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Large PD vs Small PD


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  • Large PD vs Small PD

    I'm beginning my applications to diverse PDs. I would like to know from sworn police officers where they would rather work: A larger PD or a smaller PD?

    Let's say you get a lateral tomorrow to any PD, would you go to a bigger dept or a smaller one and why?

    I'm just curious about your opinons on small pds vs large pds...
    Large PD
    Small PD

  • #2
    It depends what you are looking for in a department. What are your career goals? How busy do you want to be? There are so many factors to consider when selecting a department. There was a post started on this topic earlier, try searching it, it might answer some of your quesitons. I have worked for both large and small deaprtments. The current department I work for is smaller than the one I worked for the last 7 years.

    Good luck.


    • #3
      Depends on the person and what you want out of LE. Smaller PD's may have more political issues and less going on. However some small PD's in good areas may take care of their officers.

      Larger PD's have more happening and probably a better chance for working more types of details and promotion. Generally there is quite a bit more going on during your work day. Some may think this is good, some may not. Depends on the person and what you want.

      For myself, I like the activity of a big city. Keeps things interesting. I have worked quite a bit and in most PD's I wouldn't have the opportunity to do what I do full time now.
      The comments made herein are those solely of author and in no way reflect the opinions of any other person, agency or other entity.

      Surfs Up on youtube!

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      • #4
        +1 Surf. Big depts are the way to go. more opportunity for promotion and specialized units. they pay is USUALLY (not always) better. everyone seems to know your business in small places. big deps allow you to blend in to the mix if you want.
        Perseverate In Pugna


        • #5
          I'm not a city person, so I prefer the size of the department I'm currently at. 15 sworn, and the villages have a population of 7,000. Sure, it can be boring... but you can get into stuff rather easily if you look for it. For an idea of how boring it can be... I received one call today. Animal complaint, two dogs running around in traffic. As I was getting ready to start that way, dispatch canceled me.

          A busy night... 10-15 calls in a shift. I like days somewhere in between. 5-8 calls a shift is good. Between calls I can hit traffic or work on areas I feel I could use some improvement. That makes the shift go by rather quickly.

          If you threw me into a department the size of Milwaukee, Chicago, LA, New York, etc... I'd hate it. I just plain hate being IN cities... I can't imagine how much I'd hate WORKING in one...


          • #6
            I've never worked for one of the major PD around with hundreds (or thousands) of officers, but the truth of the matter is that the huge majority of PDs in the country have less than 50 officers, so what is considered "big" vs. "small" is really an additional question.

            Of the several departments I've worked for, they have ranged from very small (2 full-time officers, 7 reserves of which I was one) to medium sized at about 140 officers. My current full-time agency has 40 sworn, my current part-time agency has 15 sworn.

            I really like the agency I work for now, and there isn't much I would change. Of the agencies I worked for, the one I considered the "best" was right at 100 sworn.

            It all depends on what one is looking for. I'd much rather be proactive than answer 911 calls, and at my current agency I have plenty of time to do that. The political climate there encourages proactive enforcement unlike some other smaller departments.

            "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them"-Felix


            • #7
              Big department. My agency is 165 sworn and is about the smallest size department I would ever consider. The bigger the department, the more opportunities for special assignments. You also get left more alone and can get away from people you don't want to work with.
              Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

              I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq


              • #8
                I'd rather work at Victorias Secret.

                As far as police departments go, size doesn't matter, you'll feel dirty afterwards no matter what.

                If the choice is between Police or Sheriff, go Police, it's harder to get fired.
                "Why is common sense so rare?" - Me

                By the way.. They aren't "Clients" or "Customers" they're CRIMINALS... sheesh


                • #9
                  I took into consideration my family and the lifestyle I want to live. I have worked in mostly small agencies. I currently live 40 mins from the mountains, 60 mins from a major city, 40 mins from great lake for summer fun, 40 mins from winter fun, and a slower paced lifestyle for the family.

                  No drivebys here yet.


                  • #10
                    It all depends on what you want. The idea of being a little city cop (read Alaska:Behind blue eyes .... or something like that. Great book about being a cop in a little town) definitely has it's advantages, and definitely intrigues me personally. The only thing about that is, I work for a medium sized agency, and I get too bored too easily to only have a choice between patrol, general investigator, or traffic for the next 25 years. I can't even imagine having no choice at all (aka just patrol).

                    The best thing to do? Work for a place with a large area with one or two decent cities. Then you have a little bit of everything.


                    • #11
                      I work for a small department with 30+ sworn. Lots of politics in the small town but we do have some things going for us at the PD. We have some of the best technology and equipment available. From MDT's to weapons to a brand new state of the art police station under construction. The admin has worked hard to provide as many different special units as possible for such a small agency.

                      We make ok money and it the slow nights outweigh the busy nights by a long shot. However there is some great comraderie among the guys as a department and not just the different shifts. Promotional opportunities are very slim.

                      There is one positive that I point out to a friend of mine who works at big and busy department. When I am near ready to retire I will be chasing the same low priority service calls that I do now. When he is in the same boat he will be dealing with same high priority calls and with more frequency than he does now. He doesnt think that is too funny.

                      The bottom line is what every person else has said...it all depends on what you are looking for. My opinion is a medium to large department is the way to go if you can. However, that said, you are no less of a police officer if you choose a small agency.


                      • #12
                        Ah, bigger is better.

                        My department's current manpower size is just under 1900 officers. Larger has more assignment choices, more crime (that's what cops try to stop), more police investigative work, more court cases, more precincts to transfer away from stupid, incompetent supervisors and officers, or simply experience different parts of the city and the diverse population of a specific area. Just more, more and more of everything. A small department for me would be a totally boring. You put on all that gear and drive around the nice clean neighborhoods everyday. BORING!
                        The views/opinions expressed here are solely mine. I'm retired and I don't care. I truly do not want to offend anyone, but if you are thin skinned and have no sense of humor, you better find another line of work. Therefore, I don't have to be politically correct and I will exercise my freedom of speech, until it's taken away. May God bless all retirees. We've done our duty and earned our peace.


                        • #13
                          large department = more opportunities, career advancement, special units, etc.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by cflcop55 View Post
                            large department = more opportunities, career advancement, special units, etc.
                            Not to mention other places to go if you get into a personality conflict with a co-worker.
                            "Oro En Paz, Fierro En Guerra"
                            "We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
                            - Attributed to both George Orwell and Winston Churchill (unsourced)
                            Californian by birth, Cardinals fan by marriage!


                            • #15
                              Thanks for the replies.

                              I wanted to have everyone's opinion. I didn't want to form mine from all of yall's opinion.

                              As for myself I feel like leaning more towards smaller to medium departments. As for the job, I see myself working on patrol for 25 years. Also, it's true that biggers PDs have more opportunities to get into different units but I found out that in smaller PDs, basic patrol officers tend to touch more on everything than rather focus on the same stuff everytime and I'd love the diversity of touching every aspect of the job.


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