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  • Feedback on my planning please.

    Hey Im 20 and preparing to apply to the City of Phoenix police.

    The city of Phoenix allows applications to start 6 months before the age of 21, so that way when the long process is over you can start the academy at 21. I plan to do this. I want to jump right in with both feet. Here is all the relevant info I can think of to my chances when applying.

    My complete criminal history.

    Age 16- Curfew ticket
    Age 16- Shoplifting 9dollars and change. Soda pop where I worked. Dumb I know but I hear the best thing when applying is to be brutally honest with the dept.

    Age 18- Speeding ticket
    Age 18- Stop sign ticket
    Age 18- Speeding ticket (This one was dropped off my record when i went to traffic school)

    After high school I attended college for 3 semesters. I basically flunked out. I have about 30 credits and want to get a 60 credit degree in CJ with the tuition reimbursement program the dept. offers.

    I have always been an excellent test taker and plan to score very high on the police application test. I would get 95th percentile or above on all standardized tests growing up.

    Well not a perfect record but nothing real serious either. Any advice?

  • #2
    Finish college or join the military. Four years ago you were in a position of trust and demonstrated a lack of integrity. You have very little life experience as an adult.

    I'm not trying to be an ***, but reality is what it is and the reality is that you are going to be competing against people who have four year degrees and or military experience behind them. People who have spotless records.

    I wont say that you don't have a chance, because I have seen some idiots get hired, but if you want to be competetive you need to do a little more to stand out.

    Good luck
    "there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter." Ernest Hemingway


    • #3
      I agree with jeep; finish school and/or join the military. You can join the reserves or national guard and get money to pay for school.

      I was in your position 8 years ago. 20 1/2 and chomping at the bit to be a police officer. I ended up passing all of the testing and my first day of the academy was 9 days after I turned 21. I had 2 1/2 years of college under my belt but had little "real world" experience. Though I was 21 and thought I knew everything, I was too young and not mature enough to handle the job.

      If I had it to do over again, I would have finished college (which I have yet to do) and I would have most likely enlisted in the military. I see quite a few of the new guys who are 23-25 years old with military experience and they were way more squared away that I was at their age.

      I know that you want to be a cop so bad that you can taste it, I did. If you plan on doing this as a career, what is 2 or 3 years in a 30 years career? Not much really. Get your education now which will make you that better of a candidate when you do apply.


      • #4
        Ditto Webjeep and z2. You gotta have at least a degree to stay competitive. Let me give you an example...I personally know someone with no degree or military experience, and while he had massive explorer/reserve experience, it still took him at least 3 years to get hired...and thats with LE experience. The LE market is flooded with apps and having either a college degree or military experience not just shows, but proves that you are goal oriented, perserverant, etc etc etc. Its not just about the education itself, but the commitment and hard work that a degree or military experience symbolizes. Hopefully this helped a bit...good luck.

        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, 01:14 AM.


        • #5
          My financial situation is hurting right now. I was hoping to take classes when i got hired since they give reimbursement for related school.

          I definitely want my degree but right now it is hard to find any job where I can afford enroll in classes. Rent, car, car insurance really add up and eat up most of my paychecks.

          I really appreciate your advice and agree with the schooling part.

          I'm looking to get hired as a dispatcher until I apply as a LEO. Between now and then I'd like to take some CJ towards my associates at least. If I apply while I am in school for CJ do you think that would reflect well?

          I still really want to give it a shot and want to continue my education now and after I (hopefully) get hired. Would it hurt to apply in november anyway?


          • #6
            Feedback on planning

            I can only agree with the advice you've been given. Your arrest record, and traffic history would be of concern to my department, though not necessarily disqualifying. A successful tour of duty in any branch of the Armed Forces,or the Arizona National Guard would be of benefit to you as well. This would put some distance between the errors in judgement,and establish a record of reliability and maturity as well.


            • #7
              I was never arrested. I just got served tickets when I was 16.

              I am worried to join the reserve or guard because my gf is very important to me and we plan on getting married. I wouldn't want to leave for a prolonged period to a place like Iraq. Is there any way to join where I can guarantee working near home? I have the smarts for the more technical positions in the miltary also.

              OK I am looking at ASU online to finish my associates degree at least. Safer than the military and sounds like it will be as good. Alot of cops on here say getting a CJ degree doesn't matter much and that maybe an unrelated degree would be better!

