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Questions about applying to the Police Department - would I be an effective candidat?

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  • Questions about applying to the Police Department - would I be an effective candidat?

    Hello everyone,

    I have a few questions regarding a career in Law Enforcement, and the related positions that may arise later due to promotion. The location of my place of residence resides within the Los Angeles County, and I have applied to several city police departments within that parameter. I have a B.A. in Abnormal psychology as well as a MBA with a concentration in Finance, and I possess about 8 years of relevant work experience. My questions are as follow:

    1. What is an accurate range of starting pay one could expect for entering the police with a masters degree?

    2. Is there advancement opportunity within the police department for someone like myself, who holds a hybrid background/education in psychology/Business.

    3. Does everyone have to enter as a patrolman regardless of their educational background and work experience? If everyone must enter as a patrolman, then does holding a masters degree shorten the amount of time until they can advance?

    4. Is there a career path within Law Enforcement that specializes in numbers, and or the study of sociopathy?

  • #2
    Your questions are best asked of any agency to which you apply. California is big time Civil Service territory, so passing the written exam with a high, as in competitive score is a must. In general, should you successfully navigate the hiring process and be appointed, you'll start as a patrol officer.

    While your educational accomplishments are indeed commendable, your written English leaves a little to be desired. You'll use simple skills in grammar and syntax on a daily basis, and arguably with more frequency than your high powered academics.

    Comment


    • #3
      Id want you to start out in the jail regardless of your college,learn there, then go to patrol and learn there. Last thing most departments need is a book taught officer trying to tell officers on the street how to do their job.

      Unless you have lived it dont try to go into a ranking spot telling others how they are doing things wrong,If you do you probably wont last long as you will 99% of the time be a moral killer for officers with alot more time when you try to make them do it your way.

      Comment


      • #4
        Your egalitarian attitude won't work in law enforcement. Try the IRS, they work with numbers. Parole for the sociology.
        Now go home and get your shine box!

        Comment


        • #5
          Some agencies start officers out above "starting pay" for educational experience-------------------others don't.


          Nearly EVERY agency will start out new officers in Patrol (or detention if a Sheriff's Office)------------------NONE are going to routinely start new officers above base rank. Yes SOME agencies will count education towards 'promotion points"----others won't


          I think you get the idea that answers to your questions are pretty much agency specific..................with the exception that you would start at the bottom and work your way up nearly everywhere
          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
            Is there perhaps a civilian employee position with the police department that deals with investigation, white collar crime, and or the analysis of sociopaths?

            Comment


            • #7
              No. Try the FBI.
              Now go home and get your shine box!

              Comment


              • #8
                Some large departments, or Attorney General's offices, have criminologists, psychologists, financial analysts and the like.
                "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


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jerusee View Post
                  Is there perhaps a civilian employee position with the police department that deals with investigation,
                  No-------------------Investigation of crimes is normally a sworn postion

                  Originally posted by Jerusee View Post
                  white collar crime,
                  see above

                  Originally posted by Jerusee View Post
                  and or the analysis of sociopaths?
                  You are going to want to go to the FEDERAL level for that type of position--------------------Try the FBI
                  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


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jerusee View Post
                    1. What is an accurate range of starting pay one could expect for entering the police with a masters degree?
                    You will start at bottom step, like every new hire. However, depending on the union contract some agencies may offer an educational incentive and pay an extra 5% for a BA or higher.

                    Originally posted by Jerusee View Post

                    2. Is there advancement opportunity within the police department for someone like myself, who holds a hybrid background/education in psychology/Business.
                    In order to go up the ladder you first must have a minimum number of years experience at a lower rank. Promotion is usually based on civil service testing, where you are scored on the number of correct answers you give to written and oral questions that measure your ability to actually perform the duties of the position you are seeking. Your degree may count for a small portion of your oral score. Just because you have a degree does not assume you can do the job. I've worked with MENSA members who held several degrees and were idiots. I've also worked with folks who never went beyond a GED and were some of the most qualified cops I've ever met.

                    Originally posted by Jerusee View Post

                    3. Does everyone have to enter as a patrolman regardless of their educational background and work experience? If everyone must enter as a patrolman, then does holding a masters degree shorten the amount of time until they can advance?
                    There are civilian jobs available, but they are few and far between and have little to do with actual police work. Having a degree does not expedite your moving up the ladder.

                    Originally posted by Jerusee View Post
                    4. Is there a career path within Law Enforcement that specializes in numbers, and or the study of sociopathy?
                    Large law enforcement agencies employ civilian crime analysis personnel to crunch numbers and look for trends. Possibly the FBI might have a unit that studies sociopathy, but I've never heard of a city PD or county SO with that kind of resources.

                    I hate to tell you this, but all your degrees means to most law enforcement agencies is that you possess a certain amount of personal discipline, you don't give up easily and you tend to see things through. These are desirable traits for a police officer. Beyond that, no one gives a crap that you have two degrees, what they are in, or that one is a Masters.
                    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      [QUOTE=L-1;3507279]You will start at bottom step, like every new hire. However, depending on the union contract some agencies may offer an educational incentive and pay an extra 5% for a BA or higher.



