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  • (S)Sgt Elmer
    replied
    Originally posted by SRT936 View Post
    The majority of departments prefer to see well rounded, educated candidates. Very few of the people that work with me have degrees in law enforcement or criminal justice. Some of the guys I work with have degrees in chemistry, biology, computer science, and fire science.

    Personally, when I look at a application, I'm looking for a candidate that has some world experience outside of the LE world. It gives you an officer that can apply a new look at a problem. Honestly, the college degree is more an indication that you are capable of dedicating yourself to a course of action and prevail.
    I have heard more than a few senior police officers with the same view as SRTs.

    I would say go to school for something you enjoy and will do well at - it is your safety net should LE not work out and you'll do better anyway.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jdub
    replied
    Hey all, I love all the advice in this thread. I'll give yall a slight run down of my experiences, trying to get into LE in WI and everywhere else. I love LE, ever since the age of 15. It was just something about LE that intriged me so much. Anyway, here goes, so bare with me lol.

    I went to UW-Milwaukee and got my BS in Criminal Justice. I really enjoyed the clases and did a internship with the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office(which was awesome, they showed me what LE was all about, woke me up lol). As some one else stated I majored in CJ because I had a passion for it and actually really wanted to go to class. I agree with SRT. You can get a degree in anything but if you don't have some experience and don't present yourself right then no one will hire you. Plus, you have to pass all the tests, so having the degree will be pointless if you can't pass all the tests. But again, going to school and getting your degree is a plus, it will open doors for you.

    Ok trying to get into LE in WI IS VERY HARD!!! Now, I tested for Milwaukee PD(GOT DQ'ed for something soooo petty, my out of state background investigator talked with Milwaukee PD and came out laughing. He was like "they DQ'ed you for this?" I was like yup can you believe that.), Madison PD, Wauwatosa PD, Waukesha County, Brown Deer PD and hmmmm I think thats it. I didn't get DQ'ed from none of those PD's, it was just soooo many ppl had way more experience than me and most were certified. I was a kid fresh out of college so.

    Sooooooo, I went looking out of state. Chicago PD(Been on hiring list since 2005 lol, it was just taking way tooo long). Applied to Houston, Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Phoenix PD's. Houston called me first and I went down there and did the testing. They gave me a tour of Houston and treated me like I was king(I guess its suppose to be like that since they are recruiting) but the ppl down here are soooo nice, very different than up north. Anyway, to make a long story short, I got hired with Houston PD and made the move. It was one of the best decisions I made in my life. You can live anywhere in the state of texas as long as you get to work, you can have as many extra side jobs as you want, you can be a courtesy officer(free or discount rent at an apt complex), and there are OT programs and court time. Like any where else its not perfect but I love going to work everyday because its always different and once you get your time on in the street you can move around the department.

    Finally, I would say that its a journey trying to get into LE. I thought I was going to come out of college and just get a LE job, but it does not work like that. You have to be patient and remember, EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON. If I didn't get DQ'ed from Milw PD and had such a tough time trying to get into LE, I would never be where I am at today!! Oh one more thing, I'm almost done getting my masters in business managment and will then take a break from school and then get my Ph D. And yes the department is paying for my education but it is tough trying to juggle school and work.
    Last edited by Jdub; 11-06-2009, 01:03 AM. Reason: School info at end

    Leave a comment:


  • SRT936
    replied
    Originally posted by JTBanks View Post
    Say someone gets a degree in Real estate, and then attends academy do you really think a department will hire him? I have a friend who is studying crimminal justice at Madison College and he says you don't stand a chance getting in the field unless you have a LE degree. I don't believe him, but I just don't want to be stuck in a bind.
    The majority of departments prefer to see well rounded, educated candidates. Very few of the people that work with me have degrees in law enforcement or criminal justice. Some of the guys I work with have degrees in chemistry, biology, computer science, and fire science.

    Personally, when I look at a application, I'm looking for a candidate that has some world experience outside of the LE world. It gives you an officer that can apply a new look at a problem. Honestly, the college degree is more an indication that you are capable of dedicating yourself to a course of action and prevail.

