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LEO's, how much time do you get to spend at home, really?

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  • LEO's, how much time do you get to spend at home, really?

    Just wondering how much time you get with your families versus another job like 9 to 5 or whatever. As stated in previous posts, I am seriously considering applying at my local PD, I kinda have inside info that suggest I have a high likelyhood of getting the job but family is a major concern for me. Right now I work 24 on and 48 off. So basically I am gone every third day but I am home for 2 days. My wife has a full time job as a paralegal and 2 of my kids are in school and one in preschool. I love my family and don't want to burden my wife more than she already is on every third night.

    What's your comments? What shift(s) do you normally work and how do you make that work with your family life?

  • #2
    Well, I can't speak for the actual *job* itself but I personally would **NOT** give up a firefighter job for a police job. I'd love to have a FF's schedule. I would even be willing to take a pay cut to have the work schedule and amenities that the fire dept has. Also....

    * People generally like firefighters....

    * People generally don't shoot at, fight or sue the fire dept....

    * Cops generally don't have big screen TV's and 6-8 lounger chairs at the
    station
    "Get busy dying or get busy living".....Andy Dufrain, Shawshank Redemption

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    • #3
      Well our FD is serving a pop. of about 7000. There is only 4 full time guys. 3 ff and a chief we work 1 person on for 24 hours and the chief works 5 8hr days. It gets very boring around here. The most runs in any year of this dept. was 111 calls in 1 year! No joke. Typically we run a total of about 85 to 90 calls in a year of those only 15 or 20 are actual structure fires, mostly false alarms and "my cats in a tree" or some other type nothing call. It gets really boring looking out the window all day. I honestly cannot tell you why we have full time ff's. A neighboring town is about 5000 pop. and they are all volunteer, they have an ISO of 4, ours is 5. So fulltime has no bearing on that. I like the job but the boredom and lack of $$$ is getting to me. I am not a lazy person and would rather do something rather than sit on my can all day.

      I love it when we get calls and I actually get to do something but those are few and far between. Think about this....we run maybe 2 or 3 calls per week. I only work 2 to 3 days per week, so I may not actually get a run of any kind for months. I have went 3 or 4 months without actually driving the truck to the scene before. Not including repsonding off duty, just on duty runs.

      Becoming a police officer will allow me to be out in the public and (not to sound corny but...) maybe make a difference in my community. I'm not totaly committed yet, but it is very likely I am going to apply within the next day or two.
      Last edited by safetyobc; 07-25-2005, 06:22 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Blue Leader
        Well, I can't speak for the actual *job* itself but I personally would **NOT** give up a firefighter job for a police job. I'd love to have a FF's schedule. I would even be willing to take a pay cut to have the work schedule and amenities that the fire dept has. Also....

        * People generally like firefighters....

        * People generally don't shoot at, fight or sue the fire dept....

        * Cops generally don't have big screen TV's and 6-8 lounger chairs at the
        station
        you forgot the part about grilling steaks in the parking lot , my old sgt. put it to me best, the police come & stop someone from kickin your butt, then they (butt kickee) hate the police for taking them (butt kicker) to jail, but the fire dept. comes, breaks your door, and floods your house, and they love them for it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by safetyobc
          I love it when we get calls and I actually get to do something but those are few and far between. Think about this....we run maybe 2 or 3 calls per week. I only work 2 to 3 days per week, so I may not actually get a run of any kind for months. I have went 3 or 4 months without actually driving the truck to the scene before. Not including responding off duty, just on duty runs.
          Well I guess a third option could always be to relocate to a city with a bigger population where you could get a full time position (if you truly love fire fighting as much as you seem to). We have a fire station at the street level of the high rise I work at and like clock work I hear them rushing off to a scene every 1-2 hours with that gigantic high rise ladder, a pumper truck and 2 ambulances. I just refer to them as the Calvary... except they're a lot louder.

          (Not saying you need to move to a metropolis, but you get the idea. I suppose it would all depend on how firmly you
          Last edited by chris91604; 07-26-2005, 04:46 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by safetyobc
            Just wondering how much time you get with your families versus another job like 9 to 5 or whatever. As stated in previous posts, I am seriously considering applying at my local PD, I kinda have inside info that suggest I have a high likelyhood of getting the job but family is a major concern for me. Right now I work 24 on and 48 off. So basically I am gone every third day but I am home for 2 days. My wife has a full time job as a paralegal and 2 of my kids are in school and one in preschool. I love my family and don't want to burden my wife more than she already is on every third night.

