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  • Lateral move

    Looking for some advice here from the LE veterans...

    There's an opportunity for me to lateral to my local PD in the coming months. By local, I mean it's the department for the city I actually live in.

    There's nothing wrong with the department I work at now, in fact I enjoy working there quite a bit, my partners are great, and I'm in good standing. Scheduling, pay and benefits would be almost exactly the same. But I'd be going from a department with about 2,000 sworn to one with about 200. I know that the opportunities for promotion and special assignments would be much more competitive and few and far between.

    And there's the whole thing with actually living in the city where you're arresting crooks that are pretty much your neighbors. I know a couple if LEO's that do this now with no issues. I've heard horror stories about running into someone at the local grocery store you arrested a month ago, but they seem to be more anecdotal than legitimate.

    Biggest benefit for me would be cutting my daily commute from about 100 miles roundtrip to about 3. I'd see more of my family. Get more sleep. Spend less time in traffic.

    I know the grass isn't always greener. When I got hired on I knew what I was getting I to, and I haven't actively been looking to lateral. I love where I am, but thought I'd use the forums to kick the tires a bit and see if anyone had any similar experience (before I tell the wife and she decides for me). It would be a few months before the application opens up anyway, so I have time to think about it.

  • #2
    If the commute is an issue, what prevents you from moving closer to your present employer?

    This is purely anecdotal but, from what I have seen, officers who make a transition in size and activity like you are talking about are almost never happy. It is not uncommon for them to return to their "home" agency within a year.

    Comment


    • clof2001
      clof2001 commented
      Editing a comment
      We could move closer, but my mortgage payment would essentially double. The higher cost of living versus the tradeoff for a shorter commute isn't worth it.

  • #3
    I wouldn't worry too much about running into arrestees. In a town with 200 officers you are talking of a 250K population. Yea you will but that happens. I worked for a statewide agency for nearly 30 yrs and ran into people (and still do 8 yrs after retirement) in the weirdest places. Never have had a problem.

    Your commute change would give you a pretty good raise...............not to mention time with the family. At one time I worked 40 miles from home & when I transferred I went to a LARGER institution but only had a 5 mile commute. I saved a lot of money there.

    Only you and your family can decide which is best...............and you WILL make the decision that is best.

    It's just like when I promoted to Lieutenant. The promotion was best for me and my family, but career wise it was the worst decision I made in a 42 yr career
    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

    Comment


    • #4
      Here is my thoughts, from a Canadian paramilitary (RCMP) Agency requiring transfers and living where you work, now retired, perspective.

      For 34.5+ years, I worked in:
      - a VERY popular summer tourist destination National Park, with ~ 5000 visitors at any one time, where we also patrolled nearby highways and some off-site Aboriginal / First Nation / Indigenous communities, for 5 months with 4 of us, living in attached barracks;
      - a < 400 population A/ FN / I community, with LOTS of violence, with 3 of us non-A / FN / I members for 10 months, living in barracks;
      - ~ 17000 population city, surrounded by a rural area with ~3000 population, and 60 Police Officers (22 City, 15 Rural / HP, plain clothes Units, plus barely-doing-anything-yet-getting-paid senior ranks), for 4 years.
      - a ~ 700 population town, with several smaller villages and sparsely populated farms within the area, with 3 of us, for 4 years;
      - a ~ 6500 population city, a few smaller towns, an A / FN / I community, and sparsely populated farms withing our area, with 15 of us, for 8 years;
      - a large rural area, ~ 5000 population, outside of a city ~ 11000 population, with 7 of us (4 for General Duty, and 3 for HP / Traffic Services), plus a 20+ member City PS (COULD, and did, work outside of the city border to back us up, and we could swoop in and help them, or "poach" as we wished, but non-emergency calls-for-service were handed over to each other dependent on where it happened), from 1993 to 2010.

