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Did I make the wrong choice in pursuing correctionals BEFORE law enforcement?

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  • Did I make the wrong choice in pursuing correctionals BEFORE law enforcement?

    Hello, this is my first post on here,

    I'll briefly explain who I am (vaguely) before I continue on with the post,
    I currently live in Florida, lived in California the majority of my life. I am in my early 20s, in-shape, and healthy mentally and physically.
    I am a recent graduate of my local uni, I have received a bachelors degree in CJ, I am aware it is not very versatile but I can't say I didn't follow my interest/passion. I am curious about pursuing a master's but I am not sure yet.
    I am interested in thriving within my profession, so I am processing things more as stepping stones, than something I will join and stick with for life. I eventually would like to do detective/investigative work rather than be a street cop or combative in the long run. Any wisdom provided on the matter would be appreciated.


    I have a clean record (never had legal issues, never took any drug, never committed a crime), the only bane I have regarding my records I guess is getting myself into a car accident around March of this year , I didn't properly estimate when to make the turn on an unmarked road, similar to a four-lane expressway and the other car t-boned me, I and the other party was not marked for reckless driving, I was at fault, I did not receive compensation. Keep in mind prior to this accident I have not been driving for long, so my lack of experience was a contribution to me getting into this accident. We both lost our cars due to this.


    TL;DR, I am a young, healthy, educated (BA) person with no dirt on my record except for a non-fatal but total-loss car accident (I got hit but I was legally at fault) but I do not have ANY professional experience within the field, nor have I served. I live in Florida.

    I have applied for a corrections academy and was accepted, now I just have to get checked and polygraphed, once that goes through and I get the OK I'll start training next year.

    However, after telling someone the news, I was scolded by someone, they felt that I did not make the right choice, claimed I should have kept trying to apply to LEO academies before settling with corrections. They feel I should have just become a security guard, and keep trying to apply to LE academies.

    The issue is that, aside from having a clean record and a degree, I honestly do NOT believe that I would have been a very outstanding candidate compared to the rest who may also have a degree AND have had experience directly with the field somehow or have served. The academy I applied to also offers a cross-over program (from CO to LEO), which means I could eventually become a LEO eventually. It is not necessarily ideal to start off as a CO for me, but with what I have at this moment- it does not seem realistic I would be able to start off as a LEO. I decided to post-pone my PAT/BMST for the time being, as most likely the cross-over program will not occur until early 2021, and as far as I know - the results are only valid for a year, and taking these tests cost money.

    Someone I know who is basically similar to me (never had work experience in the field, but has a bachelor's degree but car accidents that they were legally at fault for, including reckless driving) has been rejected several times by the same academy, but for LEO. I do not think we are that different whatsoever minus what we majored in.

    So my question is, do you think I should have become a security guard and kept trying to apply to LE academies, or is starting off as a CO a more favorable choice?

    Any advice or discussions regarding your experience is appreciated as well.
    Last edited by Choccy-Espresso; 11-27-2019, 04:22 PM.

  • #2
    Are you paying for the CO academy? FDC is always hiring somewhere.

    After college I went to work with FDC. There's nothing wrong with starting out as a CO. It's also a good way to get the state to pay for some of your training.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by westside popo View Post
      Are you paying for the CO academy? FDC is always hiring somewhere.

      After college I went to work with FDC. There's nothing wrong with starting out as a CO. It's also a good way to get the state to pay for some of your training.
      Hello,
      Yes , I sadly am paying out of pocket.
      FDC doesn't sound like a bad option, but I kind of would like to see working with courts instead. However, if I have to I'll look into other options.

      Comment


      • #4
        If you are paying for it why not do the police academy? I think the certification was good for 4 years unless you worked for an agency. Even then there are ways to get recertified without repeating the entire academy.
        I would check with the county jails too. The training is the same in FL for jail officers and COs.

        Comment


        • #5
          You shouldn't have to "SETTLE" for Corrections.

