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  • Law enforcement journey

    Hey I've been on this law enforcement journey since October of last year. I'm 31 looking for a career change. I've lost 97 pounds in 6/7 months and still working on getting in shape for this career. I've put in a few applications to a few different departments. Made to backgrounds for some and made it to testing for others. Keeping my options open as far as agencies are concerned. I even put in a few applications to some out of state agencies. Just curious on who else is making a career change? What's your journey like? How is everything going?

  • #2
    I made a major career change to law enforcement just a few years ago, and I couldn't be happier with my choice.

    My previous career was in the corporate world, and I did it for over 20 years. Along the way, I got the LE bug and discovered I could work part-time as a cop if I put myself through an academy. I did it, and found I really enjoyed the work. It certainly made me much more satisfied than anything I did with my day job.

    I had a few opportunities to make police work my full-time gig along the way, but I never jumped because I was concerned about the impact it would have on my family. But, after over a decade of doing it on the side, we were in a better position for me to take the leap.

    I traded a safe desk job for one that requires me to wear armor and a gun because any person I meet may want to kill me...and it was the best decision I ever made.

    Comment


    • Iamkre8
      Iamkre8 commented
      Editing a comment
      Nice good to hear! I worked 6 years at a desk job then spent a year working in the construction industry. I always wanted to work in law enforcement and just got the approval from the wife to do so. So I'm actively working on it. Good to hear you really enjoy the work. I went on a ride along with an agency in the Denver area and it really confirmed my wanting to do this!

  • #3
    I went on a ride along with an agency in the Denver area and it really confirmed my wanting to do this!
    It's interesting you mention the ride-along, because that was what sealed the deal for me as well.

    I have a friend that's been a cop for over 20 years. Back before I was ever thinking about getting involved in LE, he invited me on a ride-along and I accepted. He works for a small-ish department that doesnt typically see a lot of action, so neither of us was expecting much excitement. But it turned out to be a hot night that included a foot chase, a couple of arrests, and more. We were hopping all night. I remember thinking afterward: "I gotta get me some of this!" And that's when I began researching the possiblilities.

    A lot of my fellow officers hate hosting ride-alongs. But I think back to my first one and how it truly ignited a spark in me to do something I've enjoyed for years. When I have the opportunity to host, I try my best to make it a pleasant (and even exciting) experience for my guest. Someday I may ignite the same desire in one of my ride-alongs.

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    • Iamkre8
      Iamkre8 commented
      Editing a comment
      Nice! I hope you get to fulfill that! My ride along didn't have a foot Chase.... A few traffic stops..dui car accident...a gang fight .....speed to calls with the lights and sirens blaring was pretty cool.... Way better than live PD lol

  • #4
    Its refreshing to hear so many stories of people excited about a career in law enforcement. I remember in college when I had that spark and drive but I had some trouble with an agency and I took a break. I'm looking at trying again but its a hell of a commitment just to get into the academy. Few jobs ask so much of you before getting the job. 20+ page personal history, background check, written test, physical, oral boards, poly, psychological, then 2nd oral board/chiefs interview. Don't be surprised if you put in hours of time and effort only to get an email saying your disqualified from the process. The Academy is fun, but be in great shape, don't want to be the person who has others picking up your slack. Don't try to be Captain America like I did either, do well but stay middle of the pack. Remember why your getting into law enforcement, if it's to drive fast cars and shoot guns move to Hollywood. I was a top shot in my academy and had the fastest time around the track but those comprise 10% of the job. Being able to get people to do what you want with the least amount of coercion is what makes the best officers. Get ready to see some things you've never seen, smell things you've never smelled, have your heart beat out of your chest, and cry in the shower. It's the best and worst calling I've ever had and I miss the comrade a ton. Once you graduate the academy prepare to have little to no idea what to do. Remember your on probation for your first year and can be fired over night, your integrity is absolutely everything, find a seasoned officer you respect and buy them dinner to pick they're brain. Best of luck to each and every one of you.
    - Dave
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    • Iamkre8
      Iamkre8 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you for the kind and encouraging words I really appreciate it. It is definitely a fun but interesting learning experience. I'm enjoying the journey even if it gets frustrating sometimes. I'm currently working out and trying to get in shape most of the departments I applied too their academies start been June and August so I have time but I don't have time if you know what I mean. My goal is to get into an agency this year and go from there. I have started the process with a few different agencies and doing the same process over and over again for multiple agencies can get a little tiring. I always wanted to be a cop and I have the approval from my wife to do so and I'm trying to accomplish that goal this year. I have gotten a rejection notification from a few agencies already and some I'm in the middle of the hiring process. It's all about staying consistent and motivated through each process. From your experience what have been the reasons that cops have been fired within the probation period?

