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  • from military LE to civilian LE

    i am definitely going to take ROTC. i dont want to make a career out of the military; at some point i want to be a civilian officer. naturally i have about a million questions.

    what is the difference between an enlisted MP and a officer MP? is the difference strictly in terms of the pay scale and/or what else..?

    how desirable (compared to other things) is military police training/experience? would it qualify you for lateral entry into most departments?

    airforce security forces or army MP? which is more desirable?

    thanks for your replies

  • #2
    I can only talk with experience from being a cop in the Air Force. Going into military law enforcement as an officer compared to as enlisted is a huge difference. If you want to get your hands dirty and actualy do the job, then enlisted is the best way. As an officer you will just supervise. For the first few years as an officer, you would most likely be assigned to a flight and technically be in charge of all the people under you, but there will also be an NCO or senior NCO (anywhere from a E-5 to a E-7) actually running the show seeing they actually know what's going on. Once an officer makes Capt, think 4 years or so after joining, you can plan on working behind a desk for the rest of your career. As enlisted, you can plan on doing the job until you either choose to put in for a desk job, or make enough rank where they kind of force you to, to assist with future career progression. Obviously, the pay is better for officers as well as the respect and all that.

    Depending on what exactly you do as a military cop will dictate if you can get your state academy waived. Just because you have gone through and academy and are a military cop, does not mean you will qualify. You will have to do atleast 1 year of strictly law enforcement work while in the military. In the Air Force, more and more of our law enforcement is getting contracted out and we doing more deployments and focusing on nuclear security. The only state I know off hand that may consider your military time is Florida, there might be a few others out there. Regardless, you won't be considered a lateral. You will be an entry level applicant with no experience, but may have your academy waived or shortened drastically.

    I would say go Air Force. Unless you like the Army, the Air Force is much more laid back and the facilities and everything are a million times better. As a cop in the Air Force, you will still get to "play Army" as they are slowly but surely trying to turn us more into an infantry type unit than cops. For the most part, the Air Force takes cares of their people very well, in the Army you kind of know what to expect, after all, their entire mission is to fight wars. The Air Force's mission is to protect the aircraft so they can bomb the **** out of stuff. 2 totally different life styles. Let me know if you have any other questions. I'm sure others will chime in.
    Last edited by Airforcop; 08-27-2005, 02:15 PM.
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    • #3
      so to make the civilian comparison, an AFSF officer would be equivilent to a lieutenant, not really doing much on the patrol side of things? i dont really want to be a desk jockey for 4+ years, and i want adequate law enforcement experience. i dont want to enlist, but i want to get my hands dirty, is basically it. will a commission allow me to do that in the military?

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      • #4
        I wouldn't for a second try and pursuade you from going officer. Your time in the military will be much more enjoyable as an officer. Truth told, you'd probably be more marketable having been an officer for 4 years than enlisted. Enlisted you might have a little more hands on experience, but the real world is much different than that of the military, so you'd have to learn all over again anyhow. Being an officer, you'll have a lot more leadership experience which will probably go a lot farther than a few years experience as an enlisted cop. For the most part, a new officer in the SF career field could dictate how much involvement they have. Most kind of sit back and let the Flight Sgt (E-5 to E-7) run things and they kind of work as the liason between the flight and the squadron. But being in charge, you certinaly have the freedom to be as involved as you want.

        I would probably equate a new officer to a Sgt on the road, minus the experience and knowledge if that makes any sense. Basically, they get invovled when needed or at their discretion. Certainly by the time you make Capt, you would be an equal of the LT is a civ agency where you're stuck behind a desk. I know many officers whom have had the opportunity to go through the FBI Academy, as well as a ton of other schools. Not sure that is something that would happen in a 4 year enlistment, but possible.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by gh0st
          i dont really want to be a desk jockey for 4+ years, and i want adequate law enforcement experience. i dont want to enlist, but i want to get my hands dirty, is basically it. will a commission allow me to do that in the military?
          Try the Coast Guard. Our Commissioned Officers, Warrant Officers, and Petty Officers are Federal L/E officers and conduct Maritime Boardings. The Coast Guard also has a few Police Departments around, the largest one is here in Kodiak, AK. We work very closely with the Alaska State Troopers, and every once and a while Kodiak Police Department. We enforce Federal, State, and Local laws as well as the UCMJ. Here in Kodiak you have a chance to go to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, and the Alaska State Trooper academy. How ever only the enlisted Boatswain's Mate and Gunner's Mates are Military Police Officers. Let me know if you want more info on the Coast Guard. One thing I forgot to mention is we have the power to arrest in the Coast Guard. At my CGPD we usually don't due to the fact its easier to let the state handle it.

