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Looking for some insight regarding different Florida Departments


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  • Looking for some insight regarding different Florida Departments

    I currently work as an LEO in Georgia but I would like to relocate to Florida. I'm currently interested in departments along or near the Gulf Coast from Clearwater down to Sarasota area. If officers with departments in that area could provide info regarding some of the things I'm going to list, I would appreciate it. I've read a lot of info from the city websites, but I'm looking for the "real" story behind some of the things I'm going to list.

    Department Moral
    Workload (Is it generally "slow" or is every shift balls to the wall busy)
    Shifts (Four 10s? 12 hour? 8 hour?)
    Court time and benefits from court
    Take home car program (Currently have one where I work and was told 2 years and you get a car and there are officers with 4 years experience without cars)
    Opportunities to advance beyond patrol (I don't think that you should just get into a job like detective after working just a year on the street, you need to put in your time, but how quickly do you have the option to put in for a specialty unit)
    Areas surrounding where you work (can you live close to where you work without being in a crap area or should you live farther way)

    If you could PM me and let me know what department you work for, and try to answer my questions, I would greatly appreciate it. Or you could just answer on the thread as well in case others have the same questions and can read this thread at a later time.
    Oh, I have not been with my department very long, as I'm still actually on probation. Most departments I've talked to require that I work 2 years sworn to bypass their degree requirements. I have had a few departments inform me that they will accept my prior 6 and a half years of Corrections experience.
    Last thing, I know this post is sort of all over the place, but I've looked into Tampa PD, St. Pete PD, Pinellas County SO, Sarasota County Sheriff, Clearwater PD, Sarasota PD, Venice PD, and Fort Lauderdale (I know that's not the Gulf side!) I'm looking for more information regarding these departments, or if there is another department that I should look into, I would appreciate the info. Thanks in advance and once again sorry for such a random/unorganized post!

  • #2
    My brother, looking to leave good ole Ga. Good luck. I would look into West Palm Beach Police and Palm Beach SO department. Very good pay. Take homes, and great retirement. Also the off-duty gigs pay well. Also look into Sunrise PD. Same perks. Good luck 269 top WR. lol inside joke.


    • #3
      Last edited by JediWarrior; 07-29-2014, 05:05 PM.


      • #4
        Well that sounds....terrible haha


        • #5
          Check out this website it's rather useful.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Harshy View Post
            Last thing, I know this post is sort of all over the place, but I've looked into Tampa PD, St. Pete PD, Pinellas County SO, Sarasota County Sheriff, Clearwater PD, Sarasota PD, Venice PD, and Fort Lauderdale (I know that's not the Gulf side!)
            There are big differences between a lot of those agencies. I can't speak much about Ft. Lauderdale because I'm not in that area and don't know a lot about the agency. They do have good pay and benefits though from what I've heard.

            Out of the agencies that you listed in the Tampa Bay area, Tampa PD is going to be the best by a long shot in terms of pay and benefits. People from the all the other agencies you mentioned have left and gone to work for Tampa, so that should tell you something.

            St. Pete PD has its internal problems. Things got better for a while but now it seems like they're getting bad again. They are currently searching for a new chief, and whoever that is will probably determine the direction the department will go. Pay is similar to Clearwater, which is a good agency. Sarasota PD has had some issues in the past few years and I believe that there are some serious problems with the funding of their pension. Venice PD is pretty small and it's a much slower pace than at the larger agencies. Pinellas SO is a good agency but there are some serious problems with their compensation package. The sheriff is trying to change that and reinstitute their step pay plan. Also keep in mind that as a deputy you will be under FRS and not a municipal pension system, so you'll have to work 30 years to retire.

            Other than salaries and benefits, you also need to think about the type of place you'd like to work. It's a lot different working for a 1,000 officer agency than a 50 person agency. It's also a lot different doing police work in south St. Pete or east Tampa than it is in Venice. They are totally different areas with different crime rates, call volumes, and agency dynamics.

            Hillsborough SO wasn't on your list and should be another agency to consider. Pay and benefits are almost as good as at Tampa PD, but the only issue you may have is that they require everyone to go through the entire academy again. There's no EOT with them.


            • #7
              Yeah, it may sound bad but I've gone through two different police academies so that takes away any interest I have in Hillsborough SO. I've heard good things about that agency for sure.

              I know there is a difference in what type of work you'll be doing in the departments I listed and I suppose it doesn't matter if I work at a face paced, high crime department like Tampa or a smaller slower agency, although I like patrol now but who's to say I won't want a change of pace at some point and it will be harder to fulfill at a smaller agency.

              I definitely don't wanna have to work 30 years for retirement, So I guess that cuts out the SOs. Thats part of the reason I'm trying to leave my current agency.

              Tampa, can you give me any insight about living in Tampa? That may be the biggest drawback from trying to work there. I get the feeling that it can be kind of a crappy place to live, and that's from a few people that are from there. Of course, I've never really been there besides the airport, so I of course have no idea.


              • #8
                Have you thought about trying the Federal LEO realm? There's a US Park Police Vacancy for D.C., San Francisco and New York. If you're looking at retirements... it's the federal system, so you could potentially transition careers / relocate and still retain a federal retirement.


                • #9
                  Most TPD officers don't live in Tampa. You can take your take-home car to any adjacent county, which means you can live in St. Pete, Clearwater, Bradenton, Land O' Lakes, Wesley Chapel, Lakeland, etc. There are also plenty of good places to live in the unincorporated parts of Hillsborough County outside of the city limits.

                  Don't get me wrong, there are still nice parts of Tampa for a cop to live. South Tampa and New Tampa come to mind. South Tampa real estate prices are out of reach of the average cop unless you want either a very small house or a condo, but you can get a nice sized house in New Tamp or many other parts of Hillsborough County and live very comfortably on an officer's salary.


                  • #10
                    I know I put pay and retirement at the top of "the list" but those weren't put in any particular order. I wanna work someplace I'm gonna enjoy and be happy, and you could make all the money in the world and still not be happy at your job.


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