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  • Apply Now, Or Later?

    Hello Officers,

    I'd like to start this off with saying, "YES!". I have indeed used the search function and have read the sticky before posting. Nothing really turned up that answered my question clearly.

    I came here to seek you're honest opinion on my situation. Here is some information about me: I am soon to be 18 years old and approaching graduation quickly. I am a volunteer firefighter for my local department and I enjoy it very much. It's something I truly enjoy but I am drawn to Law Enforcement more and have been since I can remember. I've done very well in school (honor roll level consistently) and have participated in many extracurricular activities in addition to starting my own online business.

    I planned on applying and testing for several smaller to medium sized agencies in my neighboring state of Iowa that allow 18 year olds to be hired. I have exchanged e-mails and phone calls with several chiefs that gave me some great insight into their departments and about law enforcement in general. When I asked them their opinions on weather to wait, get an associates or a bachelors then apply or apply outright with nothing other than a high school diploma I never got a clear answer. They all stated they were impressed with my maturity and that I "appeared to be quite intelligent" and encouraged me to apply but also told me that I should consider a degree as well.

    In your opinion, should I hold off and attain some sort of college education now; Or should I just go for it and see what happens? I feel that I have a lot to bring to the table and would be quite competitive during the application process and not some 18 year old kid just there for kicks. My youthful adventurous side is telling me to just go for it and see what happens. I also know and understand education is very important not only to get into law enforcement but to be successful down the road.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by KickingLion; 01-07-2016, 02:55 AM.

  • #2
    First of all, welcome to O.com.

    Although the law in that state allows the agency to employ an 18 year old, are there any agencies that actually hire people that young? You stated that you have a lot to bring to the table; what is that exactly, what makes you competitive at 18? What life and work experiences do you have? You may be the exception to the rule?!?!?

    Even though I know nothing of your actual situation, I ALWAYS recommend college if that is an option for you.

    “This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.”

    George V. Higgins--The Friends of Eddie Coyle

    Comment


    • #3
      A lot of agencies may pass you up because you lack life experience.
      The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

      I Am the Sheepdog.


      "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
      that we are all that stands between
      the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        Although the law in that state allows the agency to employ an 18 year old, are there any agencies that actually hire people that young? You stated that you have a lot to bring to the table; what is that exactly, what makes you competitive at 18? What life and work experiences do you have? You may be the exception to the rule?!?!?
        After speaking with several of the chiefs, all of them stated that they personally haven't hired someone as young as I but also that haven't really had an applicant that was my age before. I believe that there are several important things I bring to the table. First off I that my experiences as a first responder (Familiar with emergency scenes, interaction with the public in a civil service position etc.) would be a advantage vs. somebody with no prior emergency experience. I think it also proves that at my age I can be trusted in a position within the emergency response field and balance everything else in my life. I've held jobs just helping out around farms in the summer and plowing driveways in the winter and have always had a positive relationship with everyone I have worked for. I've never worked in a retail business or any other of the average "teen jobs" because of my location and they just didn't seem appealing. I've also been exposed to many different types of people. I used to be in a accelerated program in school where the demographic composition was mainly upper class and featured many foreign students. I now am in a regular speed class in for lack of better terms, the ghetto portion of town, where the demographic makeup is very different. What I mean by this is that it's not like I've lived in a shell and haven't experienced the "real world" and who's in it before. I've made great friends and acquaintances with many different types of people and have been exposed to things many 18 year olds aren't or even perhaps someone that is quite older than I. These things I believe not only give me somewhat of a decent life experience so far but also are things that I bring to the table others might not.

        College is an option but my economic situation would make it a little rough. I do plan on pursuing higher education as soon as I can if I was to be hired.

        A lot of agencies may pass you up because you lack life experience.
        I understand. I don't blame them either as my generation hasn't done much for themselves in proving we can be trustworthy to the older generations.

        I wonder if there should be a thread started that perhaps defines what life experience is as it pertains to law enforcement. To me at least it's a somewhat confusing topic. I won't dive into that on this thread though.

        Thank you for the input so far!

        Comment


        • #5
          Life experience is just that, living long enough to do work, experience hardships (and deal with them), deal with folks around you, gain some schooling and education, possibly joining the military...

          At 18, you're fresh out of High School, with MINIMAL life experience.
          The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

          I Am the Sheepdog.


          "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
          that we are all that stands between
          the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


          sigpic

          Comment


          • #6
            I worked for a chief who said he wouldn't hire anyone who wasn't at least 26 if he had his way. I was sworn in at a mature 20 and, in retrospect, I was probably too young.

            Comment


            • #7
              I was 24 when I was hired by my current agency. Even then I believe I was too young.
              The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

              I Am the Sheepdog.


