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  • Job decision dilemma

    I am currently employed as a deputy corrections officer at the county I originally wanted to work for. I took the county job originally as a dispatcher as a way to get my foot in the door, was allowed to go to a regional academy and graduate at my own expense, then moved to the jail in order to gain some "offender experience" in preparation for applying for the patrol division, which is where I want to be.

    To say that patrol slots are hard to come by is an understatement. Like many county agencies, they promote from within and while there aren't currently any openings in patrol, when one comes up there will be 20-25 individuals with more experience and time on at the agency going for it. I could get lucky or I could get stuck in the jail for the next 5 years.

    I used to work for the university police department where I got my bachelor's degree from and I enjoyed it. It's a small department, maybe 15 sworn personnel, but I know the people and the politics and could survive there. Some of the officers are encouraging me to apply there (they have 2 openings), and I'm pretty sure I could walk on to the department. So here's the dilemma: I would love to be at the county where I would be much more busy, but I have patrol fever bad. If I took the job at the university, I would immediately be on patrol, I would get a slight pay increase, all equipment would be paid for, overtime opportunities, and they throw all kinds of money into whatever schools you want to go to (they are huge on training).

    If you're in my shoes, what would you do? I'm really on the fence here. I love the county I work for but I also feel like the road to patrol experience, even if it's not very action-packed, is almost too hard to turn down. The money isn't a huge issue but I also feel like being a young officer I'll want to be more proactive than that agency would like...

  • #2
    It sounds like the university will be a short term (a few years) gig because you will not be satisfied with the activity level or the amount of activity you can initiate. I guess you have to go into it knowing that you are not going to be satisfied and that you intend to lateral out when you can. Is the univ. a stepping stone and do they have/expect a lot of turnover? Have you tried picking up a part time badge somewhere or is that prohibited?

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    • #3
      They do have a fair amount of turnover, and I don't think it's an secret that it will be a stepping stone. That being said, I intend to give 1000% my entire time there. I would be able to get some experience and training to take somewhere else. I could reserve at this agency while remaining at the county as an alternative but I have been told that it probably wouldn't give me any extra points on the county's patrol exam. I should also mention that I live less than 5 minutes from the university vs. a 15 mile commute to the county. I put a lot of miles on my vehicle every week getting to and from.

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      • #4
        Sounds like a no brainer. If the University is still post certified and gun toting I would do it. I wouldn't trade my patrol days for anything. It was a blast a good experience before moving on.
        ...and is commended as being worthy of trust and confidence

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        • #5
          Well let me throw you the X factor. I worked for University PD for a few years. If your single....don't forget about the ladies! I had a blast while I worked there, even though I hated the politics. It was a stepping stone, but I wouldnt trade that experience. I worked in an urban area so I still got to do a fair amount of good police work.
          "In valor there is hope"

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          • #6
            Getting your "foot in the door" is overrated. Get a job that gives you experience and responsibility.

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            • #7
              I was in a very similar situation to you back in my homestate, Crawfish......If I were you, I'd jump on the opportunity and get the hell out of the jail. It's great for getting experience; but patrol and corrections are two way different animals. You will start to get very burned out and easily irritated if you get stuck in the jail year after year after year. That 5 years could easily drag out to 6 or 7 if the economy remains bad and people don't want to retire. More fun-filled corrections realities: Supervisors always over your shoulder; jack-wagons to deal with non-stop coming in the booking door; back-stabbing co-workers who hate their life because they're stuck in the jail too, etc...... Also, you'll just be another face in the jail. At the university, you'll be able to be noticed because it's a small department. You said it yourself- better pay, better training, better equipment. Trying to get sent to a school working the jail is like trying to pull your teeth out with a pair of pliers.

              I was greatful for my corrections experience; but after nearly seven years of it- I would almost rather flip burgers before I go back to working the jail. So if I were you, I'd take the university.
              Just another squirrel, tryin' to get a nut......

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              • #8
                If they have a subject you are interested in, I imagine you can earn a master's degree for the cost of books.

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                • #9
                  Common practice here to start new Deputies in the jail until an opening in patrol opens up. That can take years. If the University PD is sworn and POST certified then it sounds to me like that would be the place to go. Remember though that smaller Depts have just as much politics as larger ones
                  "a band is blowing Dixie double four time You feel alright when you hear the music ring"


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                  • #10
                    Thank you all for your advice and wisdom. Everyone seems to be in agreement and I think I will talk to the chief at the university. They are sworn and POST certified, etc. I know the politics because I dispatcher there so I'm confident that won't be a big issue. Thanks again guys and stay safe out there.

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                    • #11
                      I did five years in corrections before going to a patrol gig. Glad to have done corrections, but just as glad (more so) to get out. It still took five more years to get the patrol job of my dreams. Fun trip... I would take the university job...

                      Good luck
                      In God we trust, everyone else we search!

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                      • #12
                        +1 with everyone else....university police

                        ....and if that is boring?...take a language or earn an advanced degree

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