              Anyone wanna drop some good suggestions for majors?
              Last edited by Faint; 09-07-2005, 12:09 PM.


              • #8
                You've received good advice here. Most people aren't ready to be cops when they're 21. It's a rare person who has the necessary amount of life experience at that age to do well, so a 21 year old applicant is looked at a bit more closely, anyway. Your juvenile and young adult record is pretty sad. If you were to join the reserves or National Guard, you would get money for school and gain some valuable life experience. By the time you finish your hitch, and assuming you live right in the meantime, those other issues will be so far in your past that they should be negligible for hurting you on a background investigation.
                Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.


                • #9
                  OK I contacted the AZ national guard as I would like to do something that would keep me close to home. I'm gonna go ace their test and see what they offer me.

                  I spose a good course would be to get hired as a dispatcher while im in the guard and then apply after a couple years. Would I need to wait until my tour was completely up in the guard to apply as a cop?

                  Thanks so much for all your advice.


                  • #10
                    If you can "ace" all these tests, why did you flunk out? Should have stayed in school and graduated. But with "should of" aside, go back to school or go the military route. Find a job where you can gain some maturity and show that you can be ethical and honest. As of your description right now, I would not foresee Phoenix or anyother PD taking a chance on you right now.

                    Getting a 100% on a police application test is fine and dandy, but it only gets you to the next step in the process. You would have major problems during any police officer interview with your lack of experience and education. Remember, you are applying with other applicants who, basically, you are competing with to get the job. You have to market yourself as the best candidate there is for the job, and be able to back up why they want you and what you could do for them. If money is tight, take out some loans like most people do. Relying on a department to get an education is thinking backwards.

                    Last edited by K9 Police; 09-07-2005, 01:37 PM.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for your reply K9.

                      I just got back form the military recuitment test and scored in the 98th percentile of all test takers. I think I could get a good bonus and some great experience and background with a tour with the natl guard. I'm very seriosuly considering it considering I just qaulified for all the jobs also.

                      To answer your question K9. I had no drive. My major was undeclared. I was trying to tell myself about these goals I had heard other people say were good but I didn't care for at all. I agree that I definitely blew an oppurtunity there but I was just taking random classes with no real long term goal. Now I have a goal.

                      New plan:

                      Continue school and get a job as a dispatcher for now. Probably go for the national guard because it isn't a huge time commitment but I can learn some great skills and ease my financial situation. I feel if i work dispatching, working in the guard, and get some more schooling then I can hopefully make myself a prime candidate for the police force. My ultimate goal is to move beyond patrol to a special crime division once I can get a look at all the variety of them.

                      Thanks for your info people and giving me some great advice about putting on the breaks and preparing well!


                      • #12
                        Feedback on planning

                        In my original reply to your post, I suggested a tour in the Arizona National Guard. I stand by my recommendation, but you need to understand that there is no guarantee you won't be deployed to Iraq or another location outside of Arizona. Guard and Reserve units are now a large part of our standing Military force. In regards to your girlfriend. Be certain that she understands some of the risks, and the unusual hours etc, associated with law enforcement. If you have palns for marriage down the road, it's going to be of the utmost importance that she understand your career goals. It will be difficult enough with her understanding and support. It will be hell without it.


                        • #13
                          Even if she is very familiar with law enforcement, and understands all the aspects due to family in law enforcement, it can still be VERY HARD. What you put her through will be a lot, and that is an understatement.



                          • #14
                            I understand the risk of deploying. If I am too scared to deploy then how could i be a cop? It isn't the danger of being in combat I'm worried about. i'll deal with that as it comes. It is being away for a long time. But since I scored so high I can pick my spot and I am picking a unit that has a low likelyhood of deployment. Search and rescue medic. Also they are giving me 10000 dollars! Paying off my old school loans and paying me to go back to school after basic.

                            Now I am jsut trying to decide if I should be in the guard for 3 or 6 years. I think if I go six my chances of getting deployed will be pretty high. But they compensate me better for doing 6. That is what I can't decide right now.


                            • #15
                              Faint, slow down a little. You don't have to make any quick or rash decisions, especially if its going to effect you for the next 6 years. Take a deep breath and think things through a little before just jumping all over. You went from your original post of only a couple days ago about applying to PPD, to going back to school, to not wanting to go into the armed forces because of possible marriage, to now thinking about 6 years of national guard duty. Definetly not light thinking. Don't rush this, especially something as important and critical as joining the armed forces.



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