          Joe
          Last edited by USCGjoker; 08-29-2005, 01:41 AM.

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          • #6
            hey ghost...

            I just seperated from the AF securiity forces career field a few months ago as a capt (officer if you are not familiar with the ranks) and am currently in the academy for las vegas metro PD. Obviously you have a lot of questions and concerns about the career fields and ranks and I am sure I could help at least clear up some of the fog per se.
            To tell you the truth I can give you a lot of input, but it would be pages long :-) I have worked LE, security and was actually in Iraq for the building of a base, where I worked with a number of army MP units. If you are interested, PM me and I will shoot you my number. Much easier to have a chat then type all of this subject matter out. lemme know

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            • #7
              Originally posted by gh0st
              i am definitely going to take ROTC. i dont want to make a career out of the military; at some point i want to be a civilian officer. naturally i have about a million questions.

              what is the difference between an enlisted MP and a officer MP? is the difference strictly in terms of the pay scale and/or what else..?

              how desirable (compared to other things) is military police training/experience? would it qualify you for lateral entry into most departments?

              airforce security forces or army MP? which is more desirable?

              thanks for your replies
              You will never be a civilian again. You will be on a DoD list until you die or you are dishonorably discharged.

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              • #8
                Ghost,

                I'm currently a Special Agent in the US Army CID. Do not go in as an Enlisted Member. Go anywhere but do not go into the Army. The Air Force takes better care of their members. Go in as an Officer no matter what branch of service you go into. I am about to finish my contract with the Army and am being forced to stay in longer to deploy to Iraq for a year. When I finish I will be done with the Army.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bigd1970
                  Ghost,

                  I'm currently a Special Agent in the US Army CID. Do not go in as an Enlisted Member. Go anywhere but do not go into the Army. The Air Force takes better care of their members. Go in as an Officer no matter what branch of service you go into. I am about to finish my contract with the Army and am being forced to stay in longer to deploy to Iraq for a year. When I finish I will be done with the Army.
                  Ditto to everything he just said

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                  • #10
                    As you know they can recall you wether you are finished or not.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gh0st
                      so to make the civilian comparison, an AFSF officer would be equivilent to a lieutenant, not really doing much on the patrol side of things? i dont really want to be a desk jockey for 4+ years, and i want adequate law enforcement experience. i dont want to enlist, but i want to get my hands dirty, is basically it. will a commission allow me to do that in the military?
                      Usually when you do ROTC it requires 8 years of service.

                      As an enlisted you will get your hands dirty but not nessesarily gain any valuable law enforcement experience. Remeber **** flows down. I can't speak for the airforce but as far as army I can tell you right now you will not enjoy being enlisted, unless you are planning on making it a career.

                      Joining as an officer you might not be as hands on but you will be supervising your troops and will have a better overall knowledge of the job and mission.

                      A desk is a lot better than some of the other things the Army will have you doing.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bigd1970
                        Ghost,

                        I'm currently a Special Agent in the US Army CID. Do not go in as an Enlisted Member. Go anywhere but do not go into the Army. The Air Force takes better care of their members. Go in as an Officer no matter what branch of service you go into. I am about to finish my contract with the Army and am being forced to stay in longer to deploy to Iraq for a year. When I finish I will be done with the Army.
                        It is true what is said here. As a former SP and Dept. of the Army cop I can speak volumes for the USAF program. The reason I went that route in the first place was because police recruiters told me up front that they didn't take a second look at former MP's but Air Force cops were far more readily considered.
                        "It's not how far the shot was; it's how close you were able to get."

