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  • Starting From Square One

    I live in Nashville and have zero experience in law enforcement, but I have a huge interest and a great desire to be a police officer.

    I'm 21 years old. I graduated high school in 2010 and have done two years of college. Unfortunately, my job history has been pretty spotty since then. Technical director at two churches, beach service, landscaping, film internship, marketing company, self employed as a graphic designer, and now about to start waiting tables for extra cash. I've spent a lot of time figuring out what I want to do with my life, but I finally landed into a passion for law enforcement. However, I feel as this will reflect poorly on any background investigation. It seems flighty.

    I know it's extremely hard to get hired as it is, and especially so with zero experience and spotty work history. There's nothing I can do about the past, so I'm looking for advice on how to get my foot in the door as a police officer.

    Ultimately I would like to work for Metro Nashville, but does anyone have any suggestions on departments in the area that are hiring and are willing to hire the less experienced?

    Suggestions? Any advice is good advice, but please keep it constructive. I'd even be interested in having a LEO mentor in the Nashville area, if that's not weird and someone would be interested. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to be a police officer.
    Last edited by Mr Trevor; 06-10-2014, 09:41 PM. Reason: clarity

  • #2
    When you use the phrase 'spotty' to describe your work history, you need to be more specific. Having a variety of jobs (which provide some life-experiences) in and of itself, is not necessarily a terrible thing. That having been said, how many of these previous employers will give you a good recommendation? How many did you rage-quit? How many did you just quit showing up for? How many were you 'released', 'discharged', 'fired', 'terminated' or 'let go', etc. from?

    I could easily explain away my five or six jobs from age 16 to 21 due to conflicting class schedules, family obligations, temporary work, better opportunities, etc. The former employers will receive a visit (at the least, a telephone call) from a background investigator. The BI will ask them certain questions; IF their answers line up with what you have on your background questionaire, you shouldn't have a huge problem. Conversely, if the first two or three former employers put the mouth on you, Game Over!

    BTW, when you come to this board and ask the members for their input on your situation, limiting it to 'keep it constructive' can mean a lot of things. You are going to get what you are going to get; you can't dictate terms.

    Last edited by slamdunc; 06-11-2014, 03:41 AM.
    “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

    Miyamoto Musashi

    “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

    George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

    Comment


    • #3
      I suggest you first ask in advance, and then with appointment go in person presentably to this man: Nashville Police Chief. He will set you straight. He is kind and he is tough. Not necessarily in that order. Be honest with him and he'll deliberate and then decide.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Monty Ealerman View Post
        I suggest you first ask in advance, and then with appointment go in person presentably to this man: Nashville Police Chief. He will set you straight. He is kind and he is tough. Not necessarily in that order. Be honest with him and he'll deliberate and then decide.
        Im not real sure what visiting Chief Anderson will get you, but hell, I guess its worth a shot.

        As for your dreams, I say chase them and dont settle for less. When I came back to Nashville with the intentions of working for Metro, I had many people tell me, "Apply multiple places because you might not make it to Metro on the first go around". In my opinion, thats bad advice. If your deadset on Metro, then make it happen. Right now is probably one of the best times to become a Nashville Officer. The department is hiring like crazy and believe it or not, they are having a hard time finding officers that meet the standard. Having no LE experience doesnt matter. Hell, I think they almost prefer that, because you come into the academy as a blank easel that they can mold as they want. If you say, get hired with Franklin PD, your going to goto TLETA, work there for 2 years, then turn around and goto Metro's 6month academy. Thats feasible and lots of people do that, but like I said, if Metro is really what you want, then go for it. Be honest and up front like slam said, tell them if you quit or had a problem with your boss or whatever. If you have the 60 hours of college, then the 5 years of work experience doesnt matter. If your looking for some kind of relevant experience, join the National Guard as an MP. Make some money, get your school paid for, become a veteran (Vets Preference is nice) ect ect ect. Lots of opportunities out there.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by slamdunc View Post
          When you use the phrase 'spotty' to describe your work history, you need to be more specific. Having a variety of jobs (which provide some life-experiences) in and of itself, is not necessarily a terrible thing. That having been said, how many of these previous employers will give you a good recommendation? How many did you rage-quit? How many did you just quit showing up for? How many were you 'released', 'discharged', 'fired', 'terminated' or 'let go', etc. from?

          I could easily explain away my five or six jobs from age 16 to 21 due to conflicting class schedules, family obligations, temporary work, better opportunities, etc. The former employers will receive a visit (at the least, a telephone call) from a background investigator. The BI will ask them certain questions; IF their answers line up with what you have on your background questionaire, you shouldn't have a huge problem. Conversely, if the first two or three former employers put the mouth on you, Game Over!