              "And maybe just remind the few, if ill of us they speak,
              that we are all that stands between
              the monsters and the weak." - Michael Marks


              sigpic

              Comment


              • #8
                I used to work for an agency that hired applicants at age 18. I can only recall two people we hired that young. One turned out to be a train wreck. We wound up firing him and he eventually became a pimp. The other turned out to be one of the sharpest people I ever met.

                I think you would be better off getting your degree first, primarily because of the life experience issue and your (no doubt) youthful appearance. Cops handle a lot of situations involving uncooperative individuals. An angry 45 year old person is unlikely to take commands from a fresh faced 18 year old and the fight will be on every time. Pretty soon your record for arrests will be full of additional charges for resisting/obstructing. While not your fault, defense attorneys will use this in court to paint you as a "bully officer who provokes and beats up his arrestees." After a while, prosecutors will be reluctant to file on your cases because you have been painted as a problem officer. Wait until you get to an age where this will not be an issue.

                Next on life experience, part of the hiring process will involve an oral exam. Here's what most orals score you on. Read it over and ask yourself if you even begin to understand what half the scoring criteria is about. I mean really read it. A lot of applicants in their 20s and 30s can't even explain what a lot of the scoring criteria means. If you don't know, you are going to have problems scoring high enough on the oral to pass, let alone score high enough to be reachable.

                • Experience – assesses your ability and experience in accepting responsibilities and performing assigned tasks as demonstrated through achievements in work, school, and other activities.

                • Problem Solving – assesses your reasoning skills in developing timely, logical responses to a wide variety of situations and problems.

                • Communication Skills – assesses your oral communications skills, which includes speaking, listening, and non-verbal communication.

                • Interest/Motivation – addresses your interest in and preparedness for the peace officer job. It includes an assessment of your general level of interest, initiative, and goal orientation.

                • Interpersonal Skills – assesses many facets, such as social knowledge/appropriateness, social insight, empathy, social influence, social self-regulation, sociability, team orientation, social self-confidence, conflict management skills, and negotiating skills.

                • Community Involvement/Awareness – focuses specifically on your experiences and interest in community issues, as well as your interest in and ability to fill multiple roles and serve a diverse community.
                Last edited by L-1; 01-07-2016, 04:24 PM.
                Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by L-1 View Post
                  I used to work for an agency that hired applicants at age 18. I can only recall two people we hired that young. One turned out to be a train wreck. We wound up firing him and he eventually became a pimp. The other turned out to be one of the sharpest people I ever met.

                  I think you would be better off getting your degree first, primarily because of the life experience issue and your (no doubt) youthful appearance. Cops handle a lot of situations involving uncooperative individuals. An angry 45 year old person is unlikely to take commands from a fresh faced, 18 year old and the fight will be on every time. Pretty soon your record for arrests will be full of additional charges for resisting/obstructing. While not your fault, defense attorneys will use this in court to paint you as a "bully officer who provokes and beats up his arrestees." After a while, prosecutors will be reluctant to file on your cases because you have been painted as a problem officer. Wait until you get to an age where this will not be an issue.

                  Next on life experience, part of the hiring process will involve an oral exam. Here's what most orals score you on. Read it over and ask yourself if you even begin to understand what half the scoring criteria is about. I mean really read it. A lot of applicants in their 20s and 30s can't even explain what a lot of the scoring criteria means. If you don't know, you are going to have problems scoring high enough on the oral to pass, let alone score high enough to be reachable.

                  • Experience – assesses your ability and experience in accepting responsibilities and performing assigned tasks as demonstrated through achievements in work, school, and other activities.

                  • Problem Solving – assesses your reasoning skills in developing timely, logical responses to a wide variety of situations and problems.

                  • Communication Skills – assesses your oral communications skills, which includes speaking, listening, and non-verbal communication.

                  • Interest/Motivation – addresses your interest in and preparedness for the peace officer job. It includes an assessment of your general level of interest, initiative, and goal orientation.

                  • Interpersonal Skills – assesses many facets, such as social knowledge/appropriateness, social insight, empathy, social influence, social self-regulation, sociability, team orientation, social self-confidence, conflict management skills, and negotiating skills.

                  • Community Involvement/Awareness – focuses specifically on your experiences and interest in community issues, as well as your interest in and ability to fill multiple roles and serve a diverse community.

                  Memorize this. You just got a $1000.00 worth of advice, and all you had to do was read it. Didn't cost you a dime. Good luck in your endeavors.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KickingLion View Post

                    I planned on applying and testing for several smaller to medium sized agencies in my neighboring state of Iowa that allow 18 year olds to be hired. I have exchanged e-mails and phone calls with several chiefs that gave me some great insight into their departments and about law enforcement in general. !
                    You are not going to get hired in the state of Iowa as an 18, 19, 20, 21,or probably a 22 yr old.