    Leave a comment:


  • lefuture
    replied
    In reality... only a small amount of people that graduate college actually go into their major anyways(unless it is specialized: Engineering etc.). I know cops with degrees in CJ, Business and Finance. I know a Financial Adviser that has a degree in history. My friend graduated from the University of Idaho with a degree in Criminal Justice and he works as a sales-rep for a big business and does really well (He took CJ as a prep for Law School and decided not to go). All in all.. most degrees are versatile because it provides an employer with the aspect that you are dedicated and trainable. I agree with Jason about the aspect of going to school and studying about something you love and are passionate about .... after all, your diploma is a piece of paper that will give you the "possibility" of an interview, after that, it's all on your shoulders and how you present yourself. Good luck!!

    Leave a comment:


  • JTBanks
    replied
    Great advice Jason!

    Thanks!

    Leave a comment:


  • JasonT80
    replied
    My theory is that you should go to school for something that you are passionate about and actually love going to school for. I look forward to my police classes, home work and projects. It is easy for me to understand, relate to, and be able to master.

    I don't think I'd feel the same if I was writing fiction novels every class, crunching advanced math, writing speeches, or studying botany to get a degree in one of those related fields. That's not the challenge I'm looking for. In the end, what does one of those degrees get me? Nothing really.

    Aside from policing, a 2 or 4 year degree in CJ will pretty much open any door in retail loss prevention from store management all the way up the ladder to regional management and above. Great money there, 9-5, weekends off, free hotel and airline points, mileage, and essentially free meals. Lots of options!

    Leave a comment:


  • JTBanks
    replied
    Sgt. Elmer your advice is the best I've gotten so far. I want to be in law enforcement bad. I know that sounds cheesy but I love everything about, I know there's tons more to learn. This all based on ride alongs with my local sheriffs office.

    Say someone gets a degree in Real estate, and then attends academy do you really think a department will hire him? I have a friend who is studying crimminal justice at Madison College and he says you don't stand a chance getting in the field unless you have a LE degree. I don't believe him, but I just don't want to be stuck in a bind.


    Thanks for all your advice!

    Leave a comment:


  • lefuture
    replied
    I will be testing for Madison in January. I am currently a senior at Boise State University and i am going to graduate in May. My bachelor's is in Political Science with an emphasis on Public Administration and Public Policy and my Associates is in Criminal Justice. I plan on getting my masters in Public Administration while working as a Law Enforcement Officer.
    Last edited by lefuture; 11-02-2009, 09:42 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • (S)Sgt Elmer
    replied
    Originally posted by miltownsrt6 View Post
    I went to MATC (in Oak Creek) and went on to be hired an an LEO.

    Don't know why someone would advise you against it.
    It's not that I advise against it, I should have been more precise.

    I DO think the 2 year degree is way better than any 12 week recruit school. You learn more and are better prepared.

    BUT - and here's the point I missed - that degree isn't worth squat if you're trying to get other work outside of LE. It's a sad fact that a lot of the graduates, heck probably most of the graduates of Criminal Justice programs don't become cops. Don't get discouraged by this - just know to work even HARDER and you'll make it. I'm speaking from painful experience here, just so you know.

    In my case, I'm a Reserve Deputy, so I need full time work in addition to LE. No problem, I'm a computer geek. But no one will look at me - my education and experience is too limited for them. I have TWO associates degrees, and neither of them is good for anything but LE or security. So back to school I go.

    I'm not complaining, it is what it is.

    Like I told my nephew recently, it's about options. Keep going after that two year and get a degree in something else other than LE. It'll protect you in the long run. And it won't hurt one bit when you are sitting in front of a hiring board either.

    Leave a comment:


  • miltownsrt6
    replied
    I went to MATC (in Oak Creek) and went on to be hired an an LEO.

    Don't know why someone would advise you against it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guams
    replied
    JT;

    I have a bachelors in Natural Resource Management. Has nothing to do with LE... although my minor was in Environmental Law Enforcement and... that does. I got that at UW - Stevens Point

    That said, I went through the academy at Mid-State Technical College based out of Wisconsin Rapids. It was actually required to get my minor, too. They put on a good program with some darn good instructors.

