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  • Viability as an applicant?

    Hey all,

    I will be turning 20 in a month and will have my 60 (actually 68) credit hours at the end of this spring semester. It will take another 4 week summer class before I can satisfy the requirements for my AA degree. I have taken criminal justice courses as well as other gen-ed courses, though my degree would not be LE/CJ specific; it'd just be an AA. Overall GPA is around the 3.5-3.6 mark. I'm currently working on transferring to a 4-year university to major in chemistry.

    As far as my background goes, I haven't had much (bad) contact with police. The only thing on my record is a speeding ticket I got roughly a year ago - 20 over. It was a rural highway that went from a 55 to a 35 and I wasn't paying attention. I received supervision and completed the online traffic course. Other than that, no arrests, no drug use.

    Due to me being in school, my job history is kind of spotty: it'll be like 2 months working, a couple more not working, 7 months working, 3 months not working, etc. This, I have to admit, is my biggest concern. I'm sure that my employers would give me positive reviews; as far as I knew, they liked me when I worked there and was not terminated. I also volunteer once a week at a local homeless shelter/day center accepting and inventorying donations.

    I don't know how in demand, if at all, this would be in Wisconsin, but I am also fluent in Russian.

    I have not completed any kind of academy to be LESB certified.

    Please give me your input on how you think I would do if I applied at a department. I do want a career in LE, so if I'm not a good candidate, what could I do to make myself a better candidate?

  • #2
    Forgot to include this: I have no credit issues; I have never been late with payments, so my credit score should be up there.

    Comment


    • #3
      There are two issues here, your background and your ability to perform the duties of the job you are seeking.

      First the background. The purpose of the background is to verify your identity, confirm that you possess the minimum requirements necessary for the job (they will be on the exam announcement), and to determine if there is anything in your personal history that meets the criteria for disqualification. There is no weighing of good against bad. The fact that an applicant saved 10 orphans from a burning fire doesn’t cancel out the time he sold dope in college. If you meet the DQ criteria you are gone. I can’t comment on the first two issues but based on what you’ve posted, I don’t see anything in the DQ category.

      Next, your ability to perform the duties of the job will be measured by the number of correct answers you give to job related questions on the written exam for the position you are seeking. You will also be scored on your response to an oral panel. More than likely the oral panel will focus on the following:

      Experience – assesses your ability and experience in accepting responsibilities and performing assigned tasks as demonstrated through achievements in work, school, and other activities.

      Problem Solving – assesses your reasoning skills in developing timely, logical responses to a wide variety of situations and problems.

      Communication Skills – assesses your oral communications skills, which includes speaking, listening, and non-verbal communication.

      Interest/Motivation – addresses your interest in and preparedness for the peace officer job. It includes an assessment of your general level of interest, initiative, and goal orientation.

      Interpersonal Skills – assesses many facets, such as social knowledge/appropriateness, social insight, empathy, social influence, social self-regulation, sociability, team orientation, social self-confidence, conflict management skills, and negotiating skills.

      Community Involvement/Awareness – focuses specifically on your experiences and interest in community issues, as well as your interest in and ability to fill multiple roles and serve a diverse community.

      Many departments give preference to applicants who have pout themselves through an academy. You will need to check with the agency you are applying with and determine if that is the case. If so, you must weigh the cost, time and risk of putting yourself through at your own expense.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

      Comment


      • #4
        Most departments won't look at you till you are at least 21. Even then a lot are looking for people with extensive life experience. If you make what you have seem like such.. give it a run.
        "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."

        "When you get to the point were all you want to do is be successful as bad as you need to breath, that is when you will be successful"

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by L-1 View Post
          There are two issues here, your background and your ability to perform the duties of the job you are seeking.

          First the background. The purpose of the background is to verify your identity, confirm that you possess the minimum requirements necessary for the job (they will be on the exam announcement), and to determine if there is anything in your personal history that meets the criteria for disqualification. There is no weighing of good against bad. The fact that an applicant saved 10 orphans from a burning fire doesn’t cancel out the time he sold dope in college. If you meet the DQ criteria you are gone. I can’t comment on the first two issues but based on what you’ve posted, I don’t see anything in the DQ category.

          Next, your ability to perform the duties of the job will be measured by the number of correct answers you give to job related questions on the written exam for the position you are seeking. You will also be scored on your response to an oral panel. More than likely the oral panel will focus on the following:

          Experience – assesses your ability and experience in accepting responsibilities and performing assigned tasks as demonstrated through achievements in work, school, and other activities.

          Problem Solving – assesses your reasoning skills in developing timely, logical responses to a wide variety of situations and problems.

          Communication Skills – assesses your oral communications skills, which includes speaking, listening, and non-verbal communication.

          Interest/Motivation – addresses your interest in and preparedness for the peace officer job. It includes an assessment of your general level of interest, initiative, and goal orientation.

          Interpersonal Skills – assesses many facets, such as social knowledge/appropriateness, social insight, empathy, social influence, social self-regulation, sociability, team orientation, social self-confidence, conflict management skills, and negotiating skills.

          Community Involvement/Awareness – focuses specifically on your experiences and interest in community issues, as well as your interest in and ability to fill multiple roles and serve a diverse community.

