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  • Having A Law Degree

    I am 27 and just finished my law degree. Unlike most, I went to law school with the intent of becoming a police officer after graduation (and eventually to the feds). I recently applied to a local police department. I passed the physical, written test (scored a 96 on the POST), polygraph and background in two weeks. Currently, I am on the waiting list.

    I understand that some police officers get their law degree after joining the force. In my case, I am doing the opposite. How will having a law degree help me (or hurt me)? I am currently in the process of applying at several other departments. Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by lulaw1982 View Post
    I am 27 and just finished my law degree. Unlike most, I went to law school with the intent of becoming a police officer after graduation (and eventually to the feds). I recently applied to a local police department. I passed the physical, written test (scored a 96 on the POST), polygraph and background in two weeks. Currently, I am on the waiting list.

    I understand that some police officers get their law degree after joining the force. In my case, I am doing the opposite. How will having a law degree help me (or hurt me)? I am currently in the process of applying at several other departments. Thanks.
    It depends on the person. Some lawyers decide that after a few years of practicing, they don't like their jobs and become cops. Hell my department has an M.D. as a patrol sergeant.

    A lot of us go for our advanced degrees after we've put some time in. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have waited, as a full time job, plus going to class sucks. I'm going to go for my DPA in the Fall of 2010, via distance learning. I earned my MPA by going to class, and I'm not going to go through that again.

    It wont be a deal breaker or maker for you. It's going to be fairly obvious that you understand the law, but that's only a small portion of what we do. However know that any education is never looked down upon by a department.

    -SC
    Education ... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
    - G. M. Trevelyan

    B.S. Business Administration - Texas A&M 1990
    MPA - University of Texas Dallas 2004
    Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice - American Military University 2006
    Graduate Certificate in Accounting - University of Dallas 2008
    Various Graduate Credits - UoP
    MA Christian Ministry Chaplaincy Dallas Baptist University 20%
    DPA Valdosta State 30%

    Comment


    • #3
      You'd be surprised how many law school graduates don't understand criminal law. Education is always good. Professional degrees are even better. It may help you. It shouldn't hurt you.

      Comment


      • #4
        What are some good graduate degrees for promotion?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by asal View Post
          What are some good graduate degrees for promotion?
          Depends on what you intend to do with it. Some off the top of my head are; MPA's, MBA's, MS Forensic Accounting, Psychology, Sociology, etc.

          However like I said, it depends on what you do with it. An MPA is excellent if you want to get into upper echelon administration, whereas a MS in Forensic Accounting could also be good for administration, however you'd be skilled enough to work a lot of white collar crimes. Get your CPA and the FBI might even pick you up. Accountants are one of the "special skills" they like to acquire.

          Although it must be pointed out that just having a graduate degree doesn't mean you'll be promoted, or even hired for that matter. You still have to test and perfrom just as well, if not better than the guy who did four years in the Marine Corps... and has his BS degree as well.

          Seriously though, there are some dumb people with graduate degrees.

          -SC
          Education ... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
          - G. M. Trevelyan

          B.S. Business Administration - Texas A&M 1990
          MPA - University of Texas Dallas 2004
          Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice - American Military University 2006
          Graduate Certificate in Accounting - University of Dallas 2008
          Various Graduate Credits - UoP
          MA Christian Ministry Chaplaincy Dallas Baptist University 20%
          DPA Valdosta State 30%

          Comment


          • #6
            Right now, you're another applicant. Hopefully, you'll be successful in your process, but if not, and provided you pass the BAR, you have a marketable degree. Seriously, I hope things work out for you.

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            • #7
              We have a few dozen guys with their JDs and most of them were obtained after being on the job for a long time. My only problem is that they are not applying those 3000 hours (or whatever it is) of criminal law on the streets. They're usually working in HQ for the bosses or hiding in some unit where the supervisor wants someone with that credential.

              I'm sure they have good intentions of working in law after the job. But for the current time it isn't like they're chasing bad guys and getting to use that knowledge in a court room. Like was said before, depends on the dept. I'm with Sleepy on the DPA program. It's looking much better to be a professor after this ride is over...
              Whitechapel - Hate Creation

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SinePari View Post
                We have a few dozen guys with their JDs and most of them were obtained after being on the job for a long time. My only problem is that they are not applying those 3000 hours (or whatever it is) of criminal law on the streets. They're usually working in HQ for the bosses or hiding in some unit where the supervisor wants someone with that credential.

