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  • Switching to law enforcement career... looking for advice.

    Hi Everyone,

    I just thought I needed to post this as I'm growing weary in the process and looking for advice. A bit of a back story...

    About three years ago I decided I wanted to enter the law enforcement field. I'm 26 now, graduated in 2005 with an Associates degree in Information Technology. I went to college, to just go to college really and I regret that immensely now that I've figured out what path I want to go on. I'm not seeing my degree as very valuable.

    Currently I'm working in corporate America, 8-5, very similar to office space. Stuck in dead end job making mediocre pay behind a desk all day. I have managed to pay all my bills off, and I bought my first small house 1.5 years ago. I am grateful I have a job, but getting up and going everyday is becoming harder and harder.This environment is not for me, and I want to be outside, active... I love excersizing and staying healthy. I have a clean record, and a good head on my shoulders.

    I have taken local Sheriff/Police Civil Service exams for the past two years now without any real luck. With the combination of me not being able to score in the 90s, and the fact that no-one is hiring many officers its just been stagnant and the process takes forever.They only give tests every 2-3 years as well, so you really only get one shot. I'm even willing to sponsor myself through an academy, but the local agencies won't do this for insurance reasons apparently. I am looking at Federal positions as well, but it seems like you need a 4 year degree for most of these. I would love a NYS Forest Ranger job, but these are requiring degrees in land and forestry. I'd love something in DEA/ATF or even child protective services, as I love working with kids.

    So I'm trying to figure out what I can do in the meantime... and what my options may be. I do not want to relocate, as I am recently engaged, and we do have the house and she would like to stay close to family (for now). I havn't completely ruled it out though. I guess I'm just trying to get advice on what the best path to take to get my foot in the door with a field.

    Options:
    1. Go back and get a 4 year in Information Security and gain another $38,000 in debt in a field I don't want to be in to better increase my chances for landing a fed agency?
    2. Start over with college, and go to the local community college and get an associates in another field? Sociology/Psychology/ Criminal investigation?
    3. I have a friend in Border Patrol that says they are hiring a lot on the South West border... I wouldn't want to work Border Patrol forever though. Would also require relocating...
    4. I've always liked the Texas area, maybe search for an agency out there, still require relocating...
    5. Drag out the job here, and keep hoping civil service comes around for a local department?

    If you have made it this far, thanks for reading.. and I apreciate any insight anyone can give. I feel as I'm getting older, and need to make a more concrete decision if this is going to be my plan.
    Last edited by SupraRy; 08-13-2010, 10:18 AM.
    Trying to get on in NY...
    PM me if you hear of any upstate NY departments that are giving a civil service test.

  • #2
    Originally posted by SupraRy View Post
    Options:
    1. Go back and get a 4 year in Information Security and gain another $38,000 in debt in a field I don't want to be in to better increase my chances for landing a fed agency?
    2. Start over with college, and go to the local community college and get an associates in another field? Sociology/Psychology/ Criminal investigation?
    3. I have a friend in Border Patrol that says they are hiring a lot on the South West border... I wouldn't want to work Border Patrol forever though. Would also require relocating...
    4. I've always liked the Texas area, maybe search for an agency out there, still require relocating...
    5. Drag out the job here, and keep hoping civil service comes around for a local department?
    Have you talked to local PDs about doing a ride-along to see if it's something you would actually enjoy doing? I would hate to see you uprooting your life, spending more on college, etc. only to find that LE isn't a path that you would in fact not enjoy. That would be my first suggestion.

    Regardless, nearly every federal agency that I've researched will make you sign a mobility agreement if you get hired on with them, so by going with the feds, relocating is almost inevitable. Some of them may station you near your hometown, but that seems to be a vastly underrepresented option from what I've seen. It seems like if relocating is a major deal breaker, then you may want to look into other options for now. Your best bet might be to hope for a local agency, even though it seems like a long shot. With the economy, local PDs are getting slammed since towns are trying to cut back on spending, and local law enforcement is obviously not necessary...

    Sorry, kind of got off track there. As I said, try and pick up a ride-along if you can. That also helps you to get to know some of the local coppers, which would help if you applied to work at their department. Other than that, the only thing I would not recommend is starting over in college. IT degrees are sought by a bunch of agencies, so having that under your belt will help, and getting a different Bachelor's probably won't make a ton of difference in the long run. You may want to get your 4 year degree in IS, but if you're worried about money (as many people are, nowadays), I would hold off on that until you have set plans on what you want to do, ideas on where you want to go, work, etc.