            What's your comments? What shift(s) do you normally work and how do you make that work with your family life?
            Well for me, my wife works 9am to 5pm and I work the 4pm to 12am shift, she has weekends off and I am working a 5 on 2 off, 5 on 3 off schedule and average about 16-24 hours of O/T weekly. Every once in a while we will meet somewhere in passing though.....
            What we are dealing with here.......is a complete lack of respect for the law (Sheriff Buford T. Justice)

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            • #7
              I work 40 hours weekly. The other 128 hours are mine.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by safetyobc
                Just wondering how much time you get with your families versus another job like 9 to 5 or whatever.
                No where even close to someone with a "normal" job.

                K9

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                • #9
                  Lets see, time with my family, hmmm... I've got a wife, a couple of daughters and someone is always in PMS mode, so I'm lucky to get 4 or 5 good days a month!

                  Seriously, on my off time, I'm home by about 4:00pm and I'm lucky enough to have weekends and holidays off. I spend my time with my wife and kids. Even with a part-time job, I still get time for the family.
                  Extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice. Barry Goldwater

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                  • #10
                    safetyobc, I guess it kind of depends on what kind of LE Agency you will be working for, as to whether it is the kind that has enough personnel to have people on shift 24/7, either working 8 to 12 hour shifts, or if it is the kind with "quiet hours" where no one is on duty and you "volunteer" (or are "volun-told"!) to take calls before or after your regular shift and on days off.

                    As well it depends on whether the Commander or Chief "expects" her/his personnel to come in on days off to get reports (operational or administrative) completed, or understands that her/his people give her/him a hard 8 to 12 hours during their scheduled time, including completion of necessary paperwork, and all other hours beyond that belong solely to her/his personnel to use as they see fit (in keeping with prevailing laws, as well as lawful policy regarding alcohol consumption, persons able to be associated with and secondary income).

                    From what I read of most USA Municipal PS, you SHOULD be able to leave your work behind when you are not on shift, but it SOUNDS like USA Sheriff Offices and some State Police/Highway Patrol Agencies MAY expect the on-call and off-duty committment, much like my Force.

                    As far Fire Departments/Services, at my last posting, which was a city of about 7500, the FD/S was completely volunteer. At my current posting, a city of about 10000, there is a full time Chief, full time Deputy Chief and 4 full time firefighters, plus a large number of on-call volunteers. That FD/S also covers a large rural area on a fee-for-service basis. Many other surrounding rural areas or towns have volunteer FD/S, and one area just North of North Dakota is covered by Fortuna ND FD/S.

                    Besides, safetyobc, why would you want to join a PS? Why not get a real job? And, if you do, see if they will take a wishing-to-be-retired Canadian LEO/PO, because I am looking for a real job - that is, once I grow up!
                    #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                    Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                    RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                    Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                    "Smile" - no!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well it is manned dept 24/7. 8 hour shifts. They have

                      8am to 4pm - usually 3 officers on duty
                      3pm to 12am - usually 3 officers on duty
                      8pm to 4am- 1 officer on this shift
                      12am to 8am - 2 officers on this shift

                      Why don't I get a real job? huh? You talking to me? I've had the "real jobs" construction, roofing, etc. THEY SUCK!! In construction to get the real $$$ you have to travel and you are never home and it is HOT for 10 to 12 and sometimes 16 hours per day! It is cold. It is wet. I realize police and fire get hot, cold, wet, and everything in between but not all day every day. I'm not saying it is easy, just different. Also, there is no future at most jobs around here. (S. Arkansas) So with the PD offering certified training after hiring and retirement.....That's hard to beat. They will send the rookie to the Academy before he/she is there a year on their dime and pay you while you are there, then after you graduate, you get a raise. The Fire dept I am with, I have been there 3 years and no Academy training thus far and none in the forseable future. The State of Arkansas passed a law last year that requires full time firefighters to attend the 8 week fire academy if they are hired after 1-1-05. I was hired 10-24-02. So that means the next guy to get hired, goes to the academy and I don't. I'll eventually be the only one there without certification and when the Chief job comes open.....I'll be left in the dark because of lack of training.

