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    I graduate next may with a BS in Geography emphasis in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Talking to my parents they believe I need to use my degree, or it's a waste of money. Basically they're telling me only study what I plan to do after college. I keep telling them I only need a degree that CJ, or Justice Administration as it's called here, isn't really needed. I tell them I'm basically trying to get a degree in something I can fall back on if LE doesn't work out, or if I get injured. Then they tell me with GIS I would not be up to speed with the advances in the field. That's understandable. I'm wondering if there is any way that GIS, to some degree, is used in LE? Or skills related to geography (not necessarily navigating) are used?
    What I'm getting at is, when your degree is in another field of study and you're finished with your LE career do you worry about finding work? Are there plenty of opportunities after retirement?
    Thanks!

  • #2
    GIS is the wave of the future for law enforcement, especially in rural communities. We've been integrating GIS data into our systems for a while now. We use it for a ton of different incidents.

    We use GIS data to map major crimes scenes, do accident reconstructions, plan tactical missions, prepare search warrants, develop intelligence data, prep neighborhood canvas and use it to plot criminal patterns to better utilize our patrol resources.

    Having said all that, will you, as a rookie patrol officer, have the opportunity to put your GIS knowledge to use in a technical way? Probably not. But if you get on with a department that's starting to integrate or expand their use of GIS data, you may have an in.

    I would be concerned about the staleness of your knowledge with a dynamic field like GIS. I can't believe how much the technology has changed for us in just the past 5 years. I can't even begin to imagine how quickly it will change in the next five.
    Originally posted by kontemplerande
    Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by SRT936 View Post
      GIS is the wave of the future for law enforcement, especially in rural communities. We've been integrating GIS data into our systems for a while now. We use it for a ton of different incidents.

      We use GIS data to map major crimes scenes, do accident reconstructions, plan tactical missions, prepare search warrants, develop intelligence data, prep neighborhood canvas and use it to plot criminal patterns to better utilize our patrol resources.

      Having said all that, will you, as a rookie patrol officer, have the opportunity to put your GIS knowledge to use in a technical way? Probably not. But if you get on with a department that's starting to integrate or expand their use of GIS data, you may have an in.

      I would be concerned about the staleness of your knowledge with a dynamic field like GIS. I can't believe how much the technology has changed for us in just the past 5 years. I can't even begin to imagine how quickly it will change in the next five.
      BAM! Tell that to your parents. : )

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      • #4
        As far as Law Enforcement a BS/BA degree in Underwater Basket weaving means the same thing as any other 4 yr degree when it comes to hiring.


        While you would be out of date (unless you chose to keep yourself up to date via continuing education) you would still have the basic degree to fall back on

        Here is a story about degrees ---------------A very good friend of mine (and former supervisor of mine) had a degree and was working as a Funeral Director when he got into Law Enforcement. He later continued his career as the elected sheriff of one of the larger counties in Iowa. He THEN was appointed as the US Marshal for the Northern District of Iowa by President Clinton.
        .
        He retired at the end of President Clinton's term. During the entire time he was in LE he kept his continuing education up to date and remained a licensed funeral director.

        I talked to him a few months ago and he still works part time for one of the larger funeral homes in the area.
        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

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        • #5
          The purpose of a degree is to help you get a good job. The job may or may not be related to your degree. It really doesn't matter. I know quite a few successful people who don't have a job in their degree field, but their degree helped get them the job they have.

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          • #6
            As much and as often as I counsel respect for one's parent's, this has to be your call. As my colleague has noted, just about any four year degree is a plus. Technology? Wow!! I've been retired just a little over five years. I'm so far behind the technology curve by now I feel like a Cavalry horse. When all the dust settles, when all the smoke clears, the decision to apply to LE is yours to make. If you're leaning to a career with us, start looking agencies which are hiring.

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            • #7
              I would ask myself if a career in law enforcement is what I really want. I have the most respect for your parents and any parent in their position, but it is not their choice to make. They do make a valid point with their concerns- of course. But it is ultimately your decision. You can forget about using your college degree once out on the road or on the streets, frankly, you will have other more important things to focus on.

              A college degree is not valued or ranked based on the academic field it was earned in, hence why agencies could care less what kind of degree you have. College degrees speak more so on your behalf in terms of being a well-rounded candidate in comparison to others and the maturity and discipline it takes to earn one.
              "Its not cheating, unless you get caught."-Al Bundy

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Beanstick View Post
                A college degree is not valued or ranked based on the academic field it was earned in, hence why agencies could care less what kind of degree you have. College degrees speak more so on your behalf in terms of being a well-rounded candidate in comparison to others and the maturity and discipline it takes to earn one.
                This is only true to some extent. We look more highly on degrees that indicate an applicant's desire for knowledge, and will provide a specialized skill that will be useful down the road.

                By this, I mean that if you have two applicants that are otherwise equal or nearly so in other respects, a guy with a degree in accounting or computer science (where we are weak) will be more highly ranked than someone with a degree in CJ. Not all departments have the same policy.

                And again, most of the paperwork of the application is just used to get an interview. Your in-person interviews are the most important part of your application process. Paper gives us an idea of who and what you are. Talking gives us an idea of how you see yourself, what you do, and where you're going to go.
                The academy teaches you skills, the street gives you experience, but it all comes down to your instinct.

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                • #9
                  You're an adult. Make your own decision on your career field after college. Period. If your parents don't support you on it, that's too bad.
                  Originally posted by K40
                  To me, open carry is the equivalent of the couple making out and groping each other at the food court in the mall. Yeah, they are probably legal, as long as they don't start getting undressed. But they are still social retards.
                  ‎"You go for a man hard enough and fast enough, he don't have time to think about how many's with him; he thinks about himself, and how he might get clear of that wrath that's about to set down on him." - Rooster Cogburn

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                  • #10
                    GIS will come in handy.

                    many crime scenes require a lot of amateur cartography.

                    M-11
                    “All men dream...... But not equally..
                    Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it is vanity;
                    but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
                    for they act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.....”

                    TE Lawrence

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