      Overall, I OFTEN ran into "clients", even sitting beside them at Mass, at EVERY posting, whether it was a seat belt ticket, or an alcohol-induced family melt-down, let alone worse. The ENTIRE community knew where I and my partners lived, since we often had a marked patrol vehicle in our driveways during non-scheduled "voluntary" on-call. I had a client show up at the front door of post #2, drunk and holding a shotgun; the time-honoured tactic of slamming-the-door-into-the-face-to-knock-'em-on-their-arse took care of that. Clients would come to my house at post #4, either to complain, or 3 idiots get their truck stuck in a large puddle in front after a tornado and sheepishly accept their liquor tickets. At #5, my first weekend, the son of a neighbour (Dad was the Volunteer FD Chief) gave me a false name on his liquor ticket.

      I have seen members of my Force patch-over to Municipal PS to be able to get closer to, or go home to, family, or avoid transfers, while I have known Mun PS members to patch-over to us for brass buttons and travel. Me? I THOUGHT about patching-over after I got to #6, but I ended up on "the dark side" (HP / TS) for my last 9 years, and loved it.

      I would HEARTILY encourage you to work with your residence PS to avoid the cost and hassle of your current commute. If you REALLY have dreams of the big time, then do not get sized up for a new uniform, but is the commute REALLY worth it?! Just be professional, and you will be fine working at home.
      #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
      Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
      RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
      Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
      "Smile" - no!

      Comment


      • clof2001
        clof2001 commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the well-thought out reply, much appreciated

      • PeteBroccolo
        PeteBroccolo commented
        Editing a comment
        I should have added that EVERY time I transferred, it was NOT my idea; either the timing, or the location!

        Thinking about it now. I am glad that my career took me FAR from people I knew or was related to.

        When I knew we were leaving post #4, I DID ask my wife if she wanted me to ask for us to be moved to her home town (~ 2000 population, about 90 minute drive from #4, and historically important to my Force), but she feared how we would interact with her family and old friends, so we let Shafting & Impersonal throw the dart during the beverage-alcohol-imbibing-fuelled indecision meeting...and the rest is history.

    • #5
      In most (United States) law enforcement agencies there may be some opportunities for lateral entry hiring, but seldom (if ever) will retirement plans, health insurance, or other benefits be transferable. For a young officer with decades to go toward eventual retirement there may be some opportunities that outweigh the trade-offs, but for many others trying to change ships in mid-ocean could be a major step backward in retirement planning. I would suggest that you look very hard at your current position (not just the job, but where you are on the career path to retirement) before making such a change.

      As far as running into people you have busted in the past, all I can say is it happens every now and then but there is seldom anything to worry about. I have actually had more trouble with people I have issued traffic summonses to, or handled dog complaints with, than I have had with felons after they have served their prison time. Only one who ever made serious threats against me ended up dying from drug abuse before he got around to trying anything with me. The rest amounted to little more than some foul language or trash talk. That is not to say that I didn't go armed every time I left the house (and still do 24 years after retirement), but I don't hang around the same venues as dopers or ex-cons like to spend their time so I don't worry too much about it.

      Comment


      • #6
        I agree with Retired95, the retirement would be my big biggest concern. If you have more than a few years that could be a big setback, but if your time transfers then you should be fine.

        I spent my 8 years in uniform driving a 70 mile round trip, working in a county of 350,000 people. When I got promoted to a suit, it came with a transfer. For me that meant an 8 minute drive to work, in a county with a fraction of the population.

        That being said, it’s a trade off:

        I liked not policing my neighbors. I liked being anonymous, just some guy in a uniform. I also like being able to swing home for lunch. I like being able to drop by my kids school or respond when their school calls in a suspicious person trying to enter the premises.

        I have only run into people a few times. Actually, it’s the same guy, I just keep running into him. He knows me and I know him and that’s that. Apparently we have similar home improvement needs and taste for pizza. He gives me a dirty look and I’m pretty sure he knows how I feel about him. In fact I know that he knows how I feel because I told him. CP- enough said.

        Carry off duty and you’re going to be fine.
        I make my living on Irish welfare.

        Comment


        • clof2001
          clof2001 commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm only 3 years in to what I hope will be a 20-25 year (second) career. My retirement benefits will transfer over...obviously I don't want to commute 30k miles a year for 20 years, just up in the air right now if I should make the move or wait a little longer

      • #7
        I think I am blessed to live in an area of the country that is always in need of officers, and there are openings at every agency in my area. Take home cars (except for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, but their pay takes care of that). Not a long commute to work anyways.

