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Did you ever rethink your career in law enforcement?

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  • Did you ever rethink your career in law enforcement?

    Hi everyone,

    Did any of you have second thoughts about a career in law enforcement before the career actually began? I am 23 and currently work as a Community Service Officer/dispatcher for a medium sized city in Minnesota and already feel like I'm getting burnt out. I recently finished my bachelor's degree and will be starting skills (academy) this coming fall, but am starting to rethink the whole idea. My department has had a lot of retirements over the past couple of years and the majority of officers seem to regret their careers, and have mentioned if I was their kid they'd strongly recommend another career with the way law enforcement is heading. I know that everyone in almost every career field advises against staying with that said career, but I see a lot of officers who seem to have lost faith in humanity and have a hard time maintaining relationships with people who don't work in law enforcement.

    I know that I'm good at my current position and I will be a good officer, but if I'm having second thoughts after only two year in the field should I consider something else?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

  • #2
    What you're experiencing is called "change" & being apprehensive about it is normal. To answer your question, yes, I did second guess my career choice for about the first 6mos/year I was on the job. While I decided to be a LEO in my late teens, moving out of State, getting married, starting a career so young (21) all made me apprehensive about the whole thing.
    Perhaps you shuld look at it another way--- you'll be starting a new job that'll allow you to potentially be exposed to whole new things almost daily. I fully understand what your senior officers are telling you but I'm willing to bet about half of them would also say thaey wouldn't want to give up the experiences they had. That should give you a clue.....

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    • #3
      Originally posted by WMcD View Post
      Hi everyone,

      Did any of you have second thoughts about a career in law enforcement before the career actually began? I am 23 and currently work as a Community Service Officer/dispatcher for a medium sized city in Minnesota and already feel like I'm getting burnt out. I recently finished my bachelor's degree and will be starting skills (academy) this coming fall, but am starting to rethink the whole idea. My department has had a lot of retirements over the past couple of years and the majority of officers seem to regret their careers, and have mentioned if I was their kid they'd strongly recommend another career with the way law enforcement is heading. I know that everyone in almost every career field advises against staying with that said career, but I see a lot of officers who seem to have lost faith in humanity and have a hard time maintaining relationships with people who don't work in law enforcement.

      I know that I'm good at my current position and I will be a good officer, but if I'm having second thoughts after only two year in the field should I consider something else?

      Thanks in advance for any advice!
      If you are considering the fact that you might be burnt out after two yrs (you ARE in the field right now--just not an officer) I would really think hard about your future.


      I am not going to say you shouldn't continue, but you REALLY need to think about your choice of career. I have no problem recommending the field to people-------but I really wonder how you are going to react to the stress of being a sworn officer if CSO and dispatcher is too much for you.


      Good Luck
      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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      • #4
        Only during FTO

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        • #5
          Here's my thought. Are you allowing the nay sayers within the department bring you down? What you're experiencing could be a little bit of apprehension on your part about taking on the additional stress of the academy and having people around you being negative. Maybe you need to step away and clear your head a bit before you charge forward.
          Today's Quote:

          "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
          Albert Einstein

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          • #6
            Let me blunt. Are you weak willed? Are you going to let others' perception become your own without any personal experience? Do you have, or are you willing to learn, coping mechanisms to deal with the rancid *** that is some of the humanity you will deal with? Are you willing to remember the shining examples of the heroism of humanity and let the others slide?

            Answer those, then think about your future?
            I miss you, Dave.
            http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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            • #7
              Personally I think dispatching is MORE stressful than being on the road.

              YMMV.

              In many careers, but particularly the military and law enforcement, you'll hear old timers complain about the changes that have occurred since they started. "We used to do this and that, walk our beats without shoes in the winter, yada-yada-yada".

              I do it with regard to the Army all the time.

              Listen to the wisdom of the old timers, but recognize and be able to filter out what's useful from what isn't. Law enforcement IS changing. It has been since Robert Peel commissioned the first Bobbie. That's what happens in any profession.
              "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

              "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post
                Personally I think dispatching is MORE stressful than being on the road.
                In many ways it is-----------------------but if a person gets stressed out in dispatch, they most likely aren't going fare well on the streets
                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


                • #9
                  I've been a dispatcher and I've been a street officer and I'm currently a detective. Honestly, detective is the least stressful, although it can be aggravating sometimes. Dispatcher in the middle, and street officer tops the list.

                  Dispatch is stressful just because you have so many things going on at once, and because sometimes you're on the mic for bad things happening and you can't do anything but wait for your guys to key up and be ok. However it never gave me nightmares, never got me hurt, never made me hurt anyone else, and didn't have the bajillion little adrenaline spikes you get as a street officer.
                  I miss you, Dave.
                  http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Have I ever had second thoughts about this field? You betcha. Many a night shift I have wondered how I found my way to being wide awake at 4 am while everyone else slept worry free. I have constantly regretted being on the road Christmas eve and thanksgiving. I get frustrated by the self centered attitudes that run rampant through the public. There probably isn't a day that I don't take a deep breath and wonder why I didn't stick to my dream and try and make it as a writer or journalist.

                    But... then there is the more frequent feeling of satisfaction I get with my job. I feel like I matter. If I was a writer, could I have helped a guy sleeping in a library bathroom on that Christmas eve find a spot in the homeless shelter? No. I get to make a difference. That's something that most people, no fault of their own, never get to do. So its worth the regrets.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jdthor View Post
                      Only during FTO
                      Right now that's been the only time.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CruiserClass View Post
                        I've been a dispatcher and I've been a street officer and I'm currently a detective. Honestly, detective is the least stressful, although it can be aggravating sometimes. Dispatcher in the middle, and street officer tops the list.

                        Dispatch is stressful just because you have so many things going on at once, and because sometimes you're on the mic for bad things happening and you can't do anything but wait for your guys to key up and be ok. However it never gave me nightmares, never got me hurt, never made me hurt anyone else, and didn't have the bajillion little adrenaline spikes you get as a street officer.
                        One of the most stressful times in my life was when I was stuck in dispatch during an incident where a friend was shot during a traffic stop. Especially since the incident happened about 8 blocks away from the office and I COULDNT BE THERE TO HELP.

                        I was always glad I was only trained in dispatch to assist and not be there permanently
                        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


                        • #13
                          I started LE at a young age (22, 21 if you count the police academy), and I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else. I love my job, although I've had some assignments I didn't particularly care for. I will say that there are times I wish I had more experiences career wise before LE. I wasn't in the military and my only jobs before LE were being a box boy and working on farms in the summer.

                          I have mixed emotions about whether or not I want my children to follow in my footsteps. On one hand, LE is so litigious that it worries me for the future of our newer recruits. On the other hand, I've been blessed to have a front row seat to the the greatest show on earth.

                          Stay safe.

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                          • #14
                            If you're already feeling burned out at 23, I suspect you're going to be very miserable in this career. Consider seeing a private career counselor.
                            Judge me by the enemies I have made----Unknown

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                            • #15
                              I don't regret becoming a cop, I regret the department I chose. Sadly, in my area any place I would or could go would mean a substantial paycut and potentially another academy.

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