          BTW, when you come to this board and ask the members for their input on your situation, limiting it to 'keep it constructive' can mean a lot of things. You are going to get what you are going to get; you can't dictate terms.
          Yes... With a few of the jobs, I didn't leave in the best of terms. I was very immature at the time and going through some stuff. I'm thinking of calling a couple old bosses and explaining that I know I messed up with them, and pleading with them to not necessarily say anything nice, but to not say anything to bad. I realize that I'm not owed that, but maybe owning up to that immaturity may do some good with them.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Monty Ealerman View Post
            I suggest you first ask in advance, and then with appointment go in person presentably to this man: Nashville Police Chief. He will set you straight. He is kind and he is tough. Not necessarily in that order. Be honest with him and he'll deliberate and then decide.
            Thanks for the suggestion! I'll do that. I wasn't sure if it was bad form to go straight to the Chief for hiring matters.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Eddiebauer86 View Post
              Im not real sure what visiting Chief Anderson will get you, but hell, I guess its worth a shot.

              As for your dreams, I say chase them and dont settle for less. When I came back to Nashville with the intentions of working for Metro, I had many people tell me, "Apply multiple places because you might not make it to Metro on the first go around". In my opinion, thats bad advice. If your deadset on Metro, then make it happen. Right now is probably one of the best times to become a Nashville Officer. The department is hiring like crazy and believe it or not, they are having a hard time finding officers that meet the standard. Having no LE experience doesnt matter. Hell, I think they almost prefer that, because you come into the academy as a blank easel that they can mold as they want. If you say, get hired with Franklin PD, your going to goto TLETA, work there for 2 years, then turn around and goto Metro's 6month academy. Thats feasible and lots of people do that, but like I said, if Metro is really what you want, then go for it. Be honest and up front like slam said, tell them if you quit or had a problem with your boss or whatever. If you have the 60 hours of college, then the 5 years of work experience doesnt matter. If your looking for some kind of relevant experience, join the National Guard as an MP. Make some money, get your school paid for, become a veteran (Vets Preference is nice) ect ect ect. Lots of opportunities out there.
              Thank's for the advice, sir. Would you advise against applying for Nolensville and Springfield (they are currently hiring) as well? I know nothing about which academy they go to, or their contract terms. But like I said, and like you mentioned, Metro is my ideal. But I'll do what it takes to get there.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mr Trevor View Post
                Thanks for the suggestion! I'll do that. I wasn't sure if it was bad form to go straight to the Chief for hiring matters.
                Monty was being sarcastic. That would likely be a bad game-plan.

                “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

                Miyamoto Musashi

                “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

                George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by slamdunc View Post
                  Monty was being sarcastic. That would likely be a bad game-plan.
                  Dang, my sarcasm detection failed me there. I thought it seemed like bad form!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    So far I've gathered that:
                    - LE experience pretty much doesn't matter.
                    - Be sure to own up to everything beforehand.
                    - Talking to the Chief is a no-no.
                    - Go for my dreams of Metro.

                    Any other suggestions?

                    I'm also planning on taking language classes at TFLI to become fluent in Spanish. I already know a bit (Panamanian blood in me), but I'm nowhere near fluent. I think that would help me serve certain areas of the city better.
                    Last edited by Mr Trevor; 06-13-2014, 03:39 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If you were fluent in spanish that is a big plus. As you well know, the spanish speaking community is on the rise in a big way. Right now Metro doesnt pay anything extra for language ability but that could change and regardless it looks really good on your resume.

                      Im not telling you not to apply for other agencies, but just keep what I said in mind. Do you wanna get down the road a few years with another agency, only to jump ship and have to go all the way back through the academy all over again. If anything, I would say go be a reserve/auxiliary officer somewhere for free and make sure it really is what you wanna do.

                      Statisticlly you have a better shot at getting hired by Metro than any other agency. Metro hires around 100 officers a year, where most of your smaller departments only hire a few officers here and there as they have vacancies. Not to say you might not luck up on one of those other departments, but again, do you wanna get 5 years on then have to go start back over as a rookie again.

                      Im only saying look long term here. As long as you dont have any criminal convictions and you can pass the tests and interview, you have a very good shot at getting picked up by Metro, its just a very long and tedious process. Sometimes you dont get hired the first time, lots of people have had to apply multiple times before they get hired (and had to do the academy multiple times too). You just have to ask yourself, where do you want to be,

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        EddieBauer, sorry just now seeing this. Thanks for the advice!

                        I have applied for Metro, and am putting all of my eggs in that basket. I am not in a big hurry to get hired on (obviously the sooner the better though) and if I got hired on somewhere else, I would have every intention of working for MNPD.

                        I figure, if I'm not in a hurry, I might as well just do it right the first time. Plus, I'd still have to go to Metro's academy and hiring process no matter what.

                        Thanks! Looking forward to the possibility of joining the team.

                        Comment

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