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Academy Applicant - Question About Ride Alongs

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  • Academy Applicant - Question About Ride Alongs

    Hello everyone,

    I am currently going through the application process to enter in to a local academy. I have successfully completed my background check, polygraph, and PAT. My application packet has been turned in and I am awaiting Oral Board notifications and then will have the oral board itself. In the interim I was hoping to get some general advice from officers on these forums.

    Brief Background: I am a 26 year old in the SWFL area. I was born and raised in the town in which I live, and have owned a business in the area for almost 3 years (of which before I was an Area Supervisor for a company). My wife and I recently welcomed our first child, a daughter, into this world 5 months ago. Although we are financially okay, a small business does not allow for a good range of healthcare or stability. For that reason we decided that I would pursue a career in Law Enforcement to have security for my wife and daughter.

    I have been trying to do ride alongs but I did have a question concerning frequency and content. In regards to the frequency I have been told to feel free to call and see about riding along any time. Because I am a small business owner I have a lot of flexibility to go, but I am wondering if there is a point in which I will hurt myself by going too many times? Everytime I go I dress very appropriately for it, I am respectful of each officers wishes and do only as they allow me to do, and do whatever they ask, and none seem to indicate having an issue with me going. I try remain quiet, unless they are engaging me in a conversation, and try to be observant and absorb what I hear and see.

    Furthermore, and I know we will learn everything in the academy, but what are some things I should focus on trying to retain now? Do you have recommendations on things I should ask them to show me or ask if I am allowed to assist with for experience?

    Thank you in advance for any information you guys can provide!

  • #2
    Can you go to different depts? You don't want to be a pest.
    Congrats on your baby!
    Judge me by the enemies I have made----Unknown

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    • #3
      Thank you Zeitgeist, and yes I am able to travel to different departments. Does it matter that they are a bit outside of where I live?

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      • #4
        Most officers do not work where they live... I would say travel around, hit departments within 20-30 min drive once a month or so... I wouldn't be there everyweek. Each department is unique and has its own pros and cons. Try to find an Officer that you get along well with and ask him about the dept... Pros, Cons, Admin, Equipment, Pay, Benefits, Management styles, Promotional Opportunity, Special Assignments... ect. Keep in mind, you're in his office... His car is his office for 40+ hours per week, be respectful and don't get your feelings hurt if he tells you to stop talking, he may have to go to work..

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        • #5
          The above posts pretty much sums it up. Don't worry about learning on the job skills yet. You will get that when you are hired and start a real FTO program. Every department trains their officers differently. When you ride, just ask questions and watch how officers handle situations. Good luck.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by NickWrasse View Post
            Although we are financially okay, a small business does not allow for a good range of healthcare or stability. For that reason we decided that I would pursue a career in Law Enforcement to have security for my wife and daughter.
            I really hope there's more to your desire to get on than this. If not, you should try being a social worker or something. There are plenty of county/state jobs out there with the same (or better) benefits.

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            • #7
              Yes, police work is a calling, not just "security for family"... For what we have to do, I think we are overworked and UNDERpaid!
              The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

              I Am the Sheepdog.


              "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
              that we are all that stands between
              the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


              sigpic

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              • #8
                Depending on the size of the department, I wouldn't try to do too many ride alongs with the same dept. The point isn't really to learn the job but to see if the job is something you would like. It's possible that you could have a bad ride along where the officer you're with gets stuck on a really long call (crime scene or something) and you end up standing around the whole night. But after one or two ride alongs, I would think you'd have a pretty good feel for the job.

                I'm usually o.k. with taking a rider because I can still remember a few years ago when I was on my first ride along. I don't dislike having a rider, but the only riders I've actually enjoyed having are officers from other departments who are considering a lateral. I would actually ride out with another dept in a different city just for fun if I ever had the chance.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chomp View Post
                  I really hope there's more to your desire to get on than this. If not, you should try being a social worker or something. There are plenty of county/state jobs out there with the same (or better) benefits.
                  Chomp,

                  There is a lot more to it than that, and after reading my original post I can see how narrow I made the decision sound. I know one of the most important parts of work in law enforcement is in writing complete thoughts and actions because people will read your reports over and over looking for the slightest mistakes.

                  Law Enforcement is something I have had an interest in and given consideration to pursuing, but right out of high school I became a General Manager for a company and started that as my career to start saving up money for my future, and eventually opened up my own business. With the birth of our daughter my wife and I felt that it would be in the best interest of our family for me to operate the business as an absentee owner and enter back in to a career. Law Enforcement was not chosen because it offers the best benefits or pay, but rather because it is what I had a desire to pursue.

                  Thank you everyone for your insight.

                  Comment

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