          Many departments give preference to applicants who have pout themselves through an academy. You will need to check with the agency you are applying with and determine if that is the case. If so, you must weigh the cost, time and risk of putting yourself through at your own expense.
          Originally posted by 2b1ask1 View Post
          Most departments won't look at you till you are at least 21. Even then a lot are looking for people with extensive life experience. If you make what you have seem like such.. give it a run.
          Cool. I'll wait another year to apply then. From checking WILENET and The Blue Line (IL), most departments make 21 the minimum age requirement.

          What about my qualifications? Would I look like an average applicant? Below average? Slightly above average?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by dyz4035 View Post
            What about my qualifications? Would I look like an average applicant? Below average? Slightly above average?
            As I tried to explain in my first post, your qualifications are measured by your written and oral scores. That’s it.

            You discussed five things: education; personal history (traffic citations, jobs, arrests, drug use); work history; language skills; and no academy. Let’s go over them again.

            Education
            Every department has minimum educational requirements for admission to the testing process. (Pass/Fail) It would appear you meet the minimum qualifications for admission to the testing process. There is no extra credit for exceeding the educational requirements or for having a degree in one subject over another. I only know of one or two departments in the US who require a certain GPA as a minimum requirement for the job.

            Personal History
            This is not a qualification – it is a background issue. I see nothing here that would DQ you during the background.

            Work History
            Again, this is not a qualification – it is a background issue. It is not unusual for a student to have multiple part time jobs. Assuming your employers give good references and there were valid reasons for leaving, I do not see this as a DQ factor on the background.

            Second Language
            Speaking a second language may add an extra point to your oral score if there is a demand for than skill in your community, otherwise it’s just something nice to have.

            No Academy
            Most departments give preference to applicants who have put themselves through an academy. The fact that you have not done so can hurt your chances. If there is a choice between hiring you and an academy trained applicant (saving the department $50,000 in salary, academy and equipment costs) who do you think they will pick?

            You will be evaluated based solely on your written and oral scores. The written will ask you job related questions that measure your ability to perform the job you are seeking. The more correct answers you give, the higher your score. The oral will focus on the areas I previously listed. Look at what you call qualifications and tell me how they will help you score in those areas.

            Getting hired is not a matter of making yourself look good. Anyone can spray paint a t*rd with gold paint. It is matter of demonstrating you are capable of actually doing the job.

            When a department tests to fill vacancies they publish an exam announcement. Hidden in the fine print of that announcement they usually tell you exactly what areas they will test you on. No one bothers to read the fine print. If you want a leg up, read the fine print and study those areas so you are prepared for the exam.
            Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

            Comment


            • #7
              You are a run of the mill candidate. As for viability, there are so many factors that come into play that it would be virtually impossible for us to predict how you would stack up against the competition.
              Originally posted by SSD
              It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
              Originally posted by Iowa #1603
              And now you are arguing about not arguing..................

              Comment


              • #8
                Where you stand as an applicant is based on (1) meeting the minimum qualifications listed on WILENET, (2) how high you score on the initial written exam, (3) if advanced, how well you do at the interviews, and finally (4) your background.

                If you want to get hired as soon as possible, then I would suggest you pay your way through a police academy so that you are "certifiable". Many smaller departments prefer this, and some will require it (although not in writing). While in the academy make a solid reputation for yourself and make as many good contacts with instructors as possible. If they are in your corner your chances go up significantly. If needed, enhance your test taking skills through written or online practice tests. Same applies for your interviewing skills. Practice, practice, practice, until you can answer all the likely questions without hesitation.

                Good luck.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You've gotten excellent advice thus far. Litz's post is somewhat misleading. He is speaking of a standard hiring process where you apply, take the written test, interview(s), and then background. Many departments are moving away from that process due to time and cost. I can't remember the exact price, but departments have to pay for applicants to take the state test. If an applicant has already taken the state test, they still have to pay a lesser amount to use their score. When you have 150-250 applicants per opening, the cost can be very high.

                  The last couple hiring processes my department completed involved screening of applicants as the first step. Each application was assigned points based on a variety of factors. (Prior police experience, education, military experience, foreign language, etc) Our next step was the physical agility. We invited the top 50 based on screening of the applications. The physical agility test wasn't difficult. It was more about who was willing to show up and try. If you weren't even going to give it an effort, we don't want you working here. Everyone passed. We had 11 no-shows. Those remaining 39 took the test, and we interviewed the top 10.
                  "I assume you all have guns and crack."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the information, guys! As far as the academy goes, I understand what you're saying; we'll see how things work out and where life takes me - maybe I will move out to Wisconsin and pay my way through an academy, maybe I'll still live in IL (here, you have to get hired first, then you get sent to an academy by your department). It sounds like I still have at least another year before I can even apply, and even then I'm not expecting much. From reading through a multitude of posts on these forums in the last couple of years, I will definitely prepare for the interviews/oral boards when my time comes - that seems to be the biggest issue for applicants. One question about that, though: some departments are really small and don't put much information about themselves or their area of responsibility online. Should I call them for information about their department?

                    Comment

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