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Looking into a career ( questions )

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  • Looking into a career ( questions )

    Hey guys

    I've been recently looking into a career into police work, but don't really have any idea where to start and have a few general questions.

    First let me tell you a little about myself. I'm 20 years old graduated High School back in 2006. Since High school I've had a couple of jobs but have been focused on starting a company in the IT field. That plan has sort of went belly up so now I have to move on to something more realistic. I've registered for school but have never actually taken any classes. In high school I was a member of several organizations, one being JROTC where I finished as the highest ranked student and won several awards on my way to graduation.

    I've worked a few official jobs, one being a retail job with Circuit City for about two and half years. That started before I graduated and ended about a year after I graduated. Other then that I only have seasonal work experience. I'm a very motivated and athletic person and have wanted to be a police officer for a good while, but just recently decided to really aim for it.

    I was looking on the Florida Highway Patrol website for some information. There is an application option that I started filling out but there are some requirements that I'm not really sure I understand and I was hoping you guys could give me some advise.

    One of the requirements is either your AA degree, years in the military, or "two years of public contact experience" What actually classifies as "two years of public contact experience"?

    I am 20 years old so a job at the county police office is out of the question as they require you to be 21, which I turn next month, but would much rather go into something a little larger scale such as the FHP or maybe even a national organization.

    So do you guys have any advice or answers for me? Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Good Luck

    Aethix,
    I’ve worked for a couple of different law enforcement agencies so I don’t mind providing my 2 cents on the job hunting and hiring process. First, if you have the time and the resources get your education, even if it’s an AA, but a bachelor’s is preferred. This will make you more marketable in any profession that you choose down the road, especially for higher level promotions. Second, the military is always a good option especially if college isn’t. It can provide valuable work experience and specialization that is second to none, as well as, preference points for a slew of government jobs. Another good option for getting your feet wet is to get into corrections with a county or state agency. This will allow you to develop a sense of the job in a “controlled” environment and will allow you to decide if this type of work is really for you. Border Patrol is in the midst of a mass hiring, you could consider that. You’re young and if you’re single this could be a great option. Among other things you would become bi-lingual, at least conversationally, and this could be a golden ticket later down the road.
    As far as some of the questions that you had about your experience, I would think that your 2½ years of customer service experience would qualify as “two years of public contact experience.” Often many agencies will allow you to start the application process before the minimum age requirement as long as you meet that requirement by the time of appointment. However, this may not always be the case.
    It is always good to set your sights high but remember a foot in the door anywhere when you are young can payoff later down the road. Nothing can substitute experience. Good luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with everything in the post above.

      Just to add on to that, you said you are interested in something larger scale like FHP. Sometimes jobs that sound "larger scale" aren't really what you think they are. I am not here to bash highway patrols or state police, but they are for the most part completely different animals than county or municipal police.

      State patrols focus on traffic enforcement and patrol of highways. Local agencies do the the grunt work of police duties in a full range. I'm sure that in parts of Florida the state police engage in local duties for those areas without a lot of local police coverage, but my point is that you should think about what you mean by "larger scale" and examine closely the duties of a position before deciding if its what you want to do.

      I encourage all those interested in the criminal justice system to do corrections at a county sheriff's office first. That experience is invaluable, in my opinion. It has been invaluable to me.

      We all want fancy titles but the bottom line is that you will be a better officer in the long run by starting at the bottom rung of the ladder and moving forward. It also depends on what you want to do now and where you want to be in 10 years.

      If investigations is your bag, you might want to work towards fed agencies. You could also pursue this by way of local/county agencies and work your way into it.

      Policing consists of a broad array of career options but as was mentioned previously EXPERIENCE EXPERIENCE EXPERIENCE is key. Also, college education is key if you want to get beyond being a line officer. These days you can't get anywhere without it.

      Lots of people are completely happy being a city patrol officer for their entire career. There is also nothing wrong with that. They are the guys and gals who do the front line police work. The longer on that job the more skilled one becomes in that line of work and the better able they are to supervise others in that work. You have to decide what you want. You don't need to do it right now, you can do it as you go along.