    Just my $0.02
    "God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I am so far behind that I will never die." -- Bill Watterson

    "Inside of a ring or out, ain't nothing wrong with going down. It's staying down that's wrong." --Muhammad Ali

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    • #3
      3. I have a friend in Border Patrol that says they are hiring a lot on the South West border... I wouldn't want to work Border Patrol forever though. Would also require relocating...
      4. I've always liked the Texas area, maybe search for an agency out there, still require relocating...
      5. Drag out the job here, and keep hoping civil service comes around for a local department?


      Keep applying and testing, more college will not help you with your scores on the entrance tests. It is tough out there right now. If you want it badly enough you will eventually succeed. Maybe not gonna get your ideal job first time, but that will allow you to garner experience to test elsewhere. JMHO
      "a band is blowing Dixie double four time You feel alright when you hear the music ring"


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      • #4
        Originally posted by 4N6 View Post
        Have you talked to local PDs about doing a ride-along to see if it's something you would actually enjoy doing? I would hate to see you uprooting your life, spending more on college, etc. only to find that LE isn't a path that you would in fact not enjoy. That would be my first suggestion.


        Just my $0.02
        First, I apreciate the input. I do understand about mobility agreements, I would be willing if it was the perfect job. Second, I have participated in a ride along with a local department. There aren't many that actual allow them here (Upstate NY) but I did get to go. It was exactly what I was looking for and I really enjoyed it.

        Originally posted by RoadKingTrooper View Post
        3. I have a friend in Border Patrol that says they are hiring a lot on the South West border... I wouldn't want to work Border Patrol forever though. Would also require relocating...
        4. I've always liked the Texas area, maybe search for an agency out there, still require relocating...
        5. Drag out the job here, and keep hoping civil service comes around for a local department?


        Keep applying and testing, more college will not help you with your scores on the entrance tests. It is tough out there right now. If you want it badly enough you will eventually succeed. Maybe not gonna get your ideal job first time, but that will allow you to garner experience to test elsewhere. JMHO
        Thanks RKT. That is what my parents keep telling me, but I do get discouraged at times. I think the stress of my current job, and me not wanting to be here is accelerating the feeling.

        Thanks for your advice.
        Trying to get on in NY...
        PM me if you hear of any upstate NY departments that are giving a civil service test.

        Comment


        • #5
          Have you tried starting in Corrections first? That's how I did it. The time in the jail sucked, but I learned a lot of things quickly, and I have no doubt at all that the time spent there helped me to get hired with a PD.

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          • #6
            It took me years to get the police position I wanted, you have to be flexible and persistent!

            USBP is a good agency that IS hiring lots of people, get on it now. Do that for a few years if you love it great, if not US Forrest Service LEO almost only hires people with that kind of experience and that may be the best job in all federal law enforcement.

            OR, broaden your search outside your area, Texas is one of the few areas that seems to be hiring.

            OR, corrections, public safety officer, community resource officer, dispatcher, get in the door and get some experience.
            Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CO1259 View Post
              Have you tried starting in Corrections first? That's how I did it. The time in the jail sucked, but I learned a lot of things quickly, and I have no doubt at all that the time spent there helped me to get hired with a PD.
              I have looked into it, I really don't want to start in the jails.. but I will investigate more.

              Originally posted by Magic Matt View Post
              It took me years to get the police position I wanted, you have to be flexible and persistent!

              USBP is a good agency that IS hiring lots of people, get on it now. Do that for a few years if you love it great, if not US Forrest Service LEO almost only hires people with that kind of experience and that may be the best job in all federal law enforcement.

              OR, broaden your search outside your area, Texas is one of the few areas that seems to be hiring.

              OR, corrections, public safety officer, community resource officer, dispatcher, get in the door and get some experience.
              Thanks for the input. I know BP is a good agency, the Forest Service is awesome.

              I need to decide if I can relocate, I think I would do well in Border Patrol.

              I will look at those other positions, I never thought of public safety offier or community resource.. I need to get my foot in the door!
              Trying to get on in NY...
              PM me if you hear of any upstate NY departments that are giving a civil service test.

              Comment

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