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Better Option for Future LEO Job?

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  • Better Option for Future LEO Job?

    I am 27 years old with a little over 7 years of private security experience and 30 college credits. A career in law enforcement is the eventual goal. I currently work for a hospital system that just started their own security K9 program (german shepherds duel certified in patrol and firearms/explosives) and I am lucky enough to be selected to be one of the new handlers. I will be getting issued a dog to take home and start a basic course in the next 1-2 months. Eventually the hospital will pay for me to get the state certification and national (NAPWDA), plus ongoing training and possible opportunities to get additional certifications. Once I get the dog, I will have to sign a 2 year contract to agree to stay with the hospital or pay back a portion of the training costs if I end up leaving prior. I currently plan on staying for 2 years unless I get the opportunity to join a police department. One of my friends is a Community Service Officer with the local big city PD and just informed that they are hiring for CSO's so I put in my application. The department sends you to the local academy and you complete almost all of the training except for the high liability stuff. The department also tends to pick up their CSO's to become fully sworn after a few years (a minimum of 2 according to my friend).

    While the K9 opportunity seems amazing especially with the promise of coveted experience and certifications, I'm torn since the CSO opportunity is a definite IN with a great agency that almost guarantee's an eventual sworn job. Being a K9 handler for a PD is definitely a goal (I know this is very long term) and I am not sure how much 2 years of experience as a security K9 handler will aid me in that. I would like to hear your opinions. If facing the same choices, what would you guys do?

  • #2
    I would take the CSO job, if it were offered to me. It sounds like it really ins't decision time yet, however. Do your best where you are now and IF they offer you a job as a CSO, THEN you have a decision to make.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Jim1648 View Post
      I would take the CSO job, if it were offered to me. It sounds like it really ins't decision time yet, however. Do your best where you are now and IF they offer you a job as a CSO, THEN you have a decision to make.
      I am going to go through the process of CSO and see where it goes. What makes you pick one over the other?

      Comment


      • #4
        I would do the K9, put in time, then apply. You would get a better shot at an LE K9 spot down the road, if that’s what you want.
        Now go home and get your shine box!

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by skhan8391 View Post

          I am going to go through the process of CSO and see where it goes. What makes you pick one over the other?
          You ultimately want to go sworn, right? Getting in with a police department now gets your foot in the door to learn more about what its all about. You will get to know people, procedures and likely start contributing to a defined benefit pension. By the way, how do the salaries compare to one another? And, when I say that, I don't mean just right now, but how do each of them ultimately top out?

          You already stated that you ultimately want to be a K-9 handler with a law enforcement agency. Doing security K-9 just delays the whole ultimate goal, in my mind. I get how you would like the work of a security K-9, but is it a long term career?
          I am not far from the Mall of America. There are security K-9 handlers there. When/if they go sworn, they are just another probationary officer at that point.

          Again, go down BOTH paths as long as, and as far as you can. Is the CSO job full time? A lot of them near me are part-time. I just don't see yet where you really have to pick one over the other yet. When it gets to that point, then decide.

          The other thing is, sadly, I have seen a lot of K-9 programs come and do. There can be a lot of different reasons, but usually it boils down to money. They aren't cheap. The sheriff's office I retired from had a K-9 program years ago, then when one of the dogs retired, they decided to end the program.

          Then, under a different sheriff, suddenly its popular again.

          My post-retirement job was working for a quasi-federal agency. We didn't h ave K-9, but it was being talked about when I retired. Despite that, another district, who had K-9, was talking about dumping it and focusing more on electronic methods of firearms/explosive detection!

          One of the big PDs near me has probably 20 or so K-9s. One particular incident, involving a "bad bite" got a LOT of press coverage. They still have K-9s, BUT the canines units are essentially emasculated--they really aren't allowed to do anything any longer.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by skhan8391 View Post
            I am 27 years old with a little over 7 years of private security experience and 30 college credits. A career in law enforcement is the eventual goal. I currently work for a hospital system that just started their own security K9 program (german shepherds duel certified in patrol and firearms/explosives) and I am lucky enough to be selected to be one of the new handlers. I will be getting issued a dog to take home and start a basic course in the next 1-2 months. Eventually the hospital will pay for me to get the state certification and national (NAPWDA), plus ongoing training and possible opportunities to get additional certifications. Once I get the dog, I will have to sign a 2 year contract to agree to stay with the hospital or pay back a portion of the training costs if I end up leaving prior. I currently plan on staying for 2 years unless I get the opportunity to join a police department. One of my friends is a Community Service Officer with the local big city PD and just informed that they are hiring for CSO's so I put in my application. The department sends you to the local academy and you complete almost all of the training except for the high liability stuff. The department also tends to pick up their CSO's to become fully sworn after a few years (a minimum of 2 according to my friend).

