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Military Experience and Becoming a Police Officer


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  • Military Experience and Becoming a Police Officer

    My name is Bobby and I am just graduated college last May with a degree in Education/ History and a minor in Political Science. I am one of the few lucky college grads who found a job. I am currently teaching 8th grade at a Catholic Middle School, full time. It is not what I want to do the rest of my life I want to find a job in law enforcement and am willing to do just about anything to make that happen.

    The reason I am posting this thread is because I am seriously considering enlisting in the Navy (hopefully as an officer). My question, what will enlisting in the Navy do for me when it comes to finding a job after I am done? Does it make sense for me to enlist in the Navy for at least 4 years and risk missing a potential job opportunity because in a year or a two it is predicted many agencies both local and federal will hire many new people.

    Any feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  • #2
    I'm not an officer or anything so I can't give any advice in that regard (I'm actually still in college), but to clarify are you talking about being commissioned? Enlisted men can't become "officers" in the way I think you're thinking of (lt or ensign). If you have a degree you should think about going to OCS if you really want to be in the military.

    On a different note, I have three friends who are vets, and none of them have ever said that being in the military hurt them job-wise. One of them got out last year and found a job pretty quickly, since it's a really good thing to have military service on your resume these days. So you might miss out on hiring next year (of which there is no guarantee anyway) but you'll be in a solid position in four years when you are (honorably) discharged.


    • #3
      Originally posted by bobby88 View Post
      Your Post

      A. Go in because you want to go in.....Go in because you want to serve your country.....Don't go in thinking it as a career enhancement.... You will be miserable if you do that....

      B. For the most part, Officers manage and Enlisted do the work but I do know the Navy has lots of exceptions. If you find a career field you are interested, try to get with some of the Navy Vets on here (or friends/family)and see what Officers do in the career field and what the Enlisted do in the career field......

      C. If you want to be a Federal Agent/local Cop....why not apply now....? You have a 4 year degree with work experience...... Look in your area for local stuff and google USAJOBs and set an account up there and start looking for jobs. Also, hit the various federal agencies web sites that interest you and check there as well. Each agencies has it's own distinct mission........ Figure out what you want to do and go from there.....

      Good Luck...


      • #4
        Bobby, I'm a recently hired police officer in New Jersey. Former enlisted Marine from 2000 to 2005. went to college from 05-09. It took me four long years of applying, and two state wide civil service tests to finally land a job. The agency that hired me didnt require a 4 yr degree if you were a verteran, however, my college time definitely helped when I was being considered. When it comes to military experience and landing a job, its depends on the hiring agency and their requirements. Some states/ local agencies have veterans preference, as mine did, and some don't. Some will hire their local town kids, the Chiefs son or nephew, and others are required hire the folks coming home from overseas. When it comes to "will military experience help me get hired", its not that black and white. Will the military experience help you IF you get hired? Absolutely. But as they say, situation dictates. If you feel like you need more in your life, and teaching isn't for you, and your destined for something greater in life, then go talk to your local recruiter. But as the previous posted stated, don't join the military thinking it will enhance your career later down the road, because it may not..

        Best of luck, and questions, PM me.


        • #5
          Thank you for your input.

          I should have clarified, I am going to do my best to get into OCS. I am just about positive that I want to join, it is a major commitment and as you said if I do it for the wrong reasons I will be miserable.

          I have been to the Navy website, but many of their career descriptions are very vague and I am guessing one sided. I don't want to sit behind a desk, serve food, do maintenance or pretty much anything else I can do now without being in the Navy. I want to join to make a difference and help people; with that being said, I know it is my decision to make, but I would appreciate any advice on what area to join; that will not only make a difference but also help me earn a job opportunity in law enforcement after I am discharged.

          Thank you for your help


          • #6

            I'm currently an active duty Navy Officer stationed in SD and will be getting out soon to pursue Federal LE. With my skill set and experience I gained from the Navy, Law Enforcement was a pretty easy decision for me. I think generally, military service is looked as a good thing to any employer.

            I actually had several enlisted guys on my platoon with college degrees and I would say that Bear is right in that I mainly do managing and my guys would do all the work. My career field is unique in that I have had opportunities to go down range, but majority of all the other communities won't be like that. It'll be a lot of managing people, situations, and paperwork.

            I wouldn't trade my time in the Navy for anything else as I did gain a lot of experience. Also in terms of Law Enforcement, being in the military is not a guarantee into LE. It really depends on the agency and what they are looking for. I personally have been unqualified for about 5 of the agencies that I applied to. Whatever reason, even with my background and experience, these agencies decided not to go with me. However, I've been fortunate to go forward with a good number of other agencies.

            If you have more specific questions concerning the different Navy communities, feel free to PM me.


            • #7

              I am a former Navy O trying to make the transition to the Federal LE world as well. I would say there is no specific career field in the officer community that is direct link to LE. I would say intel/IW is closest, but I am also biased as that is my background. There are some force protection sub-specialties that you can get into after your first tour, but that is the exception rather than the rule (note: my knowledge is dated as of when I got out in 2007). On the enlisted side, you have the MA rating, but we only had one MA on either of my two ships, so I am not super familiar with that world.

              Right now, I am hoping a lot of the stuff I did will help translate into the LE world (or at least get someone to look at my resume). As a Surface Warfare officer, I did a counter-narc deployment to South America (ICE). As an intel officer, I was a CT analyst and went out to Afghanistan to work in an HVT targeting cell (FBI). I worked at the 2004 Presidential Inauguration for 3 months (USSS). I didn't do any of those things because I intended to get into LE, they just kind of happened along the way.