                      In order to go up the ladder you first must have a minimum number of years experience at a lower rank. Promotion is usually based on civil service testing, where you are scored on the number of correct answers you give to written and oral questions that measure your ability to actually perform the duties of the position you are seeking. Your degree may count for a small portion of your oral score. Just because you have a degree does not assume you can do the job. I've worked with MENSA members who held several degrees and were idiots. I've also worked with folks who never went beyond a GED and were some of the most qualified cops I've ever met.



                      There are civilian jobs available, but they are few and far between and have little to do with actual police work. Having a degree does not expedite your moving up the ladder.



                      Large law enforcement agencies employ civilian crime analysis personnel to crunch numbers and look for trends. Possibly the FBI might have a unit that studies sociopathy, but I've never heard of a city PD or county SO with that kind of resources.

                      I hate to tell you this, but all your degrees means to most law enforcement agencies is that you possess a certain amount of personal discipline, you don't give up easily and you tend to see things through. These are desirable traits for a police officer. Beyond that, no one gives a crap that you have two degrees, what they are in, or that one is a Masters.[/QUOTE]

                      Unless you are wanting to go to Command Staff, a specialized Investigative Agency, or a Federal Agency. All the command staff members at my agency have at least a BA/BS, but most have a MA/MS/MBA etc.

                      Honestly, with your background, you would be better suited to apply to a federal agency or a specialized investigative agency such as a state Inspector General agency that deals with fraud cases.

                      At my department, degrees hold a lot of weight for applications to the Criminal Investigations Division; however, service in Patrol, and your ability to demonstrate common sense / handle dynamic situations holds a lot more weight.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        1. What is an accurate range of starting pay one could expect for entering the police with a masters degree?

                        Most agencies post their starting pay, along with step bonuses for holding a degree.

                        2. Is there advancement opportunity within the police department for someone like myself, who holds a hybrid background/education in psychology/Business.

                        Degrees often have a tendency to help candidates qualify for advancement in-lieu of so many years of service.

                        3. Does everyone have to enter as a patrolman regardless of their educational background and work experience? If everyone must enter as a patrolman, then does holding a masters degree shorten the amount of time until they can advance?

                        Dear Gawd in Heaven, are you another one of those candidates who does not wish to soil yourself associating with the knuckle-draggers in patrol? BEFORE THEY GET INTO THE ACADEMY, all the military vets want to be SWAT, all the social workers want to be DARE instructors, all the science geeks want to be CSI, all the computer geeks want to be forensic computer examiners, and all the "highly intelligent" want to go straight to homicide. I worked with a guys who held two Masters degrees and LOVED being a street cop. Of course, he ended up in Federal prison but that's another story. As I said, the advance degree MAY (depending on agency) cut the length of time one needs to have on before promoting.

                        4. Is there a career path within Law Enforcement that specializes in numbers, and or the study of sociopathy?

                        Numbers? Not really....more of an FBI thing, perhaps fraud at the local level. Sociopathy? Homicide.
                        "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

                        Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

                        Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dear Gawd in Heaven, are you another one of those candidates who does not wish to soil yourself associating with the knuckle-draggers in patrol? BEFORE THEY GET INTO THE ACADEMY, all the military vets want to be SWAT, all the social workers want to be DARE instructors, all the science geeks want to be CSI, all the computer geeks want to be forensic computer examiners, and all the "highly intelligent" want to go straight to homicide. I worked with a guys who held two Masters degrees and LOVED being a street cop. Of course, he ended up in Federal prison but that's another story. As I said, the advance degree MAY (depending on agency) cut the length of time one needs to have on before promoting.

                          **Be careful putting labels on individuals. I am a Army Veteran with an IT background, bachelor's degree, and prior law enforcement experience and I wanted to work Patrol. I will be starting with a Sheriff's Office in a few months after my military contract is complete and I will obviously be assigned Patrol, which is want I want before moving up the ladder. You need to take a knee and drink water as military members would say.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            First, Jrd1980, thanks for your service. My response TO THE O/P is based upon 35 years of mostly big city police work and five years as a cop, in smaller settings. I have seen every one of the people I mentioned in my post to the O/P. We suffer through them in orals, on ride-alongs, and when some of them actually get hired. Perhaps your workplace is blessed to be free of these types, but when you stick around, here on O.com, you're going to see the O/P's question repeated hundreds of times.

                            "Do I have to start in patrol? Can't I go straight to SWAT? DARE? Homicide? Computer Forensics? (and our new favorite) C.S.I.?"

                            IIRC, I asked him a question, but he's free to wear the label if he wants. My bottom line advice to the O/P is this: Apply and see what happens.

                            Thanks for your advice, though, I do hope to find the appropriate file for it.
                            "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

                            Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

                            Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              On a side note.... Criminal Minds is just a TV show and Reed is just a character. It's not real life.

                              Comment

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