  • #5
    If I were to go through the hiring process again I would list out my top 5 departments based on size, location, commute etc unless you want to move your family. Look on here for each department you are interested in to find more information out. With the top 3, reach out to the departments and ask to speak with the recruiter. Ask them what makes their department a great place to work, benefits, upward mobility, special assignments, and what they look for in a recruit. They may say military special forces muscle head and if that's not you why apply? Some departments are smaller where the initiating officer is the one following up doing investigative work instead of a detective. Other departments are very established like Douglas vs Aurora. Douglas you'll have to have 7 years before getting promoted or put on a special assignment vs Aurora is half that. What do you want to do 5-7 years in? If you want to be a detective or on a tactical team a small department isn't the right move. Do a ride along and ask specific questions about the department but take it with a grain of salt. The recruiter will obviously say the best things about the department and the ride along or info you read here may be negative. Unless multiple people say avoid a department your probably safe applying if its your top choice.

    Recruits get fired, quit, or transfer during probation for a number of reasons. Could be your a liability in that your FTO thinks you'll make a dumb decision and get the department sued. You could be Johnny all star cop and have a horrific first day that turns you off immediately.
    A friend of mine pulled his gun twice his first week, one of the times on a kid who was a member of the surenos. He transferred that weekend because he couldn't handle shooting a minor. You don't really know how you'll react until your in the situation. My uncle had to help pick up body parts when two planes collided in the Dallas Texas area a week out of the academy and saw a baby girl with a nook in her mouth but her head was decapitated and he had a new born daughter. I had the pleasure of extracting a feces covered crazy lady from her cell my 2nd day of Pods. Once you graduate even though your a rookie you are still expected to fulfill your duties as a duly sworn peace officer.

    If you pay attention in the academy, talk with your fto about things you struggle with or have questions about you should be squared away. I would go over in detail my daily observations from the day before and get advice on how to correct it. I had trouble being in the jail, but some people love it. I still talk and joke with my old coworkers about incidents and detainees.

    Learn how to communicate, write reports that's #1.
    Learn how to fight, because the defensive tactics fade away and you can't talk everyone into going to jail
    Learn how to shoot because even though you may never use it the one time you do it'll be over in a second and you don't rise to the occasion, you fall on your training.
    Be the guy others want backing them up, not an out of shape slacker looking for a paycheck.

    In any interaction it goes Ask, Tell, Make.

    Hope your staying safe!
    -Dave

    Comment


    • Iamkre8
      Iamkre8 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for tips/advice I really appreciate it. Pretty cool you mentioned aurora. That's actually one of the departments I went for. Detective is the goal I'm after. So I'll keep that in mind when looking at different departments. One small department I went for one of their recruiters stated that patrol officers do a lot of their own investigations and detective work because of how small they are. I've done a ride along with aurora and I really enjoyed it. I really want to start off in patrol but if I have to go as jail deputy somewhere first then patrol I'm open to that also.

  • #6
    I would caution anyone looking to get into the field against the 'shotgun' approach to hiring. I get it...when we choose law enforcement as a career we all want to do the job NOW and the extended hiring processes common in law enforcement can be really frustrating. More so if you have a top choice agency that only runs 1-2 hiring processes a year. So a lot of people blast out the applications everywhere, in the hope that something will stick. From what I've seen, doing that results in a higher likelihood of landing with a department that's not a great fit, and could result in an unfulfilling experience.