          I spent 30 yrs behind bars AFTER being a deputy sheriff for 5 yrs and returning to my original job (which was Corrections)

          My career progressed to a supervisory level where I was Shift supervisor and most senior person on duty at the penitentiary overnights for 14 yrs. It gave me an EXCELLENT state pension that makes life very nice in retirement .

          I never felt i "SETTLED" for anything
          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


          • #6
            He's probably the first person I've heard of, paying for the corrections academy, out of pocket in Florida or Georgia.

            Florida Department of Corrections is a little bit more selective in the hiring process than Georgia Department of Corrections but they still aren't that hard to get hired. Don't know about jail officers down there.

            A lot of the LEO agencies down there, at least where I'm from, generally want you to be certified before they hire you. So if you want to get into LE and are going to pay for one out of pocket then I would go to the police academy. Just my opinion.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
              You shouldn't have to "SETTLE" for Corrections.

              I spent 30 yrs behind bars AFTER being a deputy sheriff for 5 yrs and returning to my original job (which was Corrections)

              My career progressed to a supervisory level where I was Shift supervisor and most senior person on duty at the penitentiary overnights for 14 yrs. It gave me an EXCELLENT state pension that makes life very nice in retirement .

              I never felt i "SETTLED" for anything
              I appreciate your response. I am glad it is something you excelled at and have been rewarded for your work.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by westside popo View Post
                He's probably the first person I've heard of, paying for the corrections academy, out of pocket in Florida or Georgia.

                Florida Department of Corrections is a little bit more selective in the hiring process than Georgia Department of Corrections but they still aren't that hard to get hired. Don't know about jail officers down there.

                A lot of the LEO agencies down there, at least where I'm from, generally want you to be certified before they hire you. So if you want to get into LE and are going to pay for one out of pocket then I would go to the police academy. Just my opinion.
                The issue is, the physical test that is required for me to apply to the specific academy I am joining is VERY limited in terms of scheduling. I was just not able to schedule a date to conduct the PAT in time for me to apply to the full-time LE academy there for even the remainder of this year- the only date available in 2019 was a month too late from the full-time LE academy I wanted to apply to. My only option now is to take the PAT around December 5th, which is the second to last day to apply for the part-time LE academy that is from the same institution. I am not sure if getting a certification to be a CO within 3 months would be objectively worse than doing a law enforcement academy that will take about 11 months to complete.

                Yes, I am aware that certifications/sponsorships would be ideal, but it is not super easy to obtain them, but I do agree with you- if I can enter LE whilst paying for myself I might as well keep trying to join LE.
                Last edited by Choccy-Espresso; 11-28-2019, 12:37 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Getting a certification to be a CO is not "worse." Most appear to get into corrections for the pay and benefits. At least that was the reason 95% of the people I worked with at the institution and the reason they gave in my academy class.

                  Most of them probably wouldn't have paid for the academy out of their pockets. There were a few that got interested in LE after being on the job for a while and done the cross over course.


                  The prisons use to hire you, start paying you and let you shadow a certified officer until the academy started. They'll pay you during the academy. But it's your money spend it how you want.

                  JFYI FL has incentive pay for those working in corrections or LE. Once you get certified you'll get $80 a month for having a BA degree. You can get more but you'll have to ask the agency that hires you how.
                  Last edited by westside popo; 11-28-2019, 09:32 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Choccy-Espresso View Post

                    I appreciate your response. I am glad it is something you excelled at and have been rewarded for your work.
                    The point I was trying to make is that if you feel you are settling by going into Corrections..................don't bother , they don't want you.

                    People who WANT to work in Corrections make much better CO's than ones who are looking to use the job as a stepping stone.
                    Last edited by Iowa #1603; 11-28-2019, 08:34 AM.
                    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


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by westside popo View Post
                      Getting a certification to be a CO is not "worse." Most appear to get into corrections for the pay and benefits. At least that was the reason 95% of the people I worked with at the institution and the reason they gave in my academy class.

                      Most of them probably wouldn't have paid for the academy out of their pockets. There were a few that got interested in LE after being on the job for a while and done the cross over course.


