Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Seeking Guidance

Collapse

300x250 Mobile

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Seeking Guidance

    Hi, I'm not looking for the answer to any burning questions so much as I'm hoping for some general guidance for someone in my position. Thanks in advance for any help offered, and sorry for the length of this post.

    I'm currently 23, and after years of pressure to do things I wasn't interested in, I've decided to get my BA in criminology/psych. I come from an academic family, so I'll have to at least finish my Master's, and I'm sure a Doctorate will be expected at some point if I can complete it.

    Because I'm starting out with a few more years behind me than might be typical, and because I'm more academically inclined than practically gifted, I'm not sure what my chances are like if I want to become a police officer. Starting such a career from the ground floor at 28 is daunting. What I'm really interested in is working as a criminologist, with an emphasis on criminal psychology, and ideally, I'd like to work with a police department, rather than a private organization.

    I'm not sure how attainable this goal is, or what other options I should look into while I'm at it. I'd like to start out with as much information as I can get. I also want to have a realistic view of what I ought to do along the way to have the best chance of getting the career I want.

    I'm a Canadian, but because of family precedent, I'm going to be able to attend an American school for the last two years of my BA and for grad school. Ideally, even if it takes some more time, I'd like to work in the states (I've read the threads about Canadians wanting to work in the U.S.).

    Absolutely any guidance anyone can offer me would be so greatly appreciated. From educational stuff, to volunteer work suggestions, to career advice, I'm sure I'll benefit from a push or two in the right direction.

    Thanks so much.
    Last edited by alex_w; 12-30-2008, 03:05 PM.

  • #2
    While I am sure they are out there, I have seen very few government jobs in the CJ field that place an full time emphasis on psychology to the degree you have in mind. Come to think of it, in 33 years I only knew one person employed in that field. He was a psychologist for the County of Los Angeles who did evals for Deputy applicants and post event evals for Deputies who had been involved in shootings or other critical incidents.

    A number of agencies may employ people who are profilers, hostage negotiators, peer support counselors, etc. While these positions requite some form of training in psychology, they are rarely full time duties and are performed incidental to the regular police function. In addition, people usually do not get assigned to these positions until they have first learned the ropes as a police officer.

    Reading between the lines I get the impression that you would prefer not to be involved in field enforcement work. I would look into some of the support positions such as Criminalist with a large state agency that provides investigative assistance to smaller police and sheriffs departments. While the emphasis of that position is more scientific in nature, it will allow you to move into other positions as they open up, such as intelligence analyst, MO analyst and profiling, which may be closer to what you are seeking.

    The California Department of Justice is testing for Criminalists. To give you a feel for what they do, take a look at http://jobs.spb.ca.gov/openxrd.cfm?exc=6JUAU and at http://www.dpa.ca.gov/textdocs/specs/s8/s8466.txt
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you so much, that was really good information.

      I wouldn't actually mind being involved in field enforcement, but I did give the impression that something more like an office job was what I'm after.

      I can see from what you've said that the best way to get the kind of job I want eventually is to look more seriously at becoming a police officer first.

      Anyone who can give me an idea of whether a graduate degree is a benefit, what I might be doing for the first few years (assuming I could get hired), and whether starting out at 28 would be acceptable, I'd really appreciate it. (Even links to related questions that I might have missed would be great.)

      Comment


      • #4
        Reading your post, a couple of thoughts come to mind. At this point in your life, I would suggest that you should pursue a degree, or an advanced degree, only if this suits your plans. The ambitions/desires of your family take on secondary importance at this stage of your life. Police Officers come from all types of backgrounds, and I've seen many "Academic Types" become very successful Police Officers. In the United States, most Officers start in Uniform Patrol, and then are selected for investigative/specialist type duties. With most agencies, this is the route you'd probably have to go. OTH, and this has been noted already, there may be some limited openings for your discipline with county/state agencies. The same possibilities would exist for Federal agencies as well. I'd suggest you start doing some research into departments which could use your skills and associated Academic disciplines. Best of luck in your efforts.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks, PhilipCal, for your help!

          I have one last follow-up question for which I've tried to look up answers but have received conflicting info: Once you start in uniform patrol, how long is it likely that you'll be serving before seeing any opportunities to step up to Detective, or other specialized positions? (Also, does education level help at all in the consideration for such promotions?)

          I know I'm badgering about this, and I'm sorry, but I have an awful fear of getting my education, then starting on what I hope to be my career...but being 10 years (or more) older than everyone in my academy classes, etc. Because I want to work in the States, I have to factor in the time it takes to immigrate, and all that stuff as well. I want an education, but I'm concerned that getting it will threaten my chance at being on any kind of career path before I'm 40 and undesirable for hiring/promotion.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by alex_w View Post
            Thanks, PhilipCal, for your help!

            I have one last follow-up question for which I've tried to look up answers but have received conflicting info: Once you start in uniform patrol, how long is it likely that you'll be serving before seeing any opportunities to step up to Detective, or other specialized positions? (Also, does education level help at all in the consideration for such promotions?)

            I know I'm badgering about this, and I'm sorry, but I have an awful fear of getting my education, then starting on what I hope to be my career...but being 10 years (or more) older than everyone in my academy classes, etc. Because I want to work in the States, I have to factor in the time it takes to immigrate, and all that stuff as well. I want an education, but I'm concerned that getting it will threaten my chance at being on any kind of career path before I'm 40 and undesirable for hiring/promotion.
            Many Officers begin their careers in their thirties, even forties. Some departments, particularly Federal, often have a maximum age at which you can apply. With most agencies, a minimum amount of time(usually 3-5 yrs) is required in patrol/uniform before becoming elgible for specialized assignment. Regarding a move to the United States. You need to be aware that most(some exceptions) US Departments require U.S. Citizenship. This requirement is the result of either state law, or department policy. My sense for you, particularly with the age factors you mention, is that you apply to a Canadian Police agency. Canada has many fine LE agencies at Federal (RCMP) Provincial, O.P.P. Surete de Quebec, and Municipal levels. Again, good luck in any decision you make.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hey there are several people at my department that had spent five, even ten years in a career after college and switched to LE because they were just plain fed up. They are all VERY good LEOs and have brought many good skills to the table. One used to be a lawyer and he is sorta the go to guy for my section. Another worked in a pharmacy and is an excellent narcotics detective. Some PD and SD actually prefer an older person applying because they can bring a lot of maturity and life experience to help the younger guys 'grow up'

              Good luck!!!

              Comment

              MR300x250 Tablet

              Collapse

              What's Going On

              Collapse

              There are currently 5312 users online. 287 members and 5025 guests.

              Most users ever online was 26,947 at 07:36 PM on 12-29-2019.

              Welcome Ad

              Collapse
              Working...
              X