                      Plus, I really have a desire to do some good in my community. Something is really drawing me to the job. I had an officer from the dept. talk to me about it almost 6 months ago telling me how they would like to have me up there and pretty much if I applied, I'd get the job because the chief had been watching me at the FD and liked my work ethic. I went in and talked with the Police Chief and discussed working for him. I go the application and filled it out then put it on a shelf.....I had to make sure I wasn't just getting caught up in the excitement. So it has been about 6 months and I still desire to serve the public as an officer.....But Dang is it hard to leave the FD. That is why I am struggling with the decision so much. The pay and retirement is A LOT better at the PD. But the hours are really what's weighing on me so much. I have 48 hours off and only work 24. That deal is hard to beat, even if the $$ does suck! But, we have a full time firefighter who has been with our dept for 27 YEARS and is only making $1000/year more than me. That's it! There really isn't a future at our FD and I like where I live right now. My wife has a stable job my kids are in school, etc, etc. My roots aren't permenant but at this point in my life they are stable.
                      Last edited by safetyobc; 07-26-2005, 03:15 PM.

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                      • #12
                        I gues I didn't factor in the $$ possibility either but the fact that you're in Arkansas has something to do with that as well. The FF's in our city all make about $65K before OT and after OT, most make over $100K. We had (1) Captain make over $250K with OT....
                        "Get busy dying or get busy living".....Andy Dufrain, Shawshank Redemption

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ha, here I am making $17,500/ year before OT. After OT I make around $22,000. (that is why I have had up to 3 jobs, so really I am not just laying around for the 48 hours I'm off....I gotta feed my family) The ff that has been there 27 years, he makes $18,500/year. OH, and I forgot, we get a bonus called "Hazard Pay" per month. That is $25.00 per month no matter length of employment. The PD gets it also but theres goes up with # of years worked, I think the top now is $350 or $400/ month bonus.

                          It is really unfair in our city. We have requested raise after raise and also an equal hazard pay as the police but was told "don't compare yourselves to police officers" by the mayor.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Blue Leader
                            Well, I can't speak for the actual *job* itself but I personally would **NOT** give up a firefighter job for a police job. I'd love to have a FF's schedule. I would even be willing to take a pay cut to have the work schedule and amenities that the fire dept has. Also....

                            * People generally like firefighters....

                            * People generally don't shoot at, fight or sue the fire dept....

                            * Cops generally don't have big screen TV's and 6-8 lounger chairs at the
                            station
                            * Sleeping is considered part of the shift.



                            I'm curious if your department goes to medical aids. The area where I work the FDs began going to all medical aides several years ago to increase their stats to justify their existence. (They were trying to pass property tax assessments for paid positions and more equippment).



                            I would imagine like most areas in this country, your city will experience growth which will increase responsibilities for your department. If you are young then I would imagine you will grow (promote / pay raises) with the department. I would take a long look at where you are and the potential of where you might go in your department before jumping ship. LE is not just a career. The vast majority of folks in LE see it as a calling or destiny. LE is not a popular profession and the amount of negative aspects to it have a tendency to stress people in some unimagineable ways. If your just looking for a job change then do some serious thinking before taking the plunge.

                            To answer your question:

                            My schedule is five days on with two days off. I never have weekends off. I am subject to being called out, (just like firemen at a station, but I'm at home and not getting paid to wait for a call, but I can't leave either), three or four nights a week.
                            Job description as told by an old timer: "Drive fast cars, look at pretty women, and drink coffee".

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                            • #15
                              Nope, no medical. Fire only. Very very few accidents we respond to. Maybe 5 or 6 a year. Total calls in a typical year is about 85 to 90 TOTAL! We could do more but the city and fire chief and other 2 ff don't won't to change a thing. They like watching TV and laying around. As stated earlier, I'm more proactive and have never been afraid of working hard. Also, it definately wouldn't be just a career change. I do honestly have a desire to work in LE. I'm just a little nervous to trust my feelings and take the plunge.

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