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  • Am I too late?

    Am I too late?

    I am approaching 50 years old, and although I keep in shape [exercise, eat right, live a clean life, etc], I know I can't compete with many of the 21 year old cadets.

    I have worked as an engineer my entire career, and yes you guessed it, always wanted to become a police officer. Although I have a ton of life experiences, I recently became an Auxiliary Police Officer to gain more relevant experience - working with fine folks like yourselves - sworn police officers - who I've always admired, and now hope to become. However, I'm thinking my only realistic chance of gaining such a status would be to pursue part-time police work, since some of the departments; such as colleges, universities and some municipalities, list no upper age limit for part-time police work.

    My game plan would include offering the departments a low-risk undertaking; that is, if I passed all the exams, BI, poly, etc, I would agree to fund the academy training. This way, if for some reason I wash out, they would incur little or no dollar loss. I assume all the risk. My questions relating to my endeavor are:

    Would this approach of paying for my training help my chances?

    Are there any states that you know of that have a less strict academy training regime? Again, I'm pushing 50...I don't think I can make it through a Marine style boot camp.

    Or…do you think I'm living in a fantasy world, where my only realistic chance is becoming a security guard?

    Thanks in advance. And again...you guys and gals that risk your neck everyday, some of us civilians respect and appreciate all you do [so much that I want to join in the effort myself!!] You're the best!!

  • #2
    I don't think an offer to pay for your academy training is going to make any difference at all. That's a matter of department policy. Some states make extensive use of regional police academies (usually associated with local colleges) where students can "self-sponsor" and fund their own training, then market themselves to LE agencies. In other states, you can't go to the police academy unless your agency sends you. I have no idea how it works in Illinois.

    There are agencies that will hire you, but it will be tough finding them. Your maturity is a big plus, but the agency also has to weigh the factor of how long you are going to be able to serve. I'm only a little older than you, and I was a cop from the time I was 26 to age 41. 50 is not old for a lot of things, but it is old for a street cop. You can be in better shape than most of the cops half your age, but you are still not going to bounce back from injuries as fast, and the day when you just won't be able to do the job anymore is obviously closer than for someone younger. I would also take an assessment of your abilities that go beyond physical fitness. I think I could do the physical job of a street officer even now (several of my academy classmates are still active cops), but my hearing is shot. I know I wouldn't be able to drive around with the window down and simultaneously keep track of what's going on outside the car, listen to two police radios, and carry on a conversation with anyone that might be riding with me.

    Any agency hiring you has to make a considerable investment in you, even if you come to them with an academy diploma. You have to complete a field training program, and you will require extra supervision as you learn the job.

    If you are willing to relocate, you might have a much better shot. Some agencies, especially those that can't offer competitive salaries (think: rural) might be glad to have you. Even the big agencies might give you a chance. I know LAPD made a big deal of graduating a 56-year-old man from their academy some years back, but I heard privately that their experience with him was less than encouraging. That might have been just him, and that might have been his age.
    Tim Dees, now writing as a plain old forum member, his superpowers lost to an encounter with gold kryptonite.

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    • #3
      If you were in Phx I'd say apply for the Reserves & see if it's REALLY what you want. As to the age thing--- we had a 52 yr old go through the Academy here (ex Airborne) & he did just fine--actually he's a pretty darn good cop. Many agencies use the Cooper Standards for their physical requirements & althought they're not easy they do adjust for age. Out here there is no age limit but you must perform up to the standard for your age.

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      • #4
        WHP will hire in a second. The academy has gone to low stress - there is PT but it's based upon age.

        There are others out there too, but like Tim says, you'll have to shop around.

        Good luck pops!

        JG - (I'm 51, BTW, I'm laughing with you. Hopefully!)
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        • #5
          If it's what you want to do then go for it! Don't let a low number like 50 stop you. GOOD LUCK!
          "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything!"-Wyatt Earp

          "You never know when crazy will show up!"-Irishdep

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          • #6
            Thanks

            ......

            Good luck pops!

            JG - (I'm 51, BTW, I'm laughing with you. Hopefully!) [/QUOTE]

            Thank you all very much for your help. I continue to research my options, and your input has pointed me down a viable path. A special thanks to 1042 Trooper for calling me "pops"...you know.....instead of "gramps"!!

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