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  • Big city or small dept?

    Well, just about done dispatching. Finally 6 months away from 21 so I will be starting to apply for LEO positions! But, as I am curious, which type of Dept would you perfer? (We'll assume a major dept. is 500+ LEOs). I personally love the idea of being in a major PD. Knowing there are waves of LEOs there to rely on in times of need. I also believe that smaller departments are more unsafe just by the fact of there are so few officers on duty (in some instances) and backup will be further away. How do you feel about this? Please include personal experience if available!

    This is basically choosing between the CPD and surrounding suburbs..

    Point of Q: (Asking to see if someone can convince me otherwise)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXzJGA8pyA0
    OPEN KEY - FINAL CALL
    To remember those harshly influenced or killed in the line of duty.

  • #2
    Nobody should convince you of anything..................................


    You have decided what you want and should go for it. If someone "convinced" you to go to a smaller agency you would eventually become unhappy and blame that person.

    There are thousands and thousands of officers out there working (safely) in departments smaller than 500 officers.
    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


    • #3
      I really would have no problem going to a small agency, especially since I am working at one now (which may be my best chance to get hired also). I have seen and asked around to others here as to what it's like and many people here are somewhat unhappy. This is just what I believe, and I want a few inputs on how it actually is. I can't say it will change my decision, but I would like a convincing argument to prove me wrong so I can open myself up to a broader range of PDs.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXzJGA8pyA0
      OPEN KEY - FINAL CALL
      To remember those harshly influenced or killed in the line of duty.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Call911 View Post
        I really would have no problem going to a small agency, especially since I am working at one now (which may be my best chance to get hired also). I have seen and asked around to others here as to what it's like and many people here are somewhat unhappy. This is just what I believe, and I want a few inputs on how it actually is. I can't say it will change my decision, but I would like a convincing argument to prove me wrong so I can open myself up to a broader range of PDs.
        Sorry, but your above statement is very confusing............you are contradicting yourself between the first and the last sentence.

        Smaller departments allow you to do a much wider range of duties. In the small department, often times the patrol officer that catches the call becomes the investigator who follows that call through the system.

        When promotions arise, there are fewer candidates for the promotion and therefore you have a better chance of advancement.

        Smaller departments are many times more "family orientated" than the big impersonal large department.

        Just to name a few.........


        Originally posted by Call911 View Post
        to what it's like and many people here are somewhat unhappy. .
        Everyone gripes about their job.................many look for greener grass .............most remain where they are comfortable rather than going elsewhere even if they are unhappy.
        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


        • #5
          Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
          Sorry, but your above statement is very confusing............you are contradicting yourself between the first and the last sentence.

          Smaller departments allow you to do a much wider range of duties. In the small department, often times the patrol officer that catches the call becomes the investigator who follows that call through the system.

          When promotions arise, there are fewer candidates for the promotion and therefore you have a better chance of advancement.

          Smaller departments are many times more "family orientated" than the big impersonal large department.

          Just to name a few.........




          Everyone gripes about their job.................many look for greener grass .............most remain where they are comfortable rather than going elsewhere even if they are unhappy.
          Yeah sorry, I am really s*cking at trying to get my points across. Thanks, I'll try to edit it to make ot more clear.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXzJGA8pyA0
          OPEN KEY - FINAL CALL
          To remember those harshly influenced or killed in the line of duty.

          Comment


          • #6
            At my first dept. we had about 30 on patrol. Some times we had 4-6 on patrol at a time. The city was small and back up was always near. You were always having the same backup so we know how each other work.

            Now I work for a dept. that has about 70 on patrol. There are between 10-15 on a shift. It's like the previously mentioned city but on a larger scale. Everyone knows everyone and works close with each other.

            I couldn't imagine working for a huge dept.

            Comment


            • #7
              If I had my way, I would have stayed at my previous PD (about 130 people, bordered Chicago). If you are use to seeing promotionals and hiring done legit, you will be very disappointed in how it's done on CPD. In a smaller PD, you can be an ET, Det, K9, Dare, Tac, Traffic usually by how well you perform, not how well you can dial a phone (to your chinaman). In a small PD (50 or under), you may get to do all of those. But pick a PD that is not in a total shyate town. One with a tax base and where most of the residents appreciate the Police, not one that is chocked full of neighborhoods where the Police are an occupying army. Think I know where you dispatched at. That can also get you into a PD as a Dispatcher where they have P/T guys. Also communities close by that have P/T guys may give you a shot at P/T knowing where you worked. That is a way to get on.

              Comment


              • #8
                It is a matter of preference, but in this economy you will have to take what you can get.

                As for safety, it depends. My 20 person department is in an extremely urban area surrounded with similarly sized departments with a much larger department to the north. Many agencies use a common dispatch center and those that don't tend to monitor everyone else. If I need help.... help is coming.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LawFowl View Post
                  At my first dept. we had about 30 on patrol. Some times we had 4-6 on patrol at a time. The city was small and back up was always near. You were always having the same backup so we know how each other work.

                  Now I work for a dept. that has about 70 on patrol. There are between 10-15 on a shift. It's like the previously mentioned city but on a larger scale. Everyone knows everyone and works close with each other.

