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Is 50 years old too old to join?

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  • Is 50 years old too old to join?

    First time poster, long-time visitor here. This is a great site for info.

    I'm in the Southern California area and would like a mid-life career change as a police officer. I'm 50 years old. No maximum ages are posted by any departments (federal jobs are different and post 37 as the max). Do I even have a chance? What are the challenges for an older person?

    I'm thinking maybe the background investigation might pose the biggest hurdle. I've been around a long time and have been in a couple different industries, and in my old information technology career, I was a consultant with a couple different corporations that took me all over the country and even Saudi Arabia. I'm not even sure how an investigator can track down my associates from over there.

    Physically, I'll be able to hang with the much younger people, so I don't see that as a problem.

    What do you folks think?

  • #2
    Thanks for the input. I know several over 50 too but my concern is joining in as a rookie. Most officers start retiring at this late age.

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    • #3
      I say go for it. At my department we have had several excellent officers begin their law enforcement career later on in life. Most did 20 years in the military and joined in their late 30's to early 40's, but you would probably still be fine at 50. I would think that you would have more maturity and life experience to bring to the table then a 22 year old right out of college. The background would be a challenge, but leave that challenge for the BI, supply him with the information he asks for and if he can't complete the investigation, then he's not worth his salt as an investigator. A department won't reject you just because the BI had a hard time tracking down a former employer overseas, it might prolong the process for you though. If you are in good physical condition, clear criminal history, no skeletons in the closet etc...Then apply if that is what you want to do. Worst thing a department can do is turn you down, and then you are no worse off then you are right now. Good luck.

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      • #4
        There was a guy in my rookie school who was 50 years old, we called him "Pops". If you have the ambition and the ability, then you can do it. Pops was one of the favorites in the class and is still working at a local agency 6 years later and doing well from what I hear.

        I'm not sure what the hiring situation is around there. If jobs are in short supply and applications are plentiful, you might have problems competing with the younger folks just because of the long-term retention issue. The PD will realistically know that you won't be working for them for 20 years like the young guys might, so that will be taken into account. However, don't let that discourage you...apply, apply, apply.

        Good luck,
        Gibbmusic
        Okay, just how big were those two beers sir?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by webcruiser
          First time poster, long-time visitor here. This is a great site for info.

          I'm in the Southern California area and would like a mid-life career change as a police officer. I'm 50 years old. No maximum ages are posted by any departments (federal jobs are different and post 37 as the max). Do I even have a chance? What are the challenges for an older person?

          I'm thinking maybe the background investigation might pose the biggest hurdle. I've been around a long time and have been in a couple different industries, and in my old information technology career, I was a consultant with a couple different corporations that took me all over the country and even Saudi Arabia. I'm not even sure how an investigator can track down my associates from over there.

          Physically, I'll be able to hang with the much younger people, so I don't see that as a problem.

          What do you folks think?
          Hi Webcruiser-I've been on the site for a while myself. I'm a 38 year old female living in Inglewood, CA and I just wanted to encourage you to go for it..I am in the process with LAPD now.
          Last edited by Brookworm; 01-11-2007, 05:17 AM. Reason: meant to send private message

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          • #6
            Definately go for it. When I went through the Alaska State Trooper Academy there were two guys in my class who were over 50 by a year or two. One was prior Army and the other was like you, just wanting to try something he always wanted to do. They both did well and are still going strong as Troopers. Good Luck!!
            US Police Jobs.com The only site to offer detailed information for over 900 Police Departments as well as comprehensive explanations for each step of the police hiring process.

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            • #7
              Go for it, webcruiser!

              There were many in our recruit class that were in their mid to late 40s (I was 40 at the time). A few recruit classes prior to ours included a 50 plus year old recruit. Everyone made it through the academy just fine. I agree with you regarding the background investigation being a hurdle as a result of much work history. My background investigation seemed to take forever (relative to the younger recruits' background investigations) due to the fact that the BI needed to hear back from many former employers. Good luck with it!
              "Let's Roll" - T. Beamer

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              • #8
                Thanks for the input everybody! All very uplifting. Yeah, I'm gonna go for it!

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                • #9
                  I wish that I had the wisdom of 50 years. Do it at don't look back. Some of the older folks can whoop the younger folks physically. It is whatever you choose to make it. One of my hurdles is looking much younger than I actually am.

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                  • #10
                    I'm 39 and I just completed the Academy here in Michigan. Believe me, there are a lot of guys and gals 30+ entering the academy now. You're not too old yet, so do it!

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                    • #11
                      Webcruiser... I respect your ambition and wish you all the luck in the world!
                      D WIRE ONE

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                      • #12
                        Never too old.

                        retired Military do it all the time. A friend of mine was 49 when he got hired. he just turned 62 and is going to retire in a year with a second pension.

                        he is still going stronger than most of our rookies.

                        might try other states. Michigan is great for late entries.
                        It takes a Wolf.......

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                        • #13
                          Webcruiser: I went through the Academy at 51. If MY old behind can do it, you certainly can.

                          You will also have the life experience of maturity and being able to deal with people without going into Rambo mode all the time - a lot of departments are now realizing that is a great advantage.

                          Do it. Whatever happens, you will not regret it!

                          And just remember: Old age and treachery will ALWAYS prevail over youth and skill

                          Best of luck - keep us posted!
                          Stop Animal Testing!! (Because they really skew the grading curve...)

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                          • #14
                            What have you got to lose? Some states/agencies have a minimum age requirement to start with. Can you pass the physical requirements? If you can pass the P/T, then I say go for it. If you are in that good of shape at 50, I'd hire you.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by nrneuha
                              What have you got to lose? Some states/agencies have a minimum age requirement to start with. Can you pass the physical requirements? If you can pass the P/T, then I say go for it. If you are in that good of shape at 50, I'd hire you.
                              Ditto. Seriously, what do you stand to lose? Why live with the regret of "what-if" and "I shoulda" when you don't have to?
                              I miss you, Dave.
                              http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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