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Corrections vs. Police

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  • Corrections vs. Police

    My ultimate goal is to get a job working for the federal government. I have finished my criminal justice degree and am now working on getting some experience with law enforcement. I applied for the police side and got in. I plan on attending the police academy soon but I am currently working in corrections until then. My question is, can I get good experience for a federal law enforcement job by working in the jail instead of going police side? Will this experience look just as good as the patrol side? I ask this because I like working in the jail more than I thought I would. The pay is about the same as the police side, the people I work with are great, and there is a lot less responsibility working here. Of course no gun, no parol car, etc, etc.. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    FBP might be a good option for you.
    Good luck with your career, it seems like you know what you want - now go out and get it!
    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

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    • #3
      If your goal is to go federal, either job is temporary. You always have the option of trying the police side of the house, then deciding if you like the jail or the police side better. Just remember Federal LE is not the same as working at your local police department. Personally I enjoyed the police side more. I learned a lot working in the jail, but I didn't really like the work.
      But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

      For the intelectually challenged: If the government screws the people enough, it is the right and responsibility of the people to revolt and form a new government.

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      • #4
        While corrections work is great experience, it will not be viewed as positively as police work.

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        • #5
          As a former Corrections Officer and a currently Fed LEO I'll give you my 2 cents. First off if you want to be a cop, be a cop. While the two jobs have similar methods behind them, corrections is a whole different world. I believe Corrections is the hardest job in the LE world. In normal LE work you interact with all walks of life, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But at least the good once in a while keeps you sane. But in corrections all you do is interact with the worst people society has produced. There is very little job satisfaction beyond the people you work with.

          There are thousands of LEO jobs out there, so you have the pick of the litter. It will take time and effort as LEO jobs just won't come to you.

          If you do decide to go corrections, go with a state or county outfit. The Bureau of Prisons runs abosolutly the worst prison system in this country. The job has good pay and bennies and they are considered federal LEO's, but it's just not worth the horrible work enviroment. Try the Big House forum on this web site for some more insite into corrections.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by robeans View Post
            As a former Corrections Officer and a currently Fed LEO I'll give you my 2 cents. First off if you want to be a cop, be a cop. While the two jobs have similar methods behind them, corrections is a whole different world. I believe Corrections is the hardest job in the LE world. In normal LE work you interact with all walks of life, the good, the bad, and the ugly. But at least the good once in a while keeps you sane. But in corrections all you do is interact with the worst people society has produced. There is very little job satisfaction beyond the people you work with.

            There are thousands of LEO jobs out there, so you have the pick of the litter. It will take time and effort as LEO jobs just won't come to you.

            If you do decide to go corrections, go with a state or county outfit. The Bureau of Prisons runs abosolutly the worst prison system in this country. The job has good pay and bennies and they are considered federal LEO's, but it's just not worth the horrible work enviroment. Try the Big House forum on this web site for some more insite into corrections.

            You are dead on target about the BOP. Good pay, good bennies. I think a lot of people get into it b/c it's the easiest way in the fed. system. I was pressd for time to get in.

            Truthfully, BOP is a joke. I had no idea it was going to be this bad or I wouldn't have taken the job. Staff are just as bad as inmates. I can't tell the difference in some cases. I feel like a complaint department for inmates and I feel like a punching bag for supervisors who are dumber than I am.
            Looking to get out quick, just putting in time.

            BOP needs a new motto to truly portray its philosophies. Here it is:
            All Hail Inmate, We worship Thee.

            Go be an LEO.

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            • #7
              Truthfully, BOP is a joke. I had no idea it was going to be this bad or I wouldn't have taken the job. I feel like a complaint department for inmates and I feel like a punching bag for supervisors who are dumber than I am.
              Looking to get out quick, just putting in time.
              Copy that. I think I'm trying harder to escape than some of the inmates. But I disagree that the pay and bennies are good. Most other FLE agencies are promote GL-5/7/9 automatically. Some go as far as GL-11 automatically. We have to compete for GL-8?. Never understood that.
              Last edited by LS1; 08-26-2008, 09:26 PM.

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              • #8
                I will give you my .02 cents as a Correctional Officer with a state agency. In California we are sworn peace officers holding the same authority as our street brethern. However, our authority stops at the end of a shift while our status remains as a peace officer meaning we can still carry an off duty weapon without a CCW permit and covered under the LEOSA HR 218.

                There will be alot of dumptrucks working with you meaning all they want to do is sign in, do their 8 or 16 hours and then sign out and go home. Then there are some who will look for dope, weapons or be proactive in the enforcement side of things.

                We have our specialized teams like Gang/Drug investigators, General Investigators and our version of a SWAT team. Some prisons have their own K-9 teams also.

                Some of the training is good but most is poor when it comes to actual law enforcement training. You also have administrators who will go out of their way for inmates rather than back their employees.

                You will also work with some really good people especially working in the higher security level prisons. In CA., we wear stab proof vests, collapsible batons, pepper spray, handcuffs, alarm devices and radios. We do have armed towers and are armed while transporting inmates outside the secure perimeter.

                Then we also have other areas you can lateral into after two years as a line officer. Like State Parole Agent, Correctional Counselor and if you reach the level of a Sgt. or equivalent then you can put in for a lateral transfer to a Special Agent either in Internal Affairs or a Law Enforcement Investigation Unit which deal with crimes on the street having connections that arise out of any correctional institution in the state. As a Parole Agent or Special Agent you have a take home vehicles.

                But the job can be boring or make you insane because it is such a negative environment and you have to do with soceities worst 8 hours a day.

                Because of the different types of missions between corrections and police, eventhough they are both peace officers, the academies are way different so you wouldn't be able to get a lateral hire from corrections to police or vice versa.

                Hope that helps!

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