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What did you do to educate yourself before becoming a cop?

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  • What did you do to educate yourself before becoming a cop?

    Pre academy and field training, was there any sorts of things you did to learn more about the occupation and various things you'd have to deal with and know in the field? Did you read? Did you take any crim justice classes or any classes given at a local police department? Did you have friends who were cops that you asked questions to? Could you maybe sum up what your overall knowledge was going into the job? What do you suggest things that are crucial for someone like me to school myself on?
    Last edited by JustDontDie; 09-05-2005, 11:59 PM.

  • #2
    There is nothing that I could have done to prepare myself for this job because it is extraordinarily unique and is unlike anything else that I have experienced. What can LE be compared to, really? LE is totally different from everything else, to include security.

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    • #3
      I took a job as a Dispatcher at the department I work for now as a Patrolman. At the time I was unsure what I wanted to do for a career but LE was on the top of my list.
      I am so thankful I did it because I learned so much and it confirmed this is where I want to be. You learn radio communications, the things that go on in a police department, motor vehicle and criminal laws...a lot of familiarity.
      I personally believe Dispatchers have the most important job and a lot of guys on the road (not all) don't realize how hard it is and don't appreciate them enough unless they have been there.
      I found juggling the phones, bs calls and emergency calls, keeping locations of the guys and everything else that came in was much more difficult than the side I am on now.
      Dispatching is a huge responsibility and requires a lot of patience. I would highly recommend it to anyone that is thinking of going into LE.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by me_again
        There is nothing that I could have done to prepare myself for this job because it is extraordinarily unique and is unlike anything else that I have experienced. What can LE be compared to, really? LE is totally different from everything else, to include security.
        I agree with you on that. I was an Auxiliary for 8 years (300 hrs or so a year) and thought I knew quite a bit, but then when I became a regular member the eye opening was HUGE!

        I am thankful I was an Aux before getting hired. I couldn't imagine getting to policing any other way. I always think of the people in my training class that were shocked when they found out people were going to try and hurt them because of the job they do!

        The one thing it did give me an advantage with was talking to dirties, opps, I mean clients.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JustDontDie
          Pre academy and field training, was there any sorts of things you did to learn more about the occupation and various things you'd have to deal with and know in the field? Did you read? Did you take any crim justice classes or any classes given at a local police department? Did you have friends who were cops that you asked questions to? Could you maybe sum up what your overall knowledge was going into the job? What do you suggest things that are crucial for someone like me to school myself on?


          ride alongs......volunteer work at a PD or SO...police cadet or intern.(explorers if you are of High School age)..CJ classes at colleges.....ANYTHING like that can help give you an edge over the next guy or girl testing for the same job as you.....(Ride alongs are good because they can give you a firsthand view of the job prior to doing it to see if it's something you really want to do)
          What would Dirty Harry do in a situation like this???

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          • #6
            I knew about it having a father and two Uncles on the job, It still did not prepare me for what I have experience or seen once I hit the street.

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            • #7
              Do ridealongs maybe an internship.....I recommend working in a jail or dispatch center awhile. Those will get you a grasp on the job. Study something that you like, whether it be business, engineering, psychology etc. CJ students are a dime a dozen. All those things in CJ programs they will teach you that in the academy. Plus those programs do not prepare yourself for the reality of the street. Plus with those other things you have a backup plan in case this doesn't work for you. Those skills also will help you in promotion. I have a bachelors/masters in public administration. I took very few CJ courses. Glad I did it.

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              • #8
                I started out as an LE volunteer and now I'm a civilian officer. I plan on being a fulltime LEO in a few years but in the meantime I'm taking things slow and learning day-by-day through my job, as well as through other kinds of community volunteering. I highly recommend going the LE volunteer/civilian officer route, but don't go overboard or rush with the LE experience. Its the general consensus these days that more is better and quantity over quality, but I have to disagree. I think it looks a lot better if you stay well-rounded by being active in the community, becoming a leader, etc. I've heard of some people whose CJ degrees, CCW permit, and explorer->volunteer->civilian->reserve I & II route actually kinda backfired in the hiring process. While it might seem that the more LE experienced, the better, I think law enforcement is one of those unique fields where they are looking what you can bring to the table, not just in terms of "job experience", but "life experiences" as well. It's one of those fields where you can't prepare for it overnight or in a matter of months, you'll learn over time and probably will for the rest of your life. Start now by volunteering and staying out of trouble. Excel at whatever you do and become a leader and role model for others. Respect authority, accept constructive criticism and learn from it. You can watch "cop shows" or read "cop books", but view them as entertainment, not research. Pick a major that interests you (something other than CJ)...an interesting subject will probably encourage you to excel academically. (I picked Poly Sci and I'm glad I chose that over criminology.) Save the CJ for the academy. Work on your "people skills" and self-confidence. Work on becoming a better person, you'll learn how to be an officer in field training. Remember, you can't become a good officer if you are not first, a good person. And getting a head start on PT is nice. Anyways, thats just how I view things, and thats how I'm approaching my future career. Good luck with things, hope I helped a bit.

                Edit: Sorry guys, didn't know this as Ask-a-cop. Thought I was in Job Center. I won't post here again.
                Last edited by reuters; 09-07-2005, 01:13 AM.

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                • #9
                  Spent alot of time around convicted felons...........working in state prison then a county jail for 1.5 years prior to being a cop.
                  Trooperden, akman75, & azmichelle ignored

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                  • #10
                    I started out as a Explorer in school, then did a stint as a dispatcher and traffic control, then went to part-time officer, and then full-time officer.

                    I certainly knew what I was getting into when I got here...

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                    • #11
                      My military training and background helped me alot in search and seizure, CQB and house-clearing, prisoner control - I also trained in martial arts.

                      However, just like everyone mentioned here, LE is totally a different animal. You gotta know the laws and statutes, individual rights, and other legal procedures. Totally different from what I was accustomed to like Rules of Engagement and Laws of War, EPW handling and laws in search & seizure.

                      Unfortunately, even though the BG you're dealing with is a total sh*tbag, you cannot just put a sandbag over his head, put him on his knees facing a wall and lean him on the wall with his face.
                      "Don't be an Idiot - Use your common sense!" - Freakapino

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