                    Originally posted by just joe View Post
                    I worked for a chief who said he wouldn't hire anyone who wasn't at least 26 if he had his way. I was sworn in at a mature 20 and, in retrospect, I was probably too young.
                    I agree with your chief 100%
                    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
                      Hired at 18 although not as an officer but with the department none the less.

                      With that being said I would recommend not applying at 18 and rather go to school and get a degree in something other then Criminal Justice.

                      The only other time I'd recommend applying at 18 is if you had the time, money, and dedication to work AND go to school and get a degree in something other then Criminal Justice. Some departments might even have a tuition program to refund some of your expenses.

                      There are a few pluses to getting hired at a younger age to include avoiding college debt, having a paycheck, starting pension/service benefits at a younger age, getting benefits if you don't have them through family, hopefully growing up around mature co-workers and avoiding poor decisions, and finally getting your foot in the door and building knowledge of the departments polices and procedures.

                      The downside is you will be expected to be 100% more mature then your friends. Will make a good or bad name for yourself quick which will follow you forever. One bad decision can cost you your current and future job. You will undoubtedly lose contact with friends. You will forgo a lot of social outings like parties where you current friends are likely to be found.

                      Most large departments have a cadet program where you are hired around 18 or 19 and do administrative tasks mostly. You are not a police officer and aren't riding around making arrests. I'm not even sure how a department puts a 18 or 20 year old officer on the street in legal terms or in good conscious and expect them not to fail. Even at 21 most people are way immature. You can't to my knowledge be a police officer in most states till you are at least 21.

                      If you only take ONE thing away from my post GET a DEGREE in something BESIDES CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Name Taken View Post
                        With that being said I would recommend not applying at 18 and rather go to school and get a degree in something other then Criminal Justice.
                        Originally posted by Name Taken View Post
                        The only other time I'd recommend applying at 18 is if you had the time, money, and dedication to work AND go to school and get a degree in something other then Criminal Justice.
                        Originally posted by Name Taken View Post
                        If you only take ONE thing away from my post GET a DEGREE in something BESIDES CRIMINAL JUSTICE.
                        I'm seeing a central theme here and I agree with it 100%. Business management, psychology, nursing, anything in the health field, and anything but CJ.

                        Last edited by slamdunc; 01-07-2016, 10:38 PM.
                        “This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.”

                        George V. Higgins--The Friends of Eddie Coyle

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thank you for all of the input you have given me!

                          I'm seeing a central theme here and I agree with it 100%. Business management, psychology, nursing, anything in the health field, and anything but CJ.
                          I will definitely pursue a degree based on some personal reflection and the advice you all have given me. I am contemplating getting one in early childhood education or elementary education. I've always had a passion for teaching. Not to sidetrack this thread but, would a degree in something such as Fire Science be of the same value as any other degree? I'm aware it's a very limited field of study but it does pertain to my current job and what I'll be doing during my college years and possibly beyond that depending on if I am confident enough and prepared to apply to a agency after college.

                          I printed out your post L-1. It's amazing advice, thank you VERY much! I intend to refer back to it at the beginning of each week and ask myself what aspect I can better myself in during the next 7 days.

                          Once again, thank you!
                          Stay Safe!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KickingLion View Post
                            Not to sidetrack this thread but, would a degree in something such as Fire Science be of the same value as any other degree?
                            Generally speaking, yes. Most agencies that require a degree don't care what it is in (except for in Minnesota).

                            “This life’s hard, but it’s harder if you’re stupid.”

                            George V. Higgins--The Friends of Eddie Coyle

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KickingLion View Post
                              Thank you for all of the input you have given me!



                              I will definitely pursue a degree based on some personal reflection and the advice you all have given me. I am contemplating getting one in early childhood education or elementary education. I've always had a passion for teaching. Not to sidetrack this thread but, would a degree in something such as Fire Science be of the same value as any other degree? I'm aware it's a very limited field of study but it does pertain to my current job and what I'll be doing during my college years and possibly beyond that depending on if I am confident enough and prepared to apply to a agency after college.

                              I printed out your post L-1. It's amazing advice, thank you VERY much! I intend to refer back to it at the beginning of each week and ask myself what aspect I can better myself in during the next 7 days.

                              Once again, thank you!
                              Stay Safe!


                              In IOWA a degree is a degree as far as most agencies are concerned. SHOULD you go for a promotion later in your career the actual degree might have bearing on the decision but as far as getting hired-----------it wouldn't matter
                              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

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