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Long-Term Law Enforcement Employment Decision

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  • Long-Term Law Enforcement Employment Decision

    Hello! I am a 19 year old from So Cal and I'm having some issues planning my future in law enforcement. My current plan is to join up with the California Highway Patrol stay for at least five years and then go to become a US Marshal. I want to know if that is worth it. Salary wise from my research the Marshals start off a lot lower than CHP but I can't find the upward amount, while CHP start very well off and end up around 100g. I want to hear from some professionals who know more than me about the pros and cons of both, salary caps, and other viable options after the CHP (as I'm starting there no matter what). Also if you know anything about the Marshal SOG and could givr information that is both not on the website and is not classified that would be very welcomed.

  • #2
    Lemme guess, you saw the recent news coverage on the Frein arrest and now you have visions of SOG dancing in your head?

    Marshals do start low on the salary rung. A not very precise estimate... Starting at $45k, 1st anniversary $50k, second $72k, third $88k, fourth $92, and growing in 2 to 3k increments thereafter every two or three successive years. Not counting possible COLAs yearly that could add to your base salary by 1% to 3% ( or more, but don't hold breath). "Top out" as it is is somewhere in the $110k range , assuming no promotion . Now if you promote we are now talking about over $100k starting , so you would sit pretty after a long career.

    As far as the age old question of local LEO vs FED, that will never be fully settled. Depends on the kind of person you are. You like going home feeling fulfilled and having saved the world daily? Enjoy the idea of every radio call being diffrent and unexpected? Be a local. Want to work less than your local counterpart but reap more benefit, and don't care about self worth and personal satisfaction? Go fed. Million arguments either way, I personally would recommend local. Maybe not even the CHiPs. I would join a PD or SO and experience the JOB in it's purest form rather than a state patrol that has it's main duty traffic enforcement . Get in the trenches with the troops and learn how to be a cop,then decide after a few years your final path. Some cops can't wait to get off patrol and out of a crown Vic. Others celebrate their 60th birthday behind the wheel of a radio car and will still beat you silly with a slapjack.

    There is no right answer.
    USMS Region 3
    Info Session: Aug 2009 (Atlanta)
    Interview: 10/26/09 (Atlanta)
    Conditional Offer: 1/15/10
    BackgroundInt: 2/1/10
    Medical:2/15/10
    MedicalReview: 4/15/10
    FIT: 5/10/10 (Excellent)
    Drug: 6/5/10
    Fletc: APRIL 6, 2011!!!
    Duty Station: Laredo,Tx

    __________________________________________________ ______________________________
    Border Patrol AgentApplied: 11/15/10
    Written: 12/27/10
    NOR: 12/29/10 (96)
    To:
    Medical:

    Comment


    • #3
      Long-Term Law Enforcement Employment Decision

      Everything jtl323 said is on point. CHP is a great agency no doubt and their retirement is better than the FEDs, but what they do is limited in scope. If I was your age I'd focus solely on going to college, do sports and every school-related extra curricular activity I could get into. Once youre in your Sr year of college I'd consider a large agency in So Cal. Pretty much can't go wrong with the Riverside County SD or any agency in Orange County. What you want is any larger dept that has diversity in what they do. Regarding the USMS: The way things are currently you need to join the military, and perhaps go to college to get your foot in the door. If you're serious about the USMS consider an ROTC program. I'd also encourage you to do research on the scope of what the USMS does, especially what you'd be doing when you're new. I'm going to go out on a limb and say you might have a romantic idea of what they do, but I could be way off base. Also, due to your statement about salary, most other Fed Criminal Investigators make more than Deputy US Marshals. The USMS is a good agency no doubt. My overall advice is to look for agencies who have wide ranging authority with a variety of what they enforce. It's a career and you don't want to do the same thing for 30 years.
      Last edited by TripleD; 11-05-2014, 06:29 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        You are also making a big assumption that both agencies will hire you on your schedule. Life almost never works out that way.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TripleD View Post
          Everything jtl323 said is on point. CHP is a great agency no doubt and their retirement is better than the FEDs, but what they do is limited in scope. If I was your age I'd focus solely on going to college, do sports and every school-related extra curricular activity I could get into. Once youre in your Sr year of college I'd consider a large agency in So Cal. Pretty much can't go wrong with the Riverside County SD or any agency in Orange County. What you want is any larger dept that has diversity in what they do. Regarding the USMS: The way things are currently you need to join the military, and perhaps go to college to get your foot in the door. If you're serious about the USMS consider an ROTC program. I'd also encourage you to do research on the scope of what the USMS does, especially what you'd be doing when you're new. I'm going to go out on a limb and say you might have a romantic idea of what they do, but I could be way off base. Also, due to your statement about salary, most other Fed Criminal Investigators make more than Deputy US Marshals. The USMS is a good agency no doubt. My overall advice is to look for agencies who have wide ranging authority with a variety of what they enforce. It's a career and you don't want to do the same thing for 30 years.
          To add to this, the Usms does not EXCLUSIVELY hire ex military , but due to federally imposed hiring guidelines, preference points must be given to those with veteran status. Also the US MS has been approved by Congress to attain the journeyman GS 13 status, so once it is eventually budgeted and set in motion, they will have comparable pay across the board with the aforementioned higher paid federal agencies.
          USMS Region 3
          Info Session: Aug 2009 (Atlanta)
          Interview: 10/26/09 (Atlanta)
          Conditional Offer: 1/15/10
          BackgroundInt: 2/1/10
          Medical:2/15/10
          MedicalReview: 4/15/10
          FIT: 5/10/10 (Excellent)
          Drug: 6/5/10
          Fletc: APRIL 6, 2011!!!
          Duty Station: Laredo,Tx