              It is definitely a serious commitment, both professionally and personally. As a 22 year old division officer on a ship, I was a manager, financial counselor, bailiff, and priest for 16 people with an average age of about 19. Luckily I had a great chief, a fantastic CO, and a great wardroom that showed me the ropes and helped me grow as an officer. You will be responsible and held accountable for leading men and women during a time of war. For me, there was no greater privilege or responsibility. If you don't go into it as a means to an end, you will be a lot happier. The most miserable officers I knew were folks who had somewhere else to be. The last thing you want to to be standing in the freezing pilothouse at 0400 staring at a dark ocean with a blank radar scope and realizing you would really rather be somewhere else. it makes for a long tour.

              I can't speak to LE jobs (trying to make that jump), but it has certainly helped me land positions in both the private sector and with the federal government. It wasn't a bad thing to have on the resume. Honorable service to the nation (officer or enlisted) shows you have a degree of responsibility, professionalism, and dedication. For me it was the best thing I ever did, personally and professionally.


              • #8
                Well, I'm not a military guy, but I have been a cop for quite a long time. I tell you now, think about your future. And when I say that, I mean after retirement, depending on where you go your either gonna 20 yrs or 25. I say this because if you decide to go the military route and then get out to purse LE, stay with the military on a reserve status if you can. I know some fed jobs require you to be out, but most PD jobs do not. Hence, this way when you retire at a young age, which you probably will, say late 40's, you'll have a double pension. You have NO IDEA right now how HUGE that is. I work with guys going out with 20 from here, and our pension is pretty dam good, and on top of that they have a full military pension at 43 years old. This is money in your pocket until you DIE. If you have a chance for a double pension go for it. Also Military experience will always help you to land a LE job. Feds have verterans preference etc and most PD tests give somce extra points for it as well. So if the Navy is something that you wanna do, go for it, and by all means finish your 20 if you can.


                • #9
                  I'll add that my community is Explosive Ordnance Disposal (Bomb Squad). I've dove SCUBA/MK16, jumped out of many perfectly good planes, and blown up some explosives.

                  I'll be biased of course, but if you want to join as an E or an O, I would recommend going EOD or SEALs.

                  The training you receive as a Navy EOD Technician or Navy SEAL will definitely put you on the top of any hiring pool IMO. I can't speak too knowledgeably about the SEAL pipeline, but EOD techs receive probably the best training. It's a long intensive process to become a technician (approx 18months), but the schools and opportunities are endless.

                  The basic pipeline starts with Dive school, followed by EOD school, expeditionary combat skills, basic airborne jump school, and finished by tactical EOD training where you go onto advanced expeditionary combat skills and Helicopter rope suspension/CAST training.

                  You then get assigned to a EOD team where you train to deploy in support of carrier operations, Navy Special Warfare (SEALs), Contingency Expeditionary Support (Marines/Army), or Mine Countermeasures. With the IED threat growing continuously, our expertise is needed everywhere.

                  After you get a few tours under your belt, then advanced training is available such as Foreign Language (DLI), HRST/CAST Master, SCUBA/MK16 Supervisor, Advanced IED, Navy Military freefall, FBI Post Blast, etc.

                  We also do support for the USSS and other Fed LEs when requested. I've been on several secret service missions. Nothing too high speed but working with the Feds has always been a great experience.
                  Last edited by mcdb84; 04-14-2011, 11:16 PM.


                  • #10
                    I was former enlisted military police, loved my 9 years in and then got out and got into federal LE. If you have the degree, then go officer, it will help in my opinion. I was enlisted at the time b/c I didn't have a degree. The GI bill paid for my school.

                    I'm currently an agent and can you we have hired quite a few military "intel" guys straight out of the military into agent jobs, as well as spec ops, military police, etc...

                    One of the best options going for officer is Air Force's OSI. They attend the same academy as the majority of federal agents, so I've quite a few former military OSI agents get out walk into federal agent jobs. Same with some of the Army CID guys. the only problem with army is they have no officers in CID.
                    ...and is commended as being worthy of trust and confidence


                    • #11
                      Officers don't serve food or perform routine maintenance. You appear to be confusing enlisted and commissioned and their respective job functions. Get off the web site and speak with a person who recruits officer candidates.


                      • #12
                        Here is a few other Ideas for u....

                        I would look at the coast guard they are under home land security. I would also look at the air force they work more like civilian Police, and they take care of there people. with a 4 yr degree you should not have a problem getting on to a police dept. I know PG police is looking for 200 officers. there PT/written is very simple They are in Maryland. The Maryland State Police, Pentagon Police, U.S. Park police are great places to work, and get great training. For government jobs check out www.usajobs.gov and yes they will help you on your quest for Law Enforcement. Good luck...


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RED459 View Post
                          I would also look at the air force they work more like civilian Police, and they take care of there people.
                          Officers DO NOT perform LEO duties in the AF....... They are managers..... Enlisted folks do the Cop work.......

                          Officers DO work in OSI and perform investigative work.....and go to FLETC........

                          Huge differences btwn the two.......


                          • #14

                            “All men dream...... But not equally..
                            Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it is vanity;
                            but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
                            for they act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.....”

                            TE Lawrence


                            • #15
                              As a former military guy with 4 years active duty Army under my belt, I'd recommend going for it. Military service looks sharp on the resume and military boot camp will prepare you for some of what to expect during a police academy. It also gets you used to living a structured lifestyle. The Post 9/11 GI Bill will pay for you to go for an advanced degree also. You may join up, love it and stay with it. I almost did that but I wanted to stay in one place as opposed to constantly moving around the country. That's what drew me to LE.


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