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  • Making a decision between departments

    I’ve been a lurker here for awhile awaiting my retirement from the Coast Guard. Well retirement is mere months away and I’m in the process with 4 departments.

    I am basically facing a choice in the near future (1-2 weeks) and am seeking some advice. 2 of the 4 departments are in a race to finish my background up and give me a conditional offer. Both have made it very clear to me that they are trying to lock me down. So now I am weighing pros and cons and would welcome some factors to consider that I may not be thinking about.

    Department A
    Pays about $7,000 more a year
    Smaller Dept, half the size of Dept B
    Works 3x12.5 with 1 additional 10 hr a month
    Lots of new younger officers

    Dept B
    Works 4x10
    Twice the size of Dept A
    Safer community

    These are Bay Area departments in California, so I’m gonna be commuting probably 1-2 hours for work. My top department was neither of the 2 but it is only now getting into the picture so they are pretty much out, same thing with the 4th department. I’m thinking with that commute the 3x12.5 schedule looks more appealing. I’m grateful to have a choice but man it makes it feel a lot harder than just taking the first offer. Thanks in advance for any and all responses! Also how do I change my username?

  • #2
    The rule is generally pretty simple...you take the one that offers you a job first.

    Nothing is guaranteed until you are hired. You don't want to turn down an offer with the hopes that another department will step up, only to have that second offer never come because the stars don't align.
    "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
    -Friedrich Nietzsche

    Comment


    • #3
      While I totally agree with that line of thought, I know that it is gonna come down to my choice. Both departments have made it clear that I have an offer coming unless something pops up in my background, which there isn’t anything. The only hurdles left will be medical and psych, which come after the conditional offer.

      I have 20 years military, with most of it being LE related, albeit a little different than police work. Counter drug, migrant interdiction, BUI enforcement, Fisheries regulations enforcement. I have a bachelors in Sports and Health Science with a 3.6 gpa. Leadership course design and delivery, search and rescue coordination and operations. I was also an LE instructor teaching use of force, federal law, BUI, search procedures and execution, etc.

      I’m hoping that I’m not coming across as cocky, as I’m the least cocky person you’d ever meet. I am however confident in my experience and abilities. I am just trying to make sure I make the best informed decision possible.

      I didn’t mention benefits because they are pretty much on par with each other.

      Comment


      • #4
        As a local I worked 12s but there was no overlap in patrol. So 12s easily turned into 13-15 hour days. That sucked. So be aware of that. And with a not short commute, it also needs to be factored in.

        From what you wrote I would just go with the department that seems to be the best fit for you or has the better management and support from it's jurisdiction.

        Friend of mine spent two years as a deputy and then lateraled to a city. His brother spent all of the academy at the same sheriff's office and then started FTO with the same city. I believe the city worked it out with the county and helped pay the training cost. Not sure you could pull something like that off nowadays. But as desperate as some agencies are now, poaching like that wouldn't surprise me.

        Also until you get a final offer, I think you stay in the process with everyone you can. You never know when a hiring freeze or something similar can affect you. It stopped 3 of my applications, as a local hire and who knows how many as a federal applicant. One of the local freezes I had tested and was top of the hiring list when they were looking to hire approximately 30 officers. Hiring freeze and that was that. Move on to the next. My current federal gig took over 2 years to be hired. That wasn't the plan when the announcement happened but that's how it worked out.

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        • #5
          If you want fun, go with Dept A. Don't take this as an insult but if you were younger I would definitely recommend A. Being retired CG I'm guessing you are at least 37. If you have a family, kids etc, and are not in your physical prime like you were 20 years ago, then maybe Dept B, an easier lifestyle.

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          • #6
            12.5 hour shift plus a 1-2 hour commute each way.... that sounds like an exercise in sleep deprivation.

            I was in Key West Florida a few years ago and got talking with one of the Monroe county deputies. Because Key West is so expensive, most deputies live 3 hours away in Miami or Fort Lauderdale. But that's not a realistic commute, so they converted an old jail into barracks and went to 12 hour shifts, 7 days on, 7 off. Maybe you could take your sleeping bag and toothbrush with and do something similar....

            Terrell County Deputy: It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?

            Sheriff: If it ain't, it'll do 'til the mess gets here..

            No Country For Old Men

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by devin.green View Post
              While I totally agree with that line of thought, I know that it is gonna come down to my choice. Both departments have made it clear that I have an offer coming unless something pops up in my background, which there isn’t anything. The only hurdles left will be medical and psych, which come after the conditional offer.