      But understanding that you need to start at the bottom of any chosen career path and work up will make you a better professional in my opinion, and it will better prepare you for life in general.
      Last edited by 1919; 06-12-2008, 02:13 PM.
      "This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor." JFK

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by flyfisher View Post
        Aethix,
        I’ve worked for a couple of different law enforcement agencies so I don’t mind providing my 2 cents on the job hunting and hiring process. First, if you have the time and the resources get your education, even if it’s an AA, but a bachelor’s is preferred. This will make you more marketable in any profession that you choose down the road, especially for higher level promotions. Second, the military is always a good option especially if college isn’t. It can provide valuable work experience and specialization that is second to none, as well as, preference points for a slew of government jobs. Another good option for getting your feet wet is to get into corrections with a county or state agency. This will allow you to develop a sense of the job in a “controlled” environment and will allow you to decide if this type of work is really for you. Border Patrol is in the midst of a mass hiring, you could consider that. You’re young and if you’re single this could be a great option. Among other things you would become bi-lingual, at least conversationally, and this could be a golden ticket later down the road.
        As far as some of the questions that you had about your experience, I would think that your 2½ years of customer service experience would qualify as “two years of public contact experience.” Often many agencies will allow you to start the application process before the minimum age requirement as long as you meet that requirement by the time of appointment. However, this may not always be the case.
        It is always good to set your sights high but remember a foot in the door anywhere when you are young can payoff later down the road. Nothing can substitute experience. Good luck.
        Couldn't have said this better myself. Good advice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Aethix View Post
          Hey guys

          I've been recently looking into a career into police work, but don't really have any idea where to start and have a few general questions.

          I am 20 years old so a job at the county police office is out of the question as they require you to be 21, which I turn next month, but would much rather go into something a little larger scale such as the FHP or maybe even a national organization.

          So do you guys have any advice or answers for me? Thanks in advance!
          Here's my .02, You have good ambitions but like the previous posters I'm going to have to agree with military service or college (if not some of both)... I wanted to go into LE early in life myself but in all honesty to be considered competitive/highly competitive you need to add to your credentials. I did my time in Corps and used some of my military training toward my associate degree prior to getting out which helped tremendously when it came time to apply. The best advice I could give to you being you are about to turn 21, is to get your foot in the door by getting on with a local pd, you'll gain valuable experience which will only benefit you later in life. Most pd's I know of will allow you to apply, process and possibly start the academy at 20 provided you are 21 by the time of graduation/swearing in. Florida as a whole has numerous opportunties to serve in LE that many states don't so take full advantage of that.

          Now as far as your "large scale" comment, as 1919 mentioned- and this is typically true of most Highway Patrol/State Patrol agencies (especially in the south) they tend to be more geared toward highway/traffic enforcement, there are a few agencies out there (State Police, in particular Connecticut State Police, New Jerseay State Police, Maryland State Police etc just to name a few) that go full scale and provide you with just as much hands on as you'd get with a local dept. however, when you start looking at state/federal level depts they tend to be more selective (requiring higher education and/or experience)- so thats where the experience/education counts. Right now you're not really in much of a position to be too selective, whats important is to 1. get in uniform, 2. get educated 3. have some fun doing both.

          Without being too wordy and trying to keep this post as short as possible, you're in FL, a state that by far is pro-LE, you have numerous opportunities to work as a FT officer or even go reserves to see if LE is REALLY something you want to do for the next umpteen years of your life... One other thing to consider also, a lot of community colleges now offer credit for courses taken in the academy (hitting two birds with one stone), which will help provide you with an AA/AS provided you take the general ed courses (enlish, math, science etc) so thats something else to consider in helping you reach your goals should you choose to remain in LE. I'd get on with whomever I could (apply across the board, worst they could say is no or apply again later), stay motivated and make the most of whatever you decide to do... STAY OUT OF TROUBLE!!! Good Luck-

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