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  • Does everyone get hired eventually?

    Hey, my first post. I've been lurking for a few weeks, did a bunch of searches, but didn't see this anywhere.

    Can anyone be a police officer if they apply enough?

    I'm applying to university right now and I'm really wondering about my future, mostly getting a job. I'm worried that I'll spend 4 years getting a degree in criminology, apply everywhere, and then not get hired. I'm horribly afraid of being unemployed. I read that you guys waited from 8 months to "YEARS" to get a job as a police officer.

    To try and guarantee myself a job, I'm sprucing the bejeezus out of my resume. I'm taking Judo, because a blackbelt would make me look good. I'm taking Spanish (Even though I live in Canada) so I can be bilingual. I'm going for a ride along soon, and then asking about the Auxillary police, I'll join that if they let me. I'm joining the Navy Reserves in March, too.

    So, with all that, do you think I can be a police officer?

  • #2
    Originally posted by JonnyBoy View Post
    Hey, my first post. I've been lurking for a few weeks, did a bunch of searches, but didn't see this anywhere.

    Can anyone be a police officer if they apply enough?

    I'm applying to university right now and I'm really wondering about my future, mostly getting a job. I'm worried that I'll spend 4 years getting a degree in criminology, apply everywhere, and then not get hired. I'm horribly afraid of being unemployed. I read that you guys waited from 8 months to "YEARS" to get a job as a police officer.

    To try and guarantee myself a job, I'm sprucing the bejeezus out of my resume. I'm taking Judo, because a blackbelt would make me look good. I'm taking Spanish (Even though I live in Canada) so I can be bilingual. I'm going for a ride along soon, and then asking about the Auxillary police, I'll join that if they let me. I'm joining the Navy Reserves in March, too.

    So, with all that, do you think I can be a police officer?
    First of all don't be afraid of being unemployed. I'm unemployed right now, but working on getting hired as a corrections officer.

    As for the thing about waiting years to be a cop, it is true. I submitted my first application to a PD about 18 months ago. In spite of my persistence, and over 15 applications, I have yet to land a job. I believe for some people it takes longer to find that job for them. It might be due to many different issues, but assuming that you fit the qualifications, and don't give up, I believe anyone can become a police officer.
    What is Perseverance?
    -Perseverance is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance.
    -Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint.
    -PERSEVERANCE IS TRYING AGAIN AND AGAIN.


    BOP - BPA - ICE

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    • #3
      Sounds like you're on the right track. Keep your background clean, good credit, and keep up what you're doing. Not sure why a black belt in Judo would help out though. It won't have any effect on a hiring decision. You'll learn self-defense tactics at any academy. Get involved with your community, volunteer, and make good connections.

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      • #4
        The short answer is "No". However,leaving it there is not fair to you or the question you're asking. Please understand that I can only reply to you in a very general sense. Okay, here's the bad news. If you're "crunching numbers" the majority of applicants for a given agency are not successful. There are many reasons for this, and they include prior criminal records, failure in the written, physical, physc exams,etc. That's not an all inclusive list. OTH, persistance can have it's rewards. The efforts which you're making are all positive, and can have a positive impact on your ambitions. What's going to be important is how well you do in the hiring process. I would suggest you do some research into agencies which interest you. Take a hard look at their entrance requirements, and measure yourself objectively against them. Don't be afraid to speak to a Recruiter or some Officer with knowledge of an agency's requirements.From your post, you seem to be making some very serious efforts to advance yourself as an applicant.Hope things work out well for you.

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        • #5
          The short answer to your question is, no, not everyone gets hired. People with background issues, people who interview poorly or can't fill out an application well, people who give up after their first 'thanks but no thanks' letter -- those people don't get hired. The ones that keep their noses clean, work hard in school and/or at their current job, have reasonable intelligence and social skills; they tend to find work.

          Sounds like you're taking good steps in the right direction to help improve your chances at finding a LE job. As far as the judo goes, even that can be an enhancer, but not for the reasons you might think. Will training to a high proficiency in a martial art help you on the job...sure, a little, depending on where you end up working. But being able to kick booty isn't going to factor into most department's hiring decisions -- those days were left behind years ago, when it was assumed you could only be a cop if you were 6'2"/240.

          It WILL help, if you stick to it and rise to a high level, because it shows that you can set your mind on something and, through discipline and patience, achieve success. Now that's a skill sorely lacking in a lot of job applicants these days.

          As far as other things you can do to significantly improve your chances of a short career search, these are my suggestions:

          1. Stay in school and get your 4-year degree (it might not help you immediately in getting hired, but it will be a great help if you wish to advance)
          2. Become bilingual in Spanish. And I don't mean being able to order lunch at the local taco joint. Get fluent.
          3. Volunteer in your local community. Youth programs, community outreach, civic government -- all will show prospective employers you are community-minded.
          4. If your school or local agencies offer the ability, get involved in student patrol, internships, maybe even an auxiliary or reserve police program. People with a foot in the door and positive relationships already developed always have an edge over other applicants.
          5. Get education in something other than criminal justice. If you've already decided that's going to be your major, consider a minor in something completely different (and yet still interests you). Computer science, organizational communication, biology -- if a small- to medium-sized agency is looking at hiring someone, having a cop that can also troubleshoot the office computers or squad laptops is a huge bonus.