    Start with some self-reflection: What's most important to your personal happiness? Better pay? Opportunities for advancement? Special unit work? Once you have a good idea of what you feel you want, then do your research and develop that handful of agencies you feel will be the best fit for you, long-term.

    In my particular situation, I'd worked long enough in the area as a part-timer to get a decent feel for which departments I felt were a match...and those that definitely were not. I identified my top choice, and then began talking to people I knew at the department. I bought lunches for a lot of people so I could pick their brains about what they were looking for. I did what I could to prepare for the application process and, after I felt really prepared, I applied.

    I didn't make it past the first stage.

    No problem, I've overcome failure before. They opened up another process within a few weeks and I re-applied. I did more research, talked to more people at the agency, prepared even harder...and got bounced again.

    So then I started doubting whether that agency was as good a fit as both I and many people I knew that worked there felt it would be. I applied a 3rd time, but I also began the process with my #2 & #3 choices.

    Fast forward 6 months: I was placed on the approved-to-hire list for an anticipated opening with my #3 choice. I had competing offers of employment from #1 & #2. I chose #1.

    They way I did it may not work for everyone, but I will say -- even after several years -- I'm the happiest I've ever been in my entire working life.

    Comment


    • Iamkre8
      Iamkre8 commented
      Editing a comment
      That's actually what I did basically in fear of not getting something. But I stepped out on Faith and thought it was a good idea to have a few different applications in the pipeline with a few different departments. I didn't really assess the sizes of the department I just went after who was hiring that I qualify for. I'm learning as I go to be slightly more selective as I go forward. To me opportunities for advancement, benefits, special unit assignments, pay, work life balance, retirement are all important to me

  • #7
    Did some testing for another agency this past week located on the Western slope of Colorado. I really like atmosphere and the people that I met at the departmentment

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    • #8
      I don't really have much to offer as I am just a candidate myself, but I really want to wish you the best of luck on your journey!!

      Comment


      • Iamkre8
        Iamkre8 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you. How is that working out for you? Where have you applied? Any word back on anything etc etc

      • KG0719
        KG0719 commented
        Editing a comment
        My journey is going okay, I've done way more applications then I wish I would have! I just passed an appeal for my dream department and I'm in the running for about 3 or 4 other ones. I've done tons of applications that just haven't started the process yet. It's a lot to juggle sometimes haha. I'm like you and wanting to move out of state so you get how much more difficult that makes things!

    • #9
      KG0719

      Good luck man I hope something comes through for you. I did the same thing. I put in a bunch of apps within Colorado and out of state. I think I put in way more than
      I needed to. Some departments haven't even started the process and I'm in backgrounds for one department and waiting on the psych results for another. I have about 3 or 4 other departments in the pipeline. I'm just trying to get in where I fit in.
      Last edited by Iamkre8; 05-30-2020, 10:58 PM.

      Comment


      • #10
        I went for one department located in the Western slope and after a week of testing and after making to it the psychological test (almost 800 questions) I wasn't referred to move along. Still in the running for a few Denver metro area departments. Already in backgrounds for the one I really want!

        Comment


        • FrontRangeCop
          FrontRangeCop commented
          Editing a comment
          If you're having trouble at mid-size and larger agencies I would try going after smaller ones. Smaller agencies are actually much much easier to get your foot in the door. Look at Erie, Commerce City, Lafayette, Wheat Ridge, ect. Even easier than those would be more rural lesser paying agencies like Ft. Morgan, Alamosa, Elbert County, ect. You may very well have to get your foot in the door in one of these departments before a big metro agency will hire you. Although once in, if you keep your jacket clean, its much easier to get on at a bigger department.

      • #11
        FrontRangeCop thank you for the insight I really appreciate it. I'll look into those if this Denver metro area department doesn't pan out. I'm praying that it does however. The department on the Western slope was Grand Junction. They only had 5 slots available this cycle. It was a great experience testing with them and meeting some of the officers. However I guess it wasn't meant to be lol. Unfortunately I think most of the departments you mentioned require the applicant to already be post certified. Which I may put my self through if need be. I'm just trying to get my foot in the door and go from there.

        Comment

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