                I'm sure they have good intentions of working in law after the job. But for the current time it isn't like they're chasing bad guys and getting to use that knowledge in a court room. Like was said before, depends on the dept. I'm with Sleepy on the DPA program. It's looking much better to be a professor after this ride is over...
                Sinepari look into Valdosta State University. I'm 99% certain that I'm going to acquire my DPA from them, as they are a brick and mortar school that offers degrees via distance learning.

                http://www.valdosta.edu/pa/

                They are of course, fully accredited by NASPAA; so there is no question of the academic rigor involved in their program. They even have their own football team.

                -SC
                Education ... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
                - G. M. Trevelyan

                B.S. Business Administration - Texas A&M 1990
                MPA - University of Texas Dallas 2004
                Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice - American Military University 2006
                Graduate Certificate in Accounting - University of Dallas 2008
                Various Graduate Credits - UoP
                MA Christian Ministry Chaplaincy Dallas Baptist University 20%
                DPA Valdosta State 30%

                Comment


                • #9
                  I didn't want to start a new thread, but my question is in relation to this question. Sorry if I hi-jack this thread; totally unintentional. (I am not a sworn-in LEO, however, I am a Corrections Officer)

                  My question is this: My aspirations right now are to work on the road in the future. I have my goals set, and I am doing everything possible to get there. I work full-time as a Corrections Officer, work out and stay in shape, and have never been in trouble with the Law. I practice Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, and have read many books on Verbal Judo.

                  My main hold-up is my schooling. I am 20 years old (Been a C/O for about a year) and have attended college early 2008. I have only 9 credits as of right now, plus 3 classes im about to finish up in December. I'm not the smartest person when it comes to textbooks. On top of that, I work 12 Hour Rotating shifts, and my online professors don't understand how much that can hinder me. I am in the process of getting into Columbia Southern University (some of you may have heard it.) My question is this; I always hear about how police departments are requiring degrees before they even look at you, let alone hire you. Will not having my degree, but actully working in the field of Criminal Justice, benefit me?
                  I have to work to pay for my schooling, so quitting my job and going full-time student isn't possible. I have thought about it before. I just feel like I am at a disadvantage because I have to work, and take online courses, while still not being the smartest Book Smart (however, I do have street smarts up the whazoo) person in the world.

                  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

                  Thanks in advance,

                  ~54
                  Lincoln County Correctional Officer

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TheBig54 View Post
                    I didn't want to start a new thread, but my question is in relation to this question. Sorry if I hi-jack this thread; totally unintentional. (I am not a sworn-in LEO, however, I am a Corrections Officer)

                    My question is this: My aspirations right now are to work on the road in the future. I have my goals set, and I am doing everything possible to get there. I work full-time as a Corrections Officer, work out and stay in shape, and have never been in trouble with the Law. I practice Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, and have read many books on Verbal Judo.

                    My main hold-up is my schooling. I am 20 years old (Been a C/O for about a year) and have attended college early 2008. I have only 9 credits as of right now, plus 3 classes im about to finish up in December. I'm not the smartest person when it comes to textbooks. On top of that, I work 12 Hour Rotating shifts, and my online professors don't understand how much that can hinder me. I am in the process of getting into Columbia Southern University (some of you may have heard it.) My question is this; I always hear about how police departments are requiring degrees before they even look at you, let alone hire you. Will not having my degree, but actully working in the field of Criminal Justice, benefit me?
                    I have to work to pay for my schooling, so quitting my job and going full-time student isn't possible. I have thought about it before. I just feel like I am at a disadvantage because I have to work, and take online courses, while still not being the smartest Book Smart (however, I do have street smarts up the whazoo) person in the world.

                    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

                    Thanks in advance,

                    ~54
                    http://www.maine.gov/dps/msp/jobs/tr...cruitment.html

                    MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

                    Age: Applicants must be at least 21 years of age prior to entrance into Basic Law Enforcement Training at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy.

                    Education: An applicant must be a high school graduate or hold an equivalency certificate (GED) issued by the State Department of Education.

                    Conduct: Reputation must be above reproach. Applicants must have no serious criminal or extensive motor vehicle records.