              I have 20 years military, with most of it being LE related, albeit a little different than police work. Counter drug, migrant interdiction, BUI enforcement, Fisheries regulations enforcement. I have a bachelors in Sports and Health Science with a 3.6 gpa. Leadership course design and delivery, search and rescue coordination and operations. I was also an LE instructor teaching use of force, federal law, BUI, search procedures and execution, etc.

              I’m hoping that I’m not coming across as cocky, as I’m the least cocky person you’d ever meet. I am however confident in my experience and abilities. I am just trying to make sure I make the best informed decision possible.

              I didn’t mention benefits because they are pretty much on par with each other.
              I'm going to assume that both are departments that you're willing to work for (ie, one of them isn't a "last choice" that you'll take like swallowing bitter medicine just to get a job) and you won't regret taking one over the other...

              Having worked 12's, I can say that they're long...and catching an end-of-shift call can make them longer. And I didn't have more than a 10 minute commute when I worked them...driving 2 hrs after a 12 hr shift would certainly be a slog. You have to realistically consider that you're (potentially) looking at a NORMAL day being 14-16 hrs, with 8-10 hrs in between to eat, sleep, get ready for your next shift, and connect with whoever you have at home. There's not much downtime between shifts when you're working 12's anyway, so that commute will hurt. Depending on how they have their schedule set up, the days off are nice, however.

              The extra $7k is nice, but money changes depending on the financial future of the community, union negotiations, overtime, etc. 10's are a solid shift schedule with good time off.

              However, as I mentioned above, I'd recommend that you have a seriously good reason to turn down an offer to wait for another. It's highly unlikely that you're going to get an offer from each on the same day, so that's a decision that you will have to make (and, I agree with 9L81...an "offer" is a FINAL offer, not a conditional...you stay in the running with each agency until you're sworn in and officially hired). And, no mater what your background and qualifications, that job you're expecting may disappear for reasons beyond your control...hiring freezes, the guy who they're replacing decides not to retire, someone arrests the Mayor's son for DUI and suddenly the money for that position gets "redistributed" for a new leather couch and flatscreen tv for the FD, whatever.
              "He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
              -Friedrich Nietzsche

              Comment


              • #8
                Well I was given a conditional offer by department B today. I took it, so now I have my medical on Friday, and psych sometime soon. My background isn’t finished quite yet but my BI apparently wrote a memo to the department to prompt the offer sooner than usual.

                I had already decided I preferred dept B, but the Capt that gave me the offer sold me with one last point. They are understaffed and are looking to add 12 more officers minimum. Shifts are done by seniority and he said I could very easily have decent enough seniority to quickly get out of the worst shifts. That really wasn’t and isn’t a big deal to me, but was a nice selling point.

                Thanks to all who responded. I’m sure I’ll have more questions and look forward to being a sworn officer and being able to stay active here!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well I got the call today that Department B is moving me to hiring and I should be going in to sign my unconditional offer any day now. I did have a little medical issue that worried me for a bit. I have had amblyopia “lazy eye” in my right eye all my life but it has never impacted my abilities throughout my career in the Coast Guard. Fortunately I am a keeper of all my documents and was able to provide every range qual from my entire career. Had to sweat it for a little while, especially since my retirement is coming up quick and who knows how long the economy is going to suffer.

                  They are expecting to send me through the academy in July. I just want to thank everyone that takes the time to post and answer questions here as it was a wealth of knowledge for me!!

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                  • #10
                    Congratulations! Good luck on your new life.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Good for you. Good luck.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        12.5 hour shifts quickly turn into 14-15 hour shifts, plus commute. Even without that in-progress DV at end of shift, a 12.5 day plus an hour drive each way is going to mean trouble eventually. Don’t forget you’ll probably start on nights and have court, training, and other BS thought up by admins who work 9-5.
                        "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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tanksoldier View Post
                          12.5 hour shifts quickly turn into 14-15 hour shifts, plus commute. Even without that in-progress DV at end of shift, a 12.5 day plus an hour drive each way is going to mean trouble eventually. Don’t forget you’ll probably start on nights and have court, training, and other BS thought up by admins who work 9-5.
                          He took the job with 4 x 10 not 12's
                          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


                          • tanksoldier
                            tanksoldier commented
                            Editing a comment
                            I saw that, but still useful to someone who comes along later

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