on your own time and at your own expense once in a while, but don't let the job become your life. If you have kids, having a job assignment where you have to carry a pager and be on call all the time may NOT be a good idea . . .

Lots of guys work all night and then baby-sit all day, and then try to catch a nap before going back to work at 11pm. They spend their whole life all jet lagged and burned out, they can't function effectively at work much of the time, and they never get to see their wife. Try to avoid that at all costs if you want to be effective at work and stay married.
As I read that I cant help but think....Damn, this sounds like truck driving ( long hours, low pay, no time off, miss the family, usually up all night and 1/2 the day, etc., etc.)
 

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Law enforcement career

As I read that I cant help but think....Damn, this sounds like truck driving ( long hours, low pay, no time off, miss the family, usually up all night and 1/2 the day, etc., etc.)
Pay varies so much from place to place in the country, it's unbelievable -- so does the cost of living!

I've seen posts on other forums, and it seems that the metro Nashville area pays pretty well. Are you up near Knoxville or Bristol or up in there? (My uncle lives north of Knoxville and I've been to Bristol for the NASCAR races a few times. Very pretty country, but money is tight)

If you haven't yet, search out the book The Moon is Always Full by David Hunter (published about 1990 or so). He was a deputy in Knox County, and I believe he still writes for the newspaper in Knoxville. I believe that is my favorite book about law enforcement. He's written a couple of others, but that's the best one IMHO.

I wonder if you might have an oppertunity locally to work as a reserve or sworn part time officer or deputy? That way you could follow your interest and still make a living. Lots of the smaller departments around here (a dozen officers or less) depend on part time officers to fill in the schedule to cover for vacations and so forth, or to provide extra coverage on the weekends.
 

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After 28 years, I feel the same way. I'm ready to drive a truck.
Times have changed and not always for the better.
Police administrations now put allot of time into training their staff to be managers not crime fighters. I'd guess this happens more in bigger cities like mine (360,000+) but it's a common move. We're not interested in stopping crime anymore, just managing it..(???) I see more young guys with educations doing various projects within an agency that really have nothing to do with stopping crime. I looked on my boss's board and saw over 30.
If you want to really be a crime fighter, look for agencies that still look for the problems and fix them!
 

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The politics have become almost unbearable. Gone are the days when you just went out and took care of business.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Pay varies so much from place to place in the country, it's unbelievable -- so does the cost of living!

I've seen posts on other forums, and it seems that the metro Nashville area pays pretty well. Are you up near Knoxville or Bristol or up in there? (My uncle lives north of Knoxville and I've been to Bristol for the NASCAR races a few times.
I'm right in the middle, between Knoxville and Bristol...slightly closer to Bristol.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I may have found something...but its not a LEO job. Its driving an armored truck...pays much better than the local LEO jobs (that just doesn't seem right), not exactly what I wanted but they said they would be glad to take my application. I'm not sure yet though...

I may go back to Wackenhutt...I worked there for a while but man was it boring...I kept inventory of the weapons (Stinger, Sidewinder, AMRAM, and HARM missiles mostly) at a BAE weapons assembly plant. Its an "armed" security job that offers some pretty neat training for those who want to get more "involved".
 
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