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What's involved in getting into LE?


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  • What's involved in getting into LE?

    Currently i'm contemplating a career change and am wondering if Law Enforcment is for me or not.

    I figure part of trying to figure that one out, is knowing what's involved in the from initial intrest/paperwork to your first day on the job?

    Also what are my chances of getting in the field in the first place?

    - nearsited, i mean im near sighted.. did i mention im near sighted? Although i've been wearing soft contacts since High school, and the AF took me in with a waiver on my vision.

    - No arrests, no warrents (never even seen the inside of a police station for that matter)

    -1 speeding ticket in 1993 in missippi. 1 parking ticket in the city of Anahiem in California in 2002.

    -Momma told me drugs were bad, so i never did em

    -Almost 5 years active duty in the Air force as an engineer.

    -2 years reserve in same branch

    -3 years community college (AA liberal, AS IT)

    -3 years or so in a cubicle in Information technology. *Yawwn*

  • #2
    Most departments don't care about eyesight as long as it is correctable with contacts or eyeglasses. Your military experience helps as well as your IT experience. I assume that you have no felony or domestic violence convictions. Your one speeding ticket and one parking ticket is forgivable, especially since it has been that long ago.

    The hiring process can be lengthy. While it varies from department to department, you may be required to submit to a written test, physical agility, one or more oral interviews, background investigation, polygraph, medical exam, fingerprint check, and drug screen.

    For the background check, many departments have a personal history questionnaire that asks about your education, traffic and criminal history, employment information including names of coworkers, financial and credit information, and references (some ask for at least five references).

    Some departments require completion of an accredited police academy prior to employment. If a department is willing to hire you without police academy training, your department will send you to a state approved police academy. Most states have set minimum number of hours a police officer must receive and can range from 400 to 1000 hours, which translates to 10 weeks to six months in the academy.

    It sounds like a rough process, and to some people it is. Judging by your background, though, I think you can make it.


    • #3
      I would only reiterate that it can indeed take time to get on with a larger agency that operates its own academy or is prepared to send you to one and pay you to go. Of course, some of this depends on where you're willing to work.

      For instance, El Paso, Texas PD is short of officers, to the point of offering lateral transfers (moving from another department and retaining rank). More desirable cities may take you two or three rounds to get on. (Persistence does count, though.)

      Some agencies will waive the college credit requirements for former military. Texas Department of Public Safety, for instance, requires 90 hours for Trooper applicants but will waive them all for three years of military. They're one of those that's short-handed but where you may have to take two or three shots at it.

      A common route to the street among sheriff's offices around here is to go in to the jail (generally a far easier proposition) and later apply to move to patrol. The jail time isn't wasted. It counts toward retirement and is good experience dealing with crooks.


      • #4
        My suggestion is to fill out an application in the department of your choice and see what happens.
        If it is a line of work you want to get into... well, as I said in my web page, it can't be beat. If the information you posted is factual, not implying otherwise, you should have no problem. Just be prepared for a lengthy process.

        On your application, do not cut any corners. Most will forgive infractions not involving a felony, but ALL will be expecting total honesty.

        Failing to list something that is found later... even if already on the department force usually will result in your being terminated. It's just not worth the chance, let them know upfront. If it would disqualify you, it might as well be out in the open, instead of worring about it for weeks and or months.

        I had to let a rookie go because of just this... He had a DUI on his record in another state he was traveling thru and it showed up after he was hired. The DUI would not have disqualified him but failing to tell us about it did...

        ALL Departments want/expect a totally honest officer. Your word will put a lot of people in jail over the years and it has to be untarnished as much as possible...
        Take your hands off the trunk of the car and I'll make your Birth Certificate just another worthless document!!


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