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  • New Correctional Officer at county jail

    Hi, I was recently hired as a CO at a local county jail. My hopes are to eventually move out to patrol as a deputy in the next few years, unless I happen to absolutely love the life of a jail CO, in which case I would stay put.
    I spent a few years as a firefighter/EMT for the federal government and decided that, as much as I loved fire, law enforcement was my passion. I remember as a firefighter out on the big campaign wildland fires, there were so many ways to prove myself as someone who takes my job 100% seriously and in the end, it helped me to move up in responsibility. I would always volunteer to carry the extra heavy items, do the extra hard work, hike the 5 miles back to the engine to get MREs or waters etc.
    My question is, how can I set myself apart as a CO in the county jail as someone who takes this seriously and is passionate about getting ahead and showing my worth? What are the steps I can take and the things I can volunteer for to show this?

    I appreciate all the help and advice in advance. Have a great day

  • #2
    Continue with the work ethic you exhibited as a fire fighter!

    Take your training seriously; know the conduct rules; be firm but fair when you apply them; always work within policy and procedure; treat all with respect; don't call in sick or be late to work; learn from those that have been doing it a long time but don't repeat their shortcuts. Above all, when you think you know what you are doing, you don't. That doesn't happen until you get at least 5+ years on the job!

    Seriously, it sounds like you do have a great work ethic. That can never fail you if you use it properly. Good luck!

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    • #3
      Chapter51's response is on point. Take advantage of any extra training opportunities that arise. If your agency has specialty teams (usually requires you be through fto and probation) volunteer to be a role player for their training until you are eligible to test for the teams.

      When you start working, you'll quickly see those that are there for the paycheck and nothing else. And you'll see those that are dedicated and hard working. Surround yourself with good people. Try not to be "that guy".Your reputation will be huge at the jail and especially later on when you test for patrol.

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      • #4
        Lastly, law enforcement work is very humbling. One day you'll do something great only to screw up the next day and bring you back to earth. Take your lumps and view it as a learning opportunity.

        With your work ethic, it sounds like you'll do great.

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        • #5
          Thanks so much for the great advice, guys. I'll definitely take these with me to work and keep them in mind throughout my career!

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          • #6
            The corrections business is so full of lazy people and dishonesty that in time, you will stand out. Good stuff will come find you. In the meantime, do things by the book, don't throw your buddies under the bus, don't lie, and keep working your pants off.

            Also, when the opportunity arises to test for promotions, jump on it. I hear guys say "FTO/corporal/whatever isn't worth it because the pay difference isn't that much more" - but looking down their noses at the first step up is also how to forever stay rank-and-file!

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