                    Physical: You must be in adequate physical condition to perform the duties of a State Trooper. This includes meeting prescribed vision standards.

                    I know you said you weren't the brightest bulb, but that only took me 15 seconds to find Hope this helps!
                    Whitechapel - Hate Creation

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TheBig54 View Post
                      My main hold-up is my schooling. I am 20 years old (Been a C/O for about a year) and have attended college early 2008. I have only 9 credits as of right now, plus 3 classes im about to finish up in December. I'm not the smartest person when it comes to textbooks. On top of that, I work 12 Hour Rotating shifts, and my online professors don't understand how much that can hinder me. I am in the process of getting into Columbia Southern University (some of you may have heard it.) My question is this; I always hear about how police departments are requiring degrees before they even look at you, let alone hire you. Will not having my degree, but actully working in the field of Criminal Justice, benefit me?
                      I have to work to pay for my schooling, so quitting my job and going full-time student isn't possible. I have thought about it before. I just feel like I am at a disadvantage because I have to work, and take online courses, while still not being the smartest Book Smart (however, I do have street smarts up the whazoo) person in the world.
                      I don't know how things are in your area, but..... The last time I looked at local agencies many had dropped the requirement for a degree in favor of 60 semester hours. One of the reasons for this was they weren't paying enough to attract and retain people with degrees. In fact they were paying only a couple thousand more than most of the other agencies in the area. For that couple thousand more, they put you through a lot of crap with the justification that they were paying you more so you would put up with it. Many officers were smart enough to realize they have the education to get a job with any other agency in the area and left. A couple thousand per year was only an extra $100 per paycheck. That $100 was to compensate them for their degree AND a lot more BS than at other agencies.

                      With all of that said all hiring, and life in general, is graded on a curve. If your competition is getting degrees you will need one also. You are on a decent path for patrol. You have a job in a career that is close to LE and uses some of the same skills that patrol uses. Put in your time and stick out the college. I took two classes per semester for a couple years to graduate. I would also look at CLEP tests, they are a bit cheaper and if you can teach yourself, you can pass the tests. If you have the time and spare cash you could also enlist the help of a tutor from a local college to assist teaching yourself most of the stuff you'll need to pass the test. Their schedules are a lot more flexible than an actual instructor's and they can tailor their instruction to the areas you need the most help. A buddy of mine used his step-daughter to fill the purpose of tutoring him in algebra. She got a kick out of "teaching the old man a thing or two", a bump in her allowance, and he learned how to do algebra.

                      You are taking a very aggressive course load, when considered with your workload. Good job and good luck with your goals.
                      But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

                      For the intelectually challenged: If the government screws the people enough, it is the right and responsibility of the people to revolt and form a new government.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks guys, appreciate it.
                        As for the MSP requirements, I know what the the MINIMUM requirements are. Now, if you go look at the people they hire, the majority of them have degrees. =)

                        I'm just looking to see how hard it would be for me if I wasen't able to get my degree. Thanks for the help, everyone.
                        Lincoln County Correctional Officer

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TheBig54 View Post

                          I'm just looking to see how hard it would be for me if I wasen't able to get my degree. Thanks for the help, everyone.
                          You won't know until you try. I'd go ahead and knock out some school while you're still young.

                          -SC
                          Education ... has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
                          - G. M. Trevelyan

                          B.S. Business Administration - Texas A&M 1990
                          MPA - University of Texas Dallas 2004
                          Graduate Certificate in Criminal Justice - American Military University 2006
                          Graduate Certificate in Accounting - University of Dallas 2008
                          Various Graduate Credits - UoP
                          MA Christian Ministry Chaplaincy Dallas Baptist University 20%
                          DPA Valdosta State 30%

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am right now...Taking 3 classes a semester. Or trying to, at least.
                            Lincoln County Correctional Officer

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Some guys work mids, have two-three-four kids, work extra jobs to pay the bills AND go to school full time. Which ever department will take you without a degree, and Maine SP seems to be recruiting at this time, I'd jump all over it. Guys in the market can't be too picky these days and it seems to be a fine department.

                              A degree is valuable, but if you're not finished with it when you interview just say you're actively pursuing your degree while working in your current field. You're not just sitting around playing XBox so, you're already ahead of the pack.
                              Whitechapel - Hate Creation

                              Comment

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