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  • Need Advice from Ex-Military

    I have just about 10 months left in the Navy, I am wondering if the grass is greener on the other side. I love the military but I want to be a police officer and a civilian. I am stationed in Gulfport, MS and I woould like to be a police officer in Indiana. My questions are first, is a police officers carrer better than the military, and do you regret getting out.
    A little about myself. I am 21 years old and married with a 6 month old girl. I have a ***. in counterterrorism. I am a reserve in Gulfport, MS. One more question is do you have anyone advice about the hring process when I am in another state. I will have 50 leave days saved up so that will give me some time but is there anyway to go through the process without being in Indiana, so when my time is up I can possibly go right into the academy? The only thing I can think of id to fly or drive back to Indiana for each part of the hiring process but Im in the military and we dont make very much money for me to be doing that. Any feedback would be greatly appreciatted. Thanks

  • #2
    I am currently in the military but getting off of Active Duty in July. I applied to a department in my home state of NC, so I was basically an out of state applicant. The departments will generally work with you to make your trips minimal. I am not a police officer yet so I cannot tell you about the job, but I'd say go with your gut when trying to decide between the two careers.

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    • #3
      I enjoy LE work much more than I did the military. But then again I was Army Infantry and it's not hard to get better than walking miles with 80 lbs on your back and sleeping on the ground in the rain.

      I enjoy LE work more because of the variety and the independence. On any given day I pretty much get to do what I want to do (traffic stops, warrant sweep, hunt dope, catch calls, etc...).

      Many departments try to do "consolidated" testing for out of state applicants. Check with the specific departments you are interested. If it's a bigger department they probably have a recruiter who can answer all of your questions.
      Two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead.

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      • #4
        I was an MP in the Marines and am now a civ police officer and I would have to say, that while I loved the Marines, (and, yes, do regret getting out), as far as benefits, retirement and pay go I would have to suggest going to a civilian department.

        As far as testing goes, some states have Accelerated Testing for out of state applicants. Basically, what this means is you, (the out of stater), come in to the department you're applying to for a few days or a week and complete most of the testing at that time. You may have to go back once or twice but, as was said before, they try to keep the travel to a minimum and knock out as much of the process as they can in a short period.
        US Police Jobs.com The only site to offer detailed information for over 900 Police Departments as well as comprehensive explanations for each step of the police hiring process.

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        • #5
          Just gotta say Hooah to that Chief Wiggum, except I sleep on the ground in the snow, Out in 2 weeks, cant wait. Dropping applications in the mail soon.

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          • #6
            I'm right with Chief Wiggum, I was Marine Infantry...I don't miss the 25 mile humps in the desert heat of 29 Palms or the humid jungle of Okinawa...I don't miss the 6 months deployments to Japan, I don't miss sitting out in the field for 10 hours waiting to do a 20 minute firing range, then waiting 6 more hours before going back to the rear, or more simply put "Hurry up and wait".
            But looking back on it, those 4 years in the Marines were awesome, I met a lot of great people that I still keep in touch with, learned a lot of great skills, it looks outstanding on a resume, and I will always have the honor of knowing I served my country....but after being out for 10 years, I prefer civilian life...I like having more freedom to do what I think is best for me. I heard too many times in the Marines, not to me directly but to the sh** birds, "We own you, 4 years, you signed the contract, you ain't going anywhere, except where we tell u to go"....In civilan life, nobody owns you....even if you go into LE, if it's not for you, you can quit..
            You have a wife and new born baby...staying in the Navy you may be away from them a lot....for months at a time, it's hard on a marriage....one of the reasons I got out is because I wanted to get married and I saw soooo many failed marriages in the military, the DIV rate was thru the roof.
            So I can safely say, I will NEVER regret serving in the Marines, I thank God for it and am proud of it...but on the flip side, I will NEVER regret getting out....I "own" my life again and it's refreshing.

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            • #7
              I guess it really depends on your age and station in life. Pro's about the military... health insurance is free for you and your family.... Pay raises are regular and the opportunity for promotion is usually good. I started out as a 17 y/o high school grad E-1 chipping paint in the Navy. In eight years I was promoted to Chief Petty Officer and retired at age 40 as an 04 (Lieutenant Commander - Limited Duty Officer). On the other hand con's are family sepration and always being on the move.
              As far as law enforcement goes, I've seen plenty of folks that have made their careers as LEO's. In a small department, promotions are tight. So you have to make your decision on a long range plan and not just on the spur of the moment.
              Way back at the end of my first enlistment (1985)... I wanted to get out to be the police. But I was going to take a 10K a year pay cut.... base pay for a Florida deputy was about 19,000/yr. So I stuck with the military, retired and now enjoy my second career as an LEO.
              "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

              Thomas Jefferson

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              • #8
                Thanks to everyone for the advice. I cant say i hump 80 lbs or anything like that im in the Navy, but im with the Seabees so we get out in the field a little. What I'm thinkin is i can always get out of the military and if it doesnt work out then join back up, but i can't due 20 years and turn back time. One more question for yall, In the time where im on terminal leave until i actually get hired what would be a good job to have in between. I would still have to support my family and i know the 50 or so terminal leave days will help but im pretty sure it will take longer than that to get hired.

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                • #9
                  I know i'm not suppose to give advice but for a fellow military man I feel obliged to. It would probably be in your best interest to get another job while on your terminal leave and while you go through the application process. I get out in 2 weeks and I'm applying for a prison where I am going to be moving to. So I'm going to do corrections while I'm going through the application process for a police department. I think the corrections will help but it probably wont matter as long as your working. Any work experience is good experience. It shows you are motivated to be a worker and a citizen not just one goal in mind.

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                  • #10
                    I agree with airborne if you do get out make sure you have some something on the backburner. I am a former Army Scout, ex Blackwater, and now that I'm not doing it anymore the only job I feel I am interested in is Law Enforcement. The process takes a long time, so do your online application now, or print and send. Give it time then they will give you test dates. Its a hurry up and wait sort of thing.

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                    • #11
                      multiple depts

                      As an added note from a former Marine, try to apply to more than one department before you get out. You mentioned you have a wife and child, you cannot afford to put all of your eggs in one basket because if for some reason it doesn't work out, you will be $hiT out of luck and perhaps not a good paying job.

                      Myself, I applied for three LE agencies before I got out over a year ago and so far I have only received an offer from one of them (US Border Patrol), I am still waiting for SD Sheriff and CHP to finish my process and hopefully get an offer from either of them. Apply for other agencies nearby so that if one doesnt work out, you still have more to choose from.

                      Semper Fi

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                      • #12
                        You be better off calling depts in and around Indiana directly and explaining the circumstances of your situation. I would imagine they could help accomodate you so that you can do a bunch of the steps at once.

                        The process is lengthy so you would be advised to start it soon.

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