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Joining local PD/Sheriff Department with JD?

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  • Winter_Patriot
    commented on 's reply
    I think a law degree without legal experience is a boost, but you're going to get far more mileage with either prosecution experience or civil trial experience. Criminal defense may make it hard to break into law enforcement. I had obstacles when applying with 2-3 years of criminal defense on my resume. I made the switch to prosecution and started getting some interviews, but no offers. It wasn't until I had three years of experience on the prosecution end where I was actually getting law enforcement offers.

  • Winter_Patriot
    commented on 's reply
    One of my prosecutor colleagues become a police officer. He likened it to being a lawyer, but only have half a second to make a decision. I had a panel interview recently with a uniformed police agency. I read the officer's pocket manual to prepare. I was actually surprised at how little I knew about the practical, on the street aspect of the law. You learn about Terry stops in law school and rehash it again for the bar, but lawyers rarely ever have to think of how it practically applies, from the perspective of a law enforcement officer.

  • Winter_Patriot
    replied
    Originally posted by big_bob_69 View Post
    I'm in several fed 1811 job processes. But I've started looking at local jobs (since it seems getting on as an 1811 is basically 100% a game of chance).

    I know a JD won't really help me. But I'm more worried about whether it would hurt me. Are departments going to look at my degree negatively? I could see why it would look strange....just curious if anyone knows anyone in a similar situation.

    Thank you1
    I think it will help you depending on the agency and your specific experience, but there's an element of luck involved. I've been a lawyer for seven years now, three years as criminal defense and four years as a prosecutor in an urban office. I've applied to probably 75 vacancies in the last two years now. I've had a handful of conditional federal offers, but zero 1811 interview offers. My experience has been mixed. Local departments and federal uniformed agencies have been pretty interested, although I think the POST/PEB test scores are probably what mattered most to them.

    I had the most traction with U.S. Probation Offices -- enough to get several second/third round interviews. That may be because I spent a couple years prosecuting civil commitment, mental health, and drug cases, which has some overlap with probation work. At most the interviews, the law degree became a slight liability but an overall plus. Being comfortable doing legal research, writing long memos, and being in the courtroom -- that all can help you stand out in the state/federal probation context.

    The panels almost always asked me 1) are you using this position to move onto an 1811 job, 2) would you find the job intellectually boring, 3) how well would you adjust to being in the field, after spending 95% of your law career at a desk, 4) how would you interact with prosecutors/judges who didn't agree with your positions?

    Leave a comment:


  • Iowa #1603
    replied
    A friend of mine was a paramedic, she ended up getting hired and working as a deputy sheriff.
    She grew bored with that and went to law school.

    She worked as an attorney for a few years while keeping her paramedic certification up by working part time.

    She grew shaded with the law and went back to full time paramedic.

    She is a law instructor for a local police academy & keeps ALL of her certifications up to date by being a reserve police officer , a consulting attorney for several firms and working full time as a paramedic

    Leave a comment:


  • orangebottle
    replied
    I know one guy that was a cop, got his JD, became an attorney, and got hired on as PT police officer so he could maintain his certification and keep a foot in the game. After a few years of this, he started his own practice and the money became good enough that he was OK leaving police work behind.

    Educational incentives are a real deal, and worth researching. Several PDs & SOs around here offer increasing kickers for having associate, bachelor, or master degrees. One department I know of also offers an additional incentive for JD, MD/DO, or PhD.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArmyVet
    replied
    This is a second career for me. I had a doctorate when I was hired. My educational background did not hinder my hiring prospects in this field. I was asked during the Chief's interview if I planned to go federal. I honestly told him no. I love my job, and I have no regrets, but I'd be lying if I said the thought of going federal hadn't crossed my mind lately with the current political climate. I know one former prosecutor who is now a police officer. I know another prosecutor who became a cop, and then went back to being a prosecutor.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dinosaur32
    replied
    Went to law school while on the job in the NYC Courts. Never made a big deal of it, bu during the Sean Combs trial and Dem convention in ‘04 had a lot of fun using my degree. It is good to have and your job experience will be extremely handy when you do pull the plug and practice full time.

    Leave a comment:


  • big_bob_69
    commented on 's reply
    Yep, I generally don't mention I'm an attorney since it's pretty much never relevant and generally only leads to people asking me "questions" about their child support problems.

  • 9L81
    commented on 's reply
    When I was hired as a local I was in the process with 2 departments at the time. The first was a sheriff's office with lower pay and a bigger commute. I was about 4 months ahead in their process. During the background I was asked twice about the other department. I told them I had run into nothing but hiring freezes up to that point and wasn't going to put my eggs in one basket but told them whoever extended the offer first, I would go with. As soon as the other department got to my background the SO got cold feet. Asked again and I again said they would be my choice if they offered the job first. That is how I felt too. I considered them to both have their adavanges and we're equal to me. Yeah they were a commute and yeah they didn't pay as well but it was a bigger department with more opportunity and imo a better area to work. The SO was unconvinced by me or believed that they were not an equal offer to the PD I was eventually hired by. The SO finally just stopped my background despite the fact they were still months ahead in the process. So I went with the PD who did eventually offer me a job.

    I could see a local agency acting similarly if they felt the federal agency's were the better fit or the more attractive offer to someone like you. In your case the ability to avoid moving is probably your biggest factor in staying local but as mentioned how long might that keep you around. Psych screening will be trying to find answers to these kinds of questions so of you do apply locally you will just have to see how that all works out.

  • Saluki89
    replied
    PM me if you want my take as someone in this situation

    Leave a comment:


  • CCCSD
    replied
    Bigger question: Can you attend and pass an academy without trying to insert your limited knowledge of the Law? Can you work in the field without trying to insert your interpretation of the law? Will you be able to do the job, being told by others how to write a report, and being told you don’t have the chops?

    Leave a comment:


  • big_bob_69
    commented on 's reply
    Yes, I’ve passed the bar. No real criminal experience.

  • just joe
    replied
    Have you passed the bar? If yes, do you have experience in criminal law?



    Leave a comment:


  • big_bob_69
    replied
    Lots of good stuff so far. Thanks everyone.

    Leave a comment:


  • big_bob_69
    commented on 's reply
    I passed the bar and everything. Just not interested in doing it anymore. Hoping that being a giant Irish idiot is enough proof to show that I should obviously be a cop instead.

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