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Ups & Downs of the job & Promotions.

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  • Ups & Downs of the job & Promotions.

    I wanted to get some info / advise from some of the more veteran cops on the board. Ive been on 6 years an FTO & work for a large department. So far, All of my career has been in patrol, because I have no interest in any position that isn't what I would consider Actual police work. Of course there is a need for the homicide detectives, bike cops, fraud detectives etc. But at this point Im not interested in that. I consider myself to be a very proactive officer, love the job but also am not super cop out here saving the world, I just truly enjoy riding the street with good partners who also enjoy to be proactive when we can. I worked plain clothes narcotics for a short time, but didn't really enjoy the catch and release of our court system and the realistic realization that we were never going to stop the flow of dope. Catch one dealer, and three more appear etc. I went to a different patrol shift which was generally staffed with more senior guys who have "done their time" and simply made their radio calls and that was it. No stops, no follow up on crime reports etc. Nice enough guys, but my patrol personality didnt quite match with theirs.

    Recently I Thought that I needed a break from patrol due to the recent negative incidents against cops and sort-of a burn out for me of riding a beat for so long. I lateraled to a new position that essentially took me off the street and into a more community friendly role. I quickly found out that wasn't for me because no one had any interest in traditional policing, and im too ADD to sit around doing nothing. So now Im considering going back to patrol because I honestly feel that's where my heart's at and the freedom to "control the workday" in a sense is there.

    On the other hand, promotions are coming up , and several people have mentioned to me that I should take the test for Sgt. Ive always been interested in that role, but I know that I would only like it on the patrol level. our sgts of course are the admin type for the patrol platoons, but some are out there making calls for service with the beat guys when they get some free time. I obviously still have another two decades before I could retire anyway so should I take the test now and see what happens or wait it out till the next time around.
    Last edited by lpstopper; 11-18-2016, 05:38 PM.
    "Its not what you know, its what you can prove."-Training Day

    "Game on, bitches. Whoop whoop, flash the lights, pull it over."

  • #2
    Good for you that you still love being a cop with six years on. Some guys and gals get burned out before that. I think that there are a lot of similarities in many coppers at various stages, but some differences, too. I honestly have to say that very few cops that I have known are still vary hard chargers at age 50 or 55.

    Anyway, that having been said, I would suggest that you continue doing what you love to do, BUT take the sergeant test, too. People change and agencies change. Some faster than others. I was at a PD for over 10 years. I had gone as far as I was going to go and done as much as they were going to let me do. I needed a change. I jumped ship and did over 17 years at a nearby sheriff's office. The change was great for me. Some cops, perhaps many cops, get comfortable where they are, bitch and moan, and then are ROD (Retired On Duty). I never wanted to become one of those and I am now 56 years old!

    Back to you, though. take the test, that shows interest. If they offer you stripes, then you have a decision to make. Until then, I think the decision is to take the test. You pointed out that some sergeants are still out on the street. Be one of those sergeants.

    Ironically, I retired 6 years ago and at my post-retirement agency most of my fellow officers are ROD. We aren't ALL wired exactly the same, despite our age

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    • #3
      To be honest, if you're a "do-er" moving to management may not be the best move for you.

      Across MANY industries, the best supervisor isn't always the guy who was the best worker bee. In my wife's line of work, sales, the best sales manager IS NOT the guy who was the most successful seller. It's the guy who was good and knows the ropes, but not the rock star.

      If you LIKE being a street cop be a street cop. There's lots of opportunities for an officer or deputy without moving into management at most agencies: SRO, academy instructor/ TAC officer, skills instructor (driving, DTAC, etc), DRE, etc, etc....
      "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

      "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post
        To be honest, if you're a "do-er" moving to management may not be the best move for you.

        Across MANY industries, the best supervisor isn't always the guy who was the best worker bee. In my wife's line of work, sales, the best sales manager IS NOT the guy who was the most successful seller. It's the guy who was good and knows the ropes, but not the rock star.

        If you LIKE being a street cop be a street cop. There's lots of opportunities for an officer or deputy without moving into management at most agencies: SRO, academy instructor/ TAC officer, skills instructor (driving, DTAC, etc), DRE, etc, etc....
        ^^^This about sums it up.

        “This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.”

        George V. Higgins--The Friends of Eddie Coyle

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        • #5
          Our sergeants are street level, as opposed to what you describe as more admin-types. But, if some are able to get out on the street and shag calls to help the guys out, you can too. Never know if you'll be the tipping point that makes that the norm for sergeants that follow AFTER you.

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          • #6
            But, if some are able to get out on the street and shag calls to help the guys out, you can too.
            ...but some sergeant positions are primarily admin. Are the guys shagging calls shirking their real job?

            It depends on how the department is set up.
            "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

            "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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            • #7
              I'm in a similar place: 8 years in, proactive copper, FTO/Firearms Instructor/Rifleman, looking for a change of pace. I go for my interview this week for investigations. We'll see what happens....
              I make my living on Irish welfare.