            While the K9 opportunity seems amazing especially with the promise of coveted experience and certifications, I'm torn since the CSO opportunity is a definite IN with a great agency that almost guarantee's an eventual sworn job. Being a K9 handler for a PD is definitely a goal (I know this is very long term) and I am not sure how much 2 years of experience as a security K9 handler will aid me in that. I would like to hear your opinions. If facing the same choices, what would you guys do?
            You're going from one non sworn job with minimum of 2yrs commitment to another non sworn job where you won't be sworn for at least 2 yrs/a few yrs. That does not sound like progress to me. Have you considered moving to another part of the country? Some agencies are hiring a lot of people.
            Judge me by the enemies I have made----Unknown

            Comment


            • #7
              I started my career as a CSO. I was then hired as a part-time officer by that department, and then made full-time. None of that would have been possible if I hadn't accepted the CSO position.

              I took an enormous pay cut to take the CSO job but it was the absolute best career decision I have ever made.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                I would do the K9, put in time, then apply. You would get a better shot at an LE K9 spot down the road, if that’s what you want.
                Thats what my hope is if I stay K9.

                Originally posted by Jim1648 View Post

                You ultimately want to go sworn, right? Getting in with a police department now gets your foot in the door to learn more about what its all about. You will get to know people, procedures and likely start contributing to a defined benefit pension. By the way, how do the salaries compare to one another? And, when I say that, I don't mean just right now, but how do each of them ultimately top out?

                You already stated that you ultimately want to be a K-9 handler with a law enforcement agency. Doing security K-9 just delays the whole ultimate goal, in my mind. I get how you would like the work of a security K-9, but is it a long term career?
                I am not far from the Mall of America. There are security K-9 handlers there. When/if they go sworn, they are just another probationary officer at that point.

                Again, go down BOTH paths as long as, and as far as you can. Is the CSO job full time? A lot of them near me are part-time. I just don't see yet where you really have to pick one over the other yet. When it gets to that point, then decide.

                The other thing is, sadly, I have seen a lot of K-9 programs come and do. There can be a lot of different reasons, but usually it boils down to money. They aren't cheap. The sheriff's office I retired from had a K-9 program years ago, then when one of the dogs retired, they decided to end the program.

                Then, under a different sheriff, suddenly its popular again.

                My post-retirement job was working for a quasi-federal agency. We didn't h ave K-9, but it was being talked about when I retired. Despite that, another district, who had K-9, was talking about dumping it and focusing more on electronic methods of firearms/explosive detection!

                One of the big PDs near me has probably 20 or so K-9s. One particular incident, involving a "bad bite" got a LOT of press coverage. They still have K-9s, BUT the canines units are essentially emasculated--they really aren't allowed to do anything any longer.
                Those are all pro's for a CSO and hence why I am here and asking this question. The K9 pay is slightly higher than CSO and the OT potential is about even. The CSO is a full-time gig and I would not be able to do both jobs. The CSO position is with a big department that is the highest paying and best benefits in the area, some guys have gone from CSO to sworn in 1.5-3 years. As for K9 longevity, all of our departments in our area have long standing and well funded K9 units. The department with the CSO position even has dedicated K9 units in speciality units that are separate from patrol.

                Originally posted by Zeitgeist View Post

                You're going from one non sworn job with minimum of 2yrs commitment to another non sworn job where you won't be sworn for at least 2 yrs/a few yrs. That does not sound like progress to me. Have you considered moving to another part of the country? Some agencies are hiring a lot of people.
                Moving anywhere out of my immediate area is not feasible right now but there are a plethora of departments hiring in my immediate area, some for sponsorship. Sponsorship is highly competitive and the three recruiters I have reached out to for the 3 departments currently sponsoring stated I need to standout in the PAT big time since I dont have college or military. School and PT is what I am working on big time while simultaneously trying to improve my resume with work experience.

                Originally posted by CompanyMan View Post
                I started my career as a CSO. I was then hired as a part-time officer by that department, and then made full-time. None of that would have been possible if I hadn't accepted the CSO position.

                I took an enormous pay cut to take the CSO job but it was the absolute best career decision I have ever made.
                I've known of several recent CSO's who have gone sworn after 1.5-3 years, some with other agencies. Fortunately for me, taking CSO position would not be a big pay cut at all.