                      The prisons use to hire you, start paying you and let you shadow a certified officer until the academy started. They'll pay you during the academy. But it's your money spend it how you want.

                      JFYI FL has incentive pay for those working in corrections or LE. Once you get certified you'll get $80 a month for having a BA degree. You can get more but you'll have to ask the agency that hires you how.
                      I see, it's something I'll look into. I appreciate the information.

                      Sorry but what does JFYI stand for? I tried googling it and I didn't really gets results regarding that abbreviation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Corrections is a completely separate and satisfying career separate from law enforcement... and arguably MORE vital. The experience you gain in corrections and detention is valuable if you decide to crossover to law enforcement... but corrections isn't the "law enforcement minor leagues".

                        Neither is better or worse, some people are more suited to one over the other. I started with a Sheriff's office working the jail. I did OK but I'm better suited to law enforcement.

                        A cousin works for CA DOC. He's a former Army MP, apparently loves his job and has done quite well for himself.

                        A former co-worker from the jail thought she wanted to do corrections as her career. Her goal was to get hired as a detention officer by the USMS. Her degree is even in "corrections management" or some such. After exposure to the small Sheriff's Office we worked for and all the different things you can do in Law Enforcement she eventually changed her mind, was hired by the largest full-service SO in Colorado, started in the jail with them, attended their academy and she will graduate FTO soon as a road deputy, if she hasn't already.

                        The point being, corrections IS a good place to start,... but it's also a good place to stay IF that's where you're happy. Don't go into this job already looking to the next thing, you won't be happy and you won't do well. Go into it with the intent of learning everything you can and becoming the best CO you can be.. and after you've done that decide if you're happy or want to move on. There's no shame in either.

                        All his life has he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. What he was doing.
                        Yoda
                        "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

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post
                          Corrections is a completely separate and satisfying career separate from law enforcement... and arguably MORE vital. The experience you gain in corrections and detention is valuable if you decide to crossover to law enforcement... but corrections isn't the "law enforcement minor leagues".

                          Neither is better or worse, some people are more suited to one over the other. I started with a Sheriff's office working the jail. I did OK but I'm better suited to law enforcement.

                          A cousin works for CA DOC. He's a former Army MP, apparently loves his job and has done quite well for himself.

                          A former co-worker from the jail thought she wanted to do corrections as her career. Her goal was to get hired as a detention officer by the USMS. Her degree is even in "corrections management" or some such. After exposure to the small Sheriff's Office we worked for and all the different things you can do in Law Enforcement she eventually changed her mind, was hired by the largest full-service SO in Colorado, started in the jail with them, attended their academy and she will graduate FTO soon as a road deputy, if she hasn't already.

                          The point being, corrections IS a good place to start,... but it's also a good place to stay IF that's where you're happy. Don't go into this job already looking to the next thing, you won't be happy and you won't do well. Go into it with the intent of learning everything you can and becoming the best CO you can be.. and after you've done that decide if you're happy or want to move on. There's no shame in either.
                          Yeah, I didn't appreciate the scolding from my peer irl because they don't seem to understand that CO is a different experience, and it's something that would genuinely benefit me, not really get in the way or waste my time as they're claiming. But they also don't really understand much about the field either so that's probably why they feel they way.

                          It seems that the field is expansive. Interesting story to think about , gives a notion of how things can change once you get into it.

                          I mean, yeah it's hard for me to be conclusive professionally if I haven't even started yet, but I am serious about diving into the field and growing from it. Corrections seems nice from the COs I've talked to while doing a court study.

                          Thanks for the advice, it helps.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've only met one person ever who was in corrections and preferred it over being a cop, but then again they were never a cop. They were content with what they had?

                            Why don't you apply to Border Patrol? 2-3 years in you'll make double or triple what a FL CO makes, and you're already qualified by having a degree? And rest assured, BP does not give a crap about your car accident. You could be from application to academy in 6-7 months with their current rapid hiring process.
                            UNITED STATES BORDER PATROL
                            "90 years of tradition unhindered by progress!"


                            honor first

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                            • #15
                              Corrections is Law Enforcement...

                              Comment

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