        As for the lateral move, can you do a ride along with the future agency? I think that will help you decide if it is really for you. I will say a 100 mile commute is crazy, and a 3 mile commute would be much better. I am not sure what state you live in, or how your time will transfer over, but I am guessing you have thought this through. Also, do you live in a higher crime area? I mean, what is the arrest ratio per shift? Are Officers going call to call? How many Officers per shift? What is the likelihood you can be assigned to the zone that patrols where you live? Do your neighbors typically gets call for the Police?

        Time with your family, and even to yourself, is irreplaceable, more important than money in my opinion. You can't save your time up and spend it later. When it is gone, it is gone. Going home for meals, more sleep, that would all seem to be very important to me.

        However, leaving what you have known, the people, the officers, will be probably be more difficult than you think. I am sure you know your current agencies politics, where the agency is headed, etc, Trust me, I am going through something similar now.

        This decision needs to be what is best for you and your family, and knowing what you know at this time, after you have done all the research you can possibly do, will lead you in the right direction. Sometimes, the better decision is to stay, but other times, it is time to move on.

        Many of us have faced very similar decisions in our careers (and we will in the future) so you are not alone. We are usually faced with trading the negatives of a current agency for the positives of another, and of course inherit the negatives with the positives. Such as "this agency is quiet, low crime, but pay is low...the other agency has high crime and turn over, but the pay is great."

        If it were me, with the similar pay and schedule, I would make the leap, no doubt.



        John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

        Comment


        • clof2001
          clof2001 commented
          Editing a comment
          I am leaning towards making the move. I live in a upper middle class neighborhood that sees very little police activity and I doubt I'd have to get involved with someone who lives nearby. But there are older parts of the city that are very busy and are high crime. The station I work at now is the busiest in the county, so as far as workload and type of calls there wouldn't be much of a change.

          Time and family-wise, it would be amazing to work so close to home. My biggest hang up right now is my sense of "loyalty" to my current department...the one that hired me and trained me to be a cop. I've mentioned this to some of my partners and they've laughed. I've heard more than once that as far as the department is concerned, I'm "just a number" and someone else will fill my spot once I leave. Part of me knows that is true and part of me feels guilty for thinking about going somewhere else.

      • #8
        Loyalty is a great thing. But at the end of the day, nobody can fault you for looking out for you and yours.

        My agency has almost no turnover, so I don’t know many people who have left for greener pastures. But my agency has a lot of internal movement, which is similar. People here may feel loyalty to their shift, station, unit or detail, but at the end of it people move on to other things. Nobody holds it against you when you get promoted, transfer to a barracks close to home, go to a special detail. It’s your career.

        One thing thats nice about it is after a few years on, you have hooks around the state because you’ve worked with people who have since gone somewhere else. If you need something it’s usually not a call to a stranger.

        Leave your agency on good terms and keep in touch with the guys. Your paths will probably cross again and that networking is huge.
        I make my living on Irish welfare.

        Comment


        • #9
          3 years in, retirement benefits transfer, and comparable pay? I would be gone!

          The longer you wait, the longer you’re not building seniority.
          I make my living on Irish welfare.

          Comment


          • #10
            Do what is best for your family and what makes you happiest.

            Comment


            • #11
              Wait?! You have NOT discussed this yet with Home HQ!?! To H e l l with you then - I am NOT going to be collateral damage when your Commissioner takes her wrath out on you!!
              #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
              Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
              RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
              Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
              "Smile" - no!

              Comment


              • clof2001
                clof2001 commented
                Editing a comment
                Her response is only thing I'm sure of about all this...I had to run it by everyone else first!

              • PeteBroccolo
                PeteBroccolo commented
                Editing a comment
                Ok, I get it now - she WOULD want you to make the move; do as the boss says then, bud!

            • #12
              "Loyalty to my current department"....

              Well you will see, when it comes between the Officers on the road and your administration, brass, whatever you call them, they have no loyalty to you. This sounds harsh, but it is the truth. Do not let this stand in your way.
              John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

              Comment

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