                I appreciate everyone's help! At this point I am going to continue with the K9 position as I have already accepted the position and waiting on getting my dog issued (which can take a few months) but I already applied to CSO and going to continue with the process. If I get offered the CSO position, I will really have to make a hard decision and depending on when it or if it happens, find out if its worth paying back a portion of my K9 training to the hospital.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Don’t take the K9 spot if you are leaving. Getting the dog and bonding with it, just to walk away is an FU to the dog and not fair. I’m assuming you’re not a dog owner...otherwise you’d know what I’m talking about.
                  Now go home and get your shine box!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by skhan8391 View Post
                    ...Those are all pro's for a CSO and hence why I am here and asking this question. The K9 pay is slightly higher than CSO and the OT potential is about even. The CSO is a full-time gig and I would not be able to do both jobs. The CSO position is with a big department that is the highest paying and best benefits in the area, some guys have gone from CSO to sworn in 1.5-3 years...If I get offered the CSO position, I will really have to make a hard decision and depending on when it or if it happens, find out if its worth paying back a portion of my K9 training to the hospital.
                    You mention the K9 pay is slightly higher than the CSO gig. I suspect that you mean the entry level pay. What are the top ends on either one? How long does it take to get to the top end? Also, you mention benefits for the CSO gig, if you are making a decision based on those factors, look at the total package. By that I mean salary, both beginning and top end, how long it takes to get to the top end, health insurance, dental insurance, pension, sick time, comp time, vacation time, the whole deal. Do either offer educational incentives and/or tuition reimbursement?
                    Like I said, go as far as you can with both and just wait and see how the timing plays out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I am not sure why you posted this question, as you already had taken the contracted position as a dog handler. Are you trying to justify your decision? It was mentioned that you shouldn't do the k9 if you were going to leave, and I am 100% agreement with that. If you have no loyalty to follow through with a specialty assignment to the company that is spending a lot of money on you, what does that say to any agency that is going to hire you? You are making a major decision on a "what if" job that only 10% of the applicants will actually be hired.

                      If your gonna do the K9, do the right thing and stay the two years. If you plan on leaving before that, you should step aside now and give someone that actually wants the job and understands the requirements an opportunity.
                      I don't check to see if the glass is half full, I make sure its not dirty.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jim1648 View Post
                        You mention the K9 pay is slightly higher than the CSO gig. I suspect that you mean the entry level pay. What are the top ends on either one? How long does it take to get to the top end? Also, you mention benefits for the CSO gig, if you are making a decision based on those factors, look at the total package. By that I mean salary, both beginning and top end, how long it takes to get to the top end, health insurance, dental insurance, pension, sick time, comp time, vacation time, the whole deal. Do either offer educational incentives and/or tuition reimbursement?
                        Like I said, go as far as you can with both and just wait and see how the timing plays out.
                        Whole compensation and longevity wise, the CSO job is the better option since it follows the same benefits and pension as sworn and your time as a civilian carries over to your sworn time. Top end pay between both is similar since raises are similar. K9 at the hospital is not something I would look at doing forever as going sworn is my ultimate goal. Is the value of coveted K9 certifications and experience better possibly jump starting my pension and benefits if I get the CSO job and am able to go sworn with the same agency.

                        Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                        Don’t take the K9 spot if you are leaving. Getting the dog and bonding with it, just to walk away is an FU to the dog and not fair. I’m assuming you’re not a dog owner...otherwise you’d know what I’m talking about.
                        Originally posted by C Tucker View Post
                        I am not sure why you posted this question, as you already had taken the contracted position as a dog handler. Are you trying to justify your decision? It was mentioned that you shouldn't do the k9 if you were going to leave, and I am 100% agreement with that. If you have no loyalty to follow through with a specialty assignment to the company that is spending a lot of money on you, what does that say to any agency that is going to hire you? You are making a major decision on a "what if" job that only 10% of the applicants will actually be hired.

                        If your gonna do the K9, do the right thing and stay the two years. If you plan on leaving before that, you should step aside now and give someone that actually wants the job and understands the requirements an opportunity.
                        CCCSD, yes I currently own a dog and comparing the two is a little different. Having a pet is different than having a working dog. Bonding with the dog is paramount but I still have to end up doing whats best for my family and I when it comes down to it. To answer you both, I was completely transparent with my current employer that I was actively seeking a career in law enforcement during my hiring process for K9. I was told that this is fine as long as I was okay with paying back a portion of the K9 training if I were to leave prior to the 2 years. They still offered me the job and are struggling to fill the other open spots (I guess not many people want to handle a dog for the amount of money they are paying) so I don't know what to tell you.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          As a Handler, I’ve stated my case. Don’t **** the dog over...EVER.
                          Now go home and get your shine box!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CCCSD View Post
                            As a Handler, I’ve stated my case. Don’t **** the dog over...EVER.
                            I turned down the CSO opportunity to pursue K9. First day of school is tomorrow. Thanks for the help everyone!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Good luck. You’ll never have a better partner, no matter what type of work you do!
                              Now go home and get your shine box!

                              Comment

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