                        --Jeff Cooper

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                        • #13
                          benign differences

                          In Calif, military bases Like The Naval weapons station in Port hueneme ( Ventura,CA) and fort hunter leggit, the MP forces actually do a lot of trng in coordination with with the local civilian counterparts.I have even been to CA. POST (peace officer standards and training ) classes with federal /military police personnel.Alot of the requirements to operate in Ca maintain that certain types of law enforcement adhere to the states standards,whether they engage in regular enforcement of federal or state laws.But when it comes to the transition for military to state, most civilian agencies tend to lump in the overall service performance in the military ,seeing the MP job class as a "speciality".I've had co-workers who were former Rangers,Air force Para Rescue, even a NAVY SEAl, MP k-9.! they all had to go thru basic academy, then patrol before they could even compete for such assignments as SWAT/SRT and K-9s ( and that was against personnel without prior military).

                          If you are an MP,SP,etc and recieve state based trng also,emphasize the state based trng to the area you want to work in. many Ca agencies welcome college educated applicants and former military personnel.with military personnel that are preparing to seperate from federal service, you can ask the agency(ies) you apply for accelerated processing. the Ca highway Patrol, LAPD,San Diego PD,San Francisco PD,L.A.County Sheriffs,etc, almost 80% of the states agencies, have similar programs,and you can start working ( academy recruit) in a matter of months instead of the usual 12-18 mos it takes to process.I even know of a former marine that took ext. POST police academy trng while stationed in San diego,Ca upon his seperation from the Corps in 2002, he was able to bring his POST certificate to his application process,and became an L.A. School PD officer in about (6) months! I know that a lot of military personnel seem to look at federal agencies,but Ca has a myriad of City,State,county, and district police Depts that offer a lot of opportunities and specialized assignments-and the avg pay in Ca is $45-$80K/yr.As always you must prepare yourselves for the next "step".
                          "we're americans ! We don't quit because we're wrong, we just keep doing it wrong UNTIL it turns out Right"...

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                          • #14
                            Being prior military enlisted or officer will just get you points on an exam into the civ agency or veterans preference. I have yet to see a civilian agency accept a MP as a lateral. They are two totally different worlds and they I wouldnt expect them to. I am about to get out after five years MP. I have to go through the same process as the average joe. Now I have a spot to fill on the resume and the pts. If you are not making a career I would just go civilian law enforcement.

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                            • #15
                              If you want to serve your country in the Military Police Corps, officer and enlisted are both good options, depending on what you are looking for. The problem with going officer, is that even if your degree is CJ you are not guaranteed what branch/job you get.

                              That means that you are not guaranteed you will be an MP officer. Officers in the Army DO NOT pick their jobs like the enlisted guys do.

                              When you enlist, you are guaranteed a job you sign a contract for, they wouldn't offer it to you if you didn't score high enough for it on the ASVAB. As an officer, you make a wish list of the top three or so jobs you want, and what you get depends on the needs of the Army, your degree, and your competitiveness with all the other ROTC graduates, OCS graduates, and West Point graduates.

                              Unless your degree is in engineering or nursing, there is no way of knowing if you will get MP, Armor, Infantry, Commo...etc. They can't even tell you what your chances are.

                              On the other hand, when you enlist, you get that job, but you don't get to pick where you are stationed. You may end up doing some police type work (if that post hasn't gone to contract police services) or you might end up in a field MP unit where you train on infantry like tactics and deploy. MP used to stand for Military Police, now it means Multi-Purpose!!!

                              If you can get assigned to a garrison MP unit, then you will be doing civilian like law enforcement stuff, like responding to calls, arresting, citing...etc. But you don't get to make that choice of where you go and what you specifically do.

                              Whatever you decide, good luck.
                              Some days you are the dog, some days you are the hydrant

                              "A liberal is someone who, when being mugged, tries to see things from the mugger's point of view. "

                              -Unknown

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