    Also, a degree in anything is better than no degree. With a degree you'll bump yourself up in the list quite a bit. But you'll still have to fight to get a job in Wisconsin since the competition is so tough.

    Leave a comment:


  • JTBanks
    replied
    Thanks, SSGT Elmer. I'm hoping to get into a jailer job so that way I have some experience working for the county when a deputy position comes available.


    JT

    Leave a comment:


  • (S)Sgt Elmer
    replied
    Great posts Ray. Remember, those are MINIMUM qualifications to get your application considered. They will do next to nothing to get you hired, real world. The guy next to you probably has a BA or BS plus experience of some sort - that's how you need to be thinking when you apply.

    That's why a BA or BS is so powerful. And in something other than Law Enforcement because I am here to tell you, it is VERY hard to get hired on full time. Heck, it's very hard to get hired on part time. Besides that, there's life outside of the job too - though that is hard to fathom when you're first starting out!

    As far as your question, I did my 2 year degree at Fox Valley Tech in Appleton, and then did the recertification course at Northeast Wisconsin Tech in Green Bay. Both were excellent programs.

    Leave a comment:


  • ray55
    replied
    Originally posted by JTBanks View Post
    Ray,
    Thanks for the message. I agree about the 401K. Now you say I should get a bachelors in something else. If I have a bachelors in architecture, something I've also had a passion for could I still be an officer?

    Say I apply at department X. I have a degree in Architecture bachelors to be exact. Wont they overlook me because my degree isn't LE?
    I suppose that depends on how your application looks, personal history, any testing, answers to interview questions, how you present yourself and a specific departments ideas on education. While I don't know much about Madison PD, I do know from looking at their hiring info several years back they were interested in people with various backgrounds to add to diverse ideas and points of view. Could you be passed over because of a less "main stream" degee, I suppose but I think your chances of getting hired are just as good simply because you have a degree. Many job annoucements read a degree in police science, criminal justice or closely related field. If you were interviewing candidates what questions would you ask of someone who has a degree in Architecture and why they are pursuing LE? How can you relate an education in architecture to law enforcement? Are you able to minor your Arch. degree with business minor (someting close to LE)? I work with a couple of guys who have no specific degree but are well over 60 credits. Simply put, you just have to have 60 credits to make the State minimum standard. You just have to explain why you haven't finished a degree.

    From WILENET regarding education:
    https://wilenet.org/html/career/wanemplstds.pdf

    This says nothing about a specific course of study...

    • Law enforcement or tribal law enforcement officers employed after February 1, 1993, shall possess either a 2 year associate degree from a Wisconsin technical college system district or its accredited equivalent from another state or a minimum of 60 fully accredited college level credits. Only colleges and universities that are accredited by an accrediting agency or association that is acknowledged by the United States Secretary of Education are acceptable to the Law Enforcement Standards Board as a source of college credit. School accreditation can be checked at the following U.S. Department of Education website: http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/. An applicant who has not met this standard at the time of employment must meet the standard by the end of their fifth year of employment. Applicants for employment as jail and/or secure detention officers need only possess a high school diploma or its equivalent.

    Looking over the current job annoucements here is a random sampling of the educational requirements of the named departments:

    Appleton: minimum 60 semester credits at an approved university, college or technical school

    Baraboo: High school diploma; 60 college credits;

    Eau Claire: High school diploma; 60 college credits;

    Platteville: High school diploma; Bachelor degree;

    Milwaukee PD & Kenosha PD: High school diploma; (of course you'll have to have those 60 credits w/in 5 years or you'll lose your certification)

    Menasha Twp: High school diploma; 60 college credits;

    Of the current departments that are hiring, if any of them interest you, call around and talk to the HR or those responsible for hiring asking if your architecture degree will be acceptable and that will be your answer. ( I guess I could have said that and elminated the rest of the stuff)
    Last edited by ray55; 09-11-2009, 06:32 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • JTBanks
    replied
    Ray,
    Thanks for the message. I agree about the 401K. Now you say I should get a bachelors in something else. If I have a bachelors in architecture, something I've also had a passion for could I still be an officer?

    Say I apply at department X. I have a degree in Architecture bachelors to be exact. Wont they overlook me because my degree isn't LE?

    Leave a comment:

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