                  I couldn't imagine working for a huge dept.
                  I like that smaller, friendlier department setting. As for having 4-6 on at a time, was there ever a time when you needed a backup and nobody was available? My main concern is really those few times you are "it" and there is nobody there to respond.

                  Originally posted by ChiTownDet View Post
                  If I had my way, I would have stayed at my previous PD (about 130 people, bordered Chicago). If you are use to seeing promotionals and hiring done legit, you will be very disappointed in how it's done on CPD. In a smaller PD, you can be an ET, Det, K9, Dare, Tac, Traffic usually by how well you perform, not how well you can dial a phone (to your chinaman). In a small PD (50 or under), you may get to do all of those. But pick a PD that is not in a total shyate town. One with a tax base and where most of the residents appreciate the Police, not one that is chocked full of neighborhoods where the Police are an occupying army. Think I know where you dispatched at. That can also get you into a PD as a Dispatcher where they have P/T guys. Also communities close by that have P/T guys may give you a shot at P/T knowing where you worked. That is a way to get on.
                  Well, I would most likey be one of those shoe-ins for CPD (which I really don't like to be but it would be a huge pay raise and responsibility factor). I have ~9 family member/relatives in the CPD at the moment along with a few retirees than can pull a few strings. That's really another reason I don't want to join the CPD is because I want to get on fairly, not by who I know.As soon as the ridiculous 25+ YO req. is dropped and they re-test, hopefully I will work my way to the top of the list with study help.

                  Other than that, I would have no problem staying where I'm at, since I'd rather work here than Englewood, Maywood, Bellwood, etc..
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXzJGA8pyA0
                  OPEN KEY - FINAL CALL
                  To remember those harshly influenced or killed in the line of duty.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree w/Iowa. This is a decision you are going to have to make for yourself. A large Dept has its advantages but so does the smaller department.

                    I work for a Sheriff's Dept. that covers over 750sq miles often with only two deputies. Friends I have from larger depts ask; "How do you do this?" You just do. Sometimes this job isn't easy and you need a big set of balls.
                    "Lay there and bleed awhile before you feel some real pain."

                    "Have a cup of coffee, a pall mall, and relax!"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There is nothing unsafe with a smaller department. My department runs 4-6 in a town of ~!2,000. First, we send two cars to every call unless no one is available. I know if I call for help a car will be there within 60 seconds, and more shortly afterwards. That's no counting the deputies or troopers. A smaller agency may have fewer guys working but also typically have smaller area to cover hence faster response time for back-up.(of course that doesn't county sheriff departments that cover massive areas on bare bones crews). If you are preoccupying yourself with response time for back-up you may need to take a long hard look at what you are getting into. When crap goes south it's usually over in a matter of seconds. Multi-minute shootouts incredibly rare.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        70 Man Department, 30,000 Population ( roughly) Minimums are 6 out at a time , which is pretty frequent. However, we might be the tightest group of guys I've ever known. I've known guys to give out a text message when it gets really bad. (recent hostage situation comes to mind) and have guys come from home not expecting pay.

                        If you ask me, I couldn't work for a Big PD.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My brother and I are both officers. I work for a larger agency (350 sworn with about another 500 unsworn) while he is with a small suburban semi rural Department (around 40 officers). He has better pay but his benefits are not as good. He says the politics in a small department are terrible. If you aren't the chiefs golfing buddy or kissing somebodies A** you will never get anything as far as a choice assignment or promotion. I on the other hand have had a great career with a lot of different opportunities. I was also told it can get awful boring working overnights driving around the same 10 square miles on a Sunday night in winter. Bigger agencies offer more chances for different assignments. At our agency you can be assigned to Patrol, Courts , Airport, Training, CID, or Corrections. Out of these divisions we have cycles, bicycles, absconder unit, Canines, EOD, SWAT along with spots on Task forces. Lot more assignments and not as much butt kissing to get one. There is favoritism in hell but in a bigger agency if you work hard and keep out of trouble you can have a great time and get paid for it. Do a good job and get noticed for the quality of work you do. Any idiot can stop 100 cars and get an arrest. But do it right so it gets charged and the clown gets convicted.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It seems like the folks from the largest of the large PD's seem to have the most, negative things to say about where they work compared to the folks from the medium and larger PD's. I've work for a large agency and now for a smaller one. I've got to work in urban areas with backup always nearby & I've work in rural areas where backup is 1/2 hour away. At the end of the day police work is police work where ever you go. Base your choice (b/c they are limited these days) on where you can get in, especially if you live in the midwest. You can always set sail for greener pastures later since you are still young. Whatever you do, don't buy a house until you are 100% content with where you work & you are 100% sure your job is secure (I know from personal experience). A PD in the Detroit area just gave pinks slips to officers with 9 years on & below.
                            Last edited by Curly Bill; 05-06-2011, 05:40 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thank you all for the inputs. As for now, I will be sitting right where I am since I have the best shot of getting on here. Just wanted to see what it was like from those with more experiental inputs. Just recently put in a transfer for CSO (Community Service Officer) so I can try to relieve myself from gaining "Dispatcher ***" and get more mobile and start being more community related. Hopyfully get used to the public and gain a few "contacts" in the area.
                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXzJGA8pyA0
                              OPEN KEY - FINAL CALL
                              To remember those harshly influenced or killed in the line of duty.

                              Comment

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