          __________________________________________________ ______________________________
          Border Patrol AgentApplied: 11/15/10
          Written: 12/27/10
          NOR: 12/29/10 (96)
          To:
          Medical:

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by just joe View Post
            You are also making a big assumption that both agencies will hire you on your schedule. Life almost never works out that way.
            The current crop of US MS candidates looking to be hired this January, have been in the hiring process for three years now. The typical time from application to employment assuming you're hired ranges from 1 to 3 years.
            USMS Region 3
            Info Session: Aug 2009 (Atlanta)
            Interview: 10/26/09 (Atlanta)
            Conditional Offer: 1/15/10
            BackgroundInt: 2/1/10
            Medical:2/15/10
            MedicalReview: 4/15/10
            FIT: 5/10/10 (Excellent)
            Drug: 6/5/10
            Fletc: APRIL 6, 2011!!!
            Duty Station: Laredo,Tx

            __________________________________________________ ______________________________
            Border Patrol AgentApplied: 11/15/10
            Written: 12/27/10
            NOR: 12/29/10 (96)
            To:
            Medical:

            Comment


            • #7
              Excellent information here, thanks fellas.
              Its Showtime! -- "The Icon" -- Sting.

              Comment


              • #8
                I have no romanticisms on either. I've been researching for a while now for both fronts. The minimum reqs for the usms include 3 years exp so I was hoping to apply after 5. Its not a set schedule its just a life plan, there's always variables so I would be fine sitting with the CHP for 2-3 years after I apply for the usms. I love the thought of the CHPs work being part of my life, just driving a crown Vic around all day dealing with gruesome accidents and what not. The starting is also 60g so that's pretty awesome. I actually haven't heard of the Frein arrest, I was interested in the usms because of the wide scope of their jobs. I'm also a pilot in training though so I'm not sure if I'd be wasting that by trying for the marshals. Something about local PDs put me off a tad.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I also actually read about sog on the usms website

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by A_Steffani View Post
                    I have no romanticisms on either. I've been researching for a while now for both fronts. The minimum reqs for the usms include 3 years exp so I was hoping to apply after 5. Its not a set schedule its just a life plan, there's always variables so I would be fine sitting with the CHP for 2-3 years after I apply for the usms. I love the thought of the CHPs work being part of my life, just driving a crown Vic around all day dealing with gruesome accidents and what not. The starting is also 60g so that's pretty awesome. I actually haven't heard of the Frein arrest, I was interested in the usms because of the wide scope of their jobs. I'm also a pilot in training though so I'm not sure if I'd be wasting that by trying for the marshals. Something about local PDs put me off a tad.
                    Let's clarify one thing right off the bat. The first time you have to walk through someone's front yard picking up Brain fragments out of the grass because some guy driving his motorcycle didn't navigate a curve well, clipped a mailbox post, and spilled his cerebral matter like a jar of spilled beans, you won't be glorifying gruesome accidents.