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              • #8
                If you know that you will have future opportunities for promotion down the road, then perhaps waiting will be beneficial to you being able to enjoy only being responsible for yourself. You say this is where your heart is, and many an officer have made a great career with no interest in a supervisory capacity. On the other hand, I know a guy who worked for a large agency and was promoted to Sergeant after 5 years on the job. He stayed there at that rank for the rest of his career. I believe he got burned out having to do the supervisory thing for so long, but that may not necessarily be the same outcome for you.

                If you have a desire to step into that level of responsibility, then I say go for it. Once you are on the back end of your career you may kick yourself for not taking advantage of opportunities. Who knows where it could lead. If you have co-workers encouraging you to try out for it, perhaps you possess leadership qualities that are recognized and appreciated by others.

                Are you willing to set out to take care of your people? Do you wish to be in a position to raise the bar for those in your trust? Will you speak out against violations of your Department's policies or the Chief's directives even though such issues are part of the status quo? Are you ready to have to sit down and do performance evaluations, or even take disciplinary action on officers you once worked as an equal to?

                There's a jillion other questions about leadership that could be asked, but the main one is: Do you want it? If so, then go for it!

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                • #9
                  So go for the promotion. If you don't like it, go back.
                  I always loved the old guys who stayed on the beat for their whole careers- but it takes a special kind of cop, but maybe that's you.

                  I loved patrol. I felt it was a calling and it really suited me, but I was recruited for investigations (after only 4 years) early in my career and have been "stuck" there ever since. Don't get me wrong- great perks, hours, etc., but if you like the street- stay there.

                  In the end, you'll know when it is time for a change.
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                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the replies. This would be my first time being eligible, but we do Sgts promotions every two years, so yeah I still have plenty of time to rise to that level. I don't see it hurting me to wait until the next round. I agree, patrol is a calling and it for sure isn't for everyone. Everyone gets burned out at some point but for now most days I still enjoy the variety of experiences throughout the day, and training rookies . My fear is leaving what I know and what im skilled at for an unknown new position that I may end up hating. Leaving the street is something my family would prefer due to it obviously being a safer environment, but I can't help myself haha
                    "Its not what you know, its what you can prove."-Training Day

                    "Game on, bitches. Whoop whoop, flash the lights, pull it over."

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                    • #11
                      I did patrol for a little bit and found it to be something I am not interested in. If you're a pro-active cop, a lot of times it's hard to do police work when you're a slave to the radio. I suppose that would depend on the call volume of the area you cover.
                      I work for a very big department so movement is not difficult. I ended up staying active and doing various enforcement units in my precinct and then moving on to narco and then vice. I still do street enforcement, my schedule is great, I go to work in flip flops and shorts (as the weather permits), I don't wear suits and pinky rings, investigate my own cases & I still get a detective promotion out of it.
                      So it's not all doom and gloom leaving patrol. God bless the guys that do it for 20 years, and we do need them, but as a few said before - it's a calling.

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                      • #12
                        I am in the patrol section right now, looking to branch to Traffic Accident Investigations after I finish FTO. I enjoy it (so far), but one day wouldn't mind having an admin slot (and promotion) and let the younger guys handle the road.
                        USAF VETERAN 2004-2012
                        "The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day."-LTC Grossman
                        Department of the Army Police Officer (0083-06)

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                        • #13
                          I worked patrol for nearly 15 years, mostly midnights and taking the hot sectors. Then I had an opportunity to move into investigations. I really thought long and hard about it and almost said no because I considered myself a patrol guy through and through. An older officer I highly respected talked me into giving investigations a try. It didn't take long before I was hooked. For me, investigations made me feel like a "real" cop and this was where I felt like I was really getting after the legit bad guys.

                          In 2012, I was offered a promotion to sergeant, back on patrol. I took it and it was the most miserable 2 years of my life. I went from being a hands-on "doer" to spending way too much time in an office reviewing reports, checking schedules, doing inspections, and writing admin reports. When I would get to roll on a call (which I often did, even when a supervisor wasn't needed), I basically stood back and provided my guys with the resources they needed to get the job done. I did very little "work".

                          I was fortunate to get back into investigations and took over the major crimes desk. I'm again the guy kicking down doors and catching bad guys and I couldn't be happier. I learned that I'm a doer, not a super.

                          Having said all that, patrol is the backbone of any agency. Patrol needs experienced guys who are still door-kickers with an attitude and also know a thing or two to teach the youngsters. Always be proud to let your patrol flag fly.

                          Here's the flip side. Maybe right now moving from patrol isn't the thing for you but in a couple of years it might be. Keep your options open and try new things when you can. Like me, you might find that you find something else that really turns your gears.
                          Originally posted by kontemplerande
                          Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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                          • #14
                            I've been on for just over 10 years. I spent 6 years working the road. I've spent the remaining time assigned to a school, minus my 6 month stint in a Drug Task Force. I passed our agency's Corporal exam, but, according to my bosses, the department ran out of money to promote the remaining two folks on the list, which includes me.
                            The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

                            I Am the Sheepdog.


                            "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
                            that we are all that stands between
                            the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Maybe another list run then?
                              USAF VETERAN 2004-2012
                              "The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day."-LTC Grossman
                              Department of the Army Police Officer (0083-06)

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