          These recommendations are based on my experiences with agencies in my area. Your mileage may vary.

          Good luck.

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          • #6
            bajakirch, probably one of the best answers I've ever read to that question. Some guys focus so much on being "in shape", getting their degree in criminal justice (me for example), or being a good shot. That stuff is so far down the list of what you really need to get hired these days.

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            • #7
              If I could go back 5 years to before I started college, I would not have gone for a CJ degree. When I was 17, I didn't realize that you don't need that degree to be a police officer/fed LE, etc. You can have an art degree and still take those same tests. Most organizations just want you to have the degree in something. As others have stated, look into programs like Computer Science or IT.

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              • #8
                Depending on where in Canada you live and what agency you want to eventually work for, you might want to reconsider learning Spanish. Remember that French is also an official language in Canada.

                IMO, if you want to learn a 2nd language that would be helpful in law enforcement, learn an Asian or Indian (Indo) dialect.
                " I've kicked more a** then you have kissed but I guess that's why your the chief"

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                • #9
                  Wow, thanks for all the good responses. Especially bajakirch's.

                  I'm definitely taking Criminology, but I'll minor in physics, biology, or social work.

                  I'm *probably* sticking with Judo, depends if I have time in University.

                  I'm learning French, for sure, with Rosetta Stone.

                  I'm on a "Student Council" for my side of the city. We work with an a government organization to plan events for teens, help with teen violence and stuff like that.

                  I'm going for a ride-along soon, I'll ask about joining the auxiliary when I'm there.

                  I'm gonna call the Navy Reserves in March, see what's up with that.

                  I'm gonna eat right and train hard these next 4 years, I want to be ace-ing those physical tests.

                  Of course, I'm gonna study my *** off and get high marks in university.

                  I'm gonna do some other community service stuff, not sure what yet, but I'll think of something.

                  That's all I can do, work hard and try my best.

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                  • #10
                    I have some other advice.

                    Keep phone numbers/email addresses for everyone you live by and work with. That is, people that you had rapport with. When it comes time to fill out that background investigation paperwork, they are going to give you like 10 days to find the name and phone number of every supervisor you have ever had. I was 26 looking for the contact information of a supervisor I had when I was 15.

                    You will save yourself a lot of stress by keeping track of this information now.

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                    • #11
                      Ali, that'll be tricky. I've only had 2 jobs:

                      The first one was when I was like 13-15 and I sold chocolate bars. They were $3 each and the money went to charity. Well, that's what the boss said. The boss had a heart attack and passed away when I was 15. The second-in-command guy took all the money and ran away to Alberta.

                      My second job was working at a (no joke) cucumber farm. I never met a supervisor, or anyone who spoke English.

                      Neither of those jobs used my social security number or bank account, I was paid under-the-table. There are no numbers for them to call, or bosses they can talk to. So...I really don't know...

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                      • #12
                        Taking CJ is a waste of money, sorry but it's the truth. You spend all that money and come out with no skill and no marketable knowledge. I have an AA in Criminal Justice and a BA in International Relations. Neither one does much for me without work experience. International Relations is good when applying to Intel positions, but other than that no real hard knowledge.

                        If you majored in any of the hard sciences you would be a much better candidate. CJ does prepare you for anything. You can't learn how to be a cop from a book, and all the knowledge you will need will come in the academy. Then you will be left with a Degree/Diploma that is useless in any other field and $25,000 + in debt from student loans.

                        Major in a hard science or computer science/accounting....take some CJ calsses are even minor in it if you like, but don't throw your money away.

                        LE agencies like people to be well-rounded, a CJ degree just does nothing for you, neither in job opportunities or gaining valuable skills/knowledge.

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                        • #13
                          Dude, I will give you some advice. I'm being "groomed" by the university police department I work with right now for a police job, that is, they've given me a ton of advice for getting hired. Most of these guys are really experienced, we even have one guy who is ex-Marshals, ex-Secret Service, and has been the Chief of Police at several departments. Here is the advice I've gotten:

                          - Get your degree in something other then CJ. This has come not only from our Detective that does the hiring but our Lts. and ex-Chief. Get a language or computer degree. Get a degree in something that other people don't have. A CJ doesn't really mean anything anymore. If I could chose my majors over again, I'd get rid of my Economics degree, keep my Spanish degree and get a secondary language in either Arabic or Russian.

                          - Look at stuff like Rotary International or something that is well-known for being a high-quality service organization.

                          - Do a police reserve program. This is such a huge help. I'm a Safety Patrol Officer for a police department, which is a student position that rides with cops. Plus we have our own car, we are on the police dispatch radio and all that j*** so it is amazing experience.

                          - Start building "life experience". Hold done some extra jobs (like working at a bar or something), live on your own with bills to pay. In short, be responsible for your own dang self and learn how to manage others.

                          - Keep martial arts, that's a good way to stay in shape and build discipline. I wish I had kept up with mine, I dropped out of Shotokan two years before my black belt and now I am starting all over again with Brazilian Jui-Jitsu at a Gracie school.

                          - Military is a plus as well. Military experience always factors well into hiring!
                          I have a million hats.

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                          • #14
                            This job isn't for everyone. Not everyone gets hired eventually just for trying. It does show consistency and drive. However; you have to be able to have the credentials, and meet all the requirements to be hired. That means passing the entire process.
                            "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." President John F. Kennedy

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