                    How about showing up to the scene of a ford pick up that has gone head on with a tree, The engine compartment in the cab are now fully engulfed in fire, with the teenage driver trapped behind the wheel. You pull open the drivers door and grab the driver by the leg to pull him out, but as you pull his skin meat, and clothing come off in your hands down to the bone because his fat and skin have turned to boiling jelly. Try getting that smell and stain out of the uniform. Oh, and you recognize the kid from a local high school, you've talked to him and taught him before.

                    Images stay with you forever and are not awesome.
                    Last edited by jtl323; 11-05-2014, 05:48 PM.
                    USMS Region 3
                    Info Session: Aug 2009 (Atlanta)
                    Interview: 10/26/09 (Atlanta)
                    Conditional Offer: 1/15/10
                    BackgroundInt: 2/1/10
                    Medical:2/15/10
                    MedicalReview: 4/15/10
                    FIT: 5/10/10 (Excellent)
                    Drug: 6/5/10
                    Fletc: APRIL 6, 2011!!!
                    Duty Station: Laredo,Tx

                    __________________________________________________ ______________________________
                    Border Patrol AgentApplied: 11/15/10
                    Written: 12/27/10
                    NOR: 12/29/10 (96)
                    To:
                    Medical:

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by A_Steffani View Post
                      I have no romanticisms on either. I've been researching for a while now for both fronts. The minimum reqs for the usms include 3 years exp so I was hoping to apply after 5. Its not a set schedule its just a life plan, there's always variables so I would be fine sitting with the CHP for 2-3 years after I apply for the usms. I love the thought of the CHPs work being part of my life, just driving a crown Vic around all day dealing with gruesome accidents and what not. The starting is also 60g so that's pretty awesome. I actually haven't heard of the Frein arrest, I was interested in the usms because of the wide scope of their jobs. I'm also a pilot in training though so I'm not sure if I'd be wasting that by trying for the marshals. Something about local PDs put me off a tad.
                      Being a licensed pilot is an awesome thing to have on your resume, whether it be for chp, a local pd or so, or the Usms. We employ deputies that are pilots for secondary duties, albeit not many.
                      USMS Region 3
                      Info Session: Aug 2009 (Atlanta)
                      Interview: 10/26/09 (Atlanta)
                      Conditional Offer: 1/15/10
                      BackgroundInt: 2/1/10
                      Medical:2/15/10
                      MedicalReview: 4/15/10
                      FIT: 5/10/10 (Excellent)
                      Drug: 6/5/10
                      Fletc: APRIL 6, 2011!!!
                      Duty Station: Laredo,Tx

                      __________________________________________________ ______________________________
                      Border Patrol AgentApplied: 11/15/10
                      Written: 12/27/10
                      NOR: 12/29/10 (96)
                      To:
                      Medical:

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have some good friends that are CHPpies and that really work. But then there's the guys who have 15+ years on who don't or won't do sh*t because "they get paid whether they work or not."

                        Just realize that CHP will not give you "investigative experience" that a local PD/SO will give you. In fact, you should apply for some of the smaller PDs/SOs, as most of them are generalists from day one. Like at my agency, I investigate a crime from initial call (or my initiation) to arrest and prosecution. Our detectives handle things that require significant manpower or specialized tools I don't have at my disposal. That kind of experience would help you more with being a Fed than writing tickets and taking crashes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          CHP also has specialized units such as auto theft, who are part of task forces, that will give you investigative experience. Plus, you need those skills to reconstruct major crashes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I know you're 19 and 60k/year sounds like alot. I'm sure it is to most, but there are other jobs out there that aren't federal that will pay far more than that and not cap out at 100-150k. That's the dilemna i'm facing. Forego a higher starting and probably ending pay by several times over, or, go with the feds and have a secure retirement and be well off, but not rich. That is, of course, if life goes as planned : ) If you had asked me 5 years ago what my plan was, it was far different than this. I never thought about going into Federal LE, and I still have no plans on going local PD or HP or any of that sort. But I have several back up plans to initiate or ponder over.

                            My advice to you, is find out what you want to do, find out if it's worth the money, but don't worry about the starting pay if you know there is room for growth. Life is about risk and reward.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Get a degree then do law enforcement.

                              Comment

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