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  • I really need some advice going into Law Enforcement

    Hello I really need some advice! I recently made a post on here and you guys were really helpful.

    I am 19 years old. I live in Southern California in orange county on the coast near the Anaheim/Garden grove area. I have always been very passionate about law enforcement and have admired and looked up to police officers my entire life. I have a clean record as well.


    I am looking to take my first steps into the law enforcement field by applying to various cadet programs. I don't have work experience besides doordash and volunteering at both a medical clinic and a chiropractor during my high school days. I watch a lot of interactions online between the police and citizens because I just naturally enjoy watching raw body cam footage, ridealongs, and police content in general. I am also currently a full time college student studying for my criminal justice degree

    I was initially going to apply for a full fledged position and prepared in doing so by getting into really good shape, studying for the pelletb, and by learning the many penal codes in my state. Even though I know I'm passionate about law enforcement, I thought the mature decision would be to apply for a cadet program beforehand so I can some prior experience prior to jumping straight into the big leagues. I also wanted to see if I still truly have the passion after working in the actual field.

    I have recently applied for the cadet position to one PD where they make you go through the full process, the oral exam, the Background check, polygraph, etc. Regrettably, I didn't really study for the oral exam besides practicing some basic questions in my head and by reading the mission statement of the PD. The interview still went very well though because one of the interviewers at the panel said I did a good job. I scored a 90/100 on the oral board passing with flying colors. I was so excited thinking my score was good and I was ready to jump straight into backgrounds.

    However, I am now on the eligibility list for the backgrounds and I am 11th in line. I'm not sure how long this will take but I was hoping to work within 3-4 months but I don't know how long it will take to get through 11 people. I made the mistake of underestimating the competitiveness of a police cadet position and I could have done better on the interview had I practiced and studied. I won't make that mistake again. Perhaps one of the experienced officers could estimate how long it would take to get through that many cadets or if I am ever going to get in within a year?

    I didn't think the cadet program would actually be this competitive to get into. Is it normal for a 90/100 and good jobs from the panel to be 11th in line for a cadet program? Maybe it was the department itself but regardless I won't make the mistake again of not putting my full effort into it. Perhaps I'm starting to get a full faced hit of what it's like to compete in the real world and not school.

    Therefore, during this period of time, I was wondering what I can do to increase my competitiveness applying to these cadet jobs. I am now applying to 3-4 other police departments that have cadet programs. I want to apply to these cadet programs and be able to be on the top of the eligibility list so I don't have to wait for an eternity. I know it sounds like I'm impatient, but I'm really passionate and eager to start my law enforcement journey and I don't want to have to worry about whether or not I will make it to the top of the eligibility list.

    I plan on practicing my communication/ interview skills and I plan on studying some interview scenario questions. I always dress professionally and show up with a fresh cut. I regularly work out and run so I'm in good shape. Should I add more work history to make myself more competitive? What else can I do so I can get into these cadet programs?

    Please criticize me and be as hard on me as you possibly can. I want to improve badly.

    Also: The eligibility list was solely based on the Oral according to the PD and I tried asking the department if there was an estimate to the amount of people that get taken off the eligbility list monthly or yearly, but they couldn't say and it varies on the departments needs.

    I
    Last edited by erretta; 09-28-2022, 12:41 AM.

  • #2
    Don’t really want to go deep into my background but I currently have five years on in an extremely proactive city with time in a lot of different areas of the job. I came onto the job at twenty two and had no idea I wanted to be a cop I was always looking to be a counselor and my brother told me why not apply.

    With that being said and you having a lot of time before starting think about what community you want to serve and why. Coming in I could think of no other city I would want to work for other than the one I do now but five years later and I wouldn’t mind relocating but it would have to be the right fit as that’s really important.

    I took the entrance exam with over three thousand people and placed 153 and thought I did terrible as they only take approximately sixty people per class. However I was on the waiting list for the first class. People drop out and you’ll eventually get moved up so don’t beat yourself up. A lot of departments keep lists even if they fill their current positions so don’t worry. I eventually got in second class out of the ones they had for my hiring list. During that time I worked a lot to save up and stayed OUT OF TROUBLE. Recruits have a hard time staying out of trouble and not ****ing off instructors. Retain all the information you can in the academy so you can pass your tests. Get along with all your classmates and instructors and treat them with respect , I say that as anyone in the academy could be your future partner or god forbid boss lol, but jokes aside the instructors are good at reading people and reputations follow you throughout the department.

    Stay out of trouble, work while you wait, if you don’t have a degree yet start school now if your department requires a degree/sixty credits. Also check to see if your state’s DoJ will waive credits if you complete the academy. Mine waved twenty credits! Keep a good head on your shoulders, be respectful and open to learning and you’ll go far.

    Comment


    • #3
      OMG you only scored a 90. For shame, for shame!!!!! Actually, 90 is pretty good for someone who didn't prepare.

      Here's the reality - No matter how good you are, there will always be folks who are better. No matter how poorly you score, there will always be people who will score lower. That's just life.

      This is what most orals score on in California -
      • 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.
      You can try to prep yourself for orals based on that, but the reality is, you either have it or you don't. Mushc of it is based on life and work experience.

      You are over 18, so try applying for Community Service Officer positions with your local PDs. They do miscellaneous tasks such as parking enforcement, non-injury traffic accident investigation and in some agencies, go nowhere calls such as petty theft and vandalism calls where there is obviously no suspect info and paper is only being taken for insurance purposes.

      It's getting into their dead season, but in spring, apply at the Orange County Fair for any public contact position, particularly one at Fairtime in Guest Services. That will give you a lot of work and public contact experience.

      As far as when you might be picked up with the agency you just applied with - your guess is as good as mine. I will all depend on how many positions they need to fill, how long the list is good for and how many applicants ahead of you get disqualified as they continue in the process.

      If they need to fill 5 positions and no one gets disqualified on the medical or background, then you will never be hired from this list and will have to try again when they have another test. OTOH, if 6 get disqualified or decline the position, you stand a good chance.
      Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by L-1 View Post
        OMG you only scored a 90. For shame, for shame!!!!! Actually, 90 is pretty good for someone who didn't prepare.

        Here's the reality - No matter how good you are, there will always be folks who are better. No matter how poorly you score, there will always be people who will score lower. That's just life.

        This is what most orals score on in California -
        • 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.
        You can try to prep yourself for orals based on that, but the reality is, you either have it or you don't. Mushc of it is based on life and work experience.

        You are over 18, so try applying for Community Service Officer positions with your local PDs. They do miscellaneous tasks such as parking enforcement, non-injury traffic accident investigation and in some agencies, go nowhere calls such as petty theft and vandalism calls where there is obviously no suspect info and paper is only being taken for insurance purposes.

        It's getting into their dead season, but in spring, apply at the Orange County Fair for any public contact position, particularly one at Fairtime in Guest Services. That will give you a lot of work and public contact experience.

        As far as when you might be picked up with the agency you just applied with - your guess is as good as mine. I will all depend on how many positions they need to fill, how long the list is good for and how many applicants ahead of you get disqualified as they continue in the process.

        If they need to fill 5 positions and no one gets disqualified on the medical or background, then you will never be hired from this list and will have to try again when they have another test. OTOH, if 6 get disqualified or decline the position, you stand a good chance.

        Thank you for the information L-1. I will make sure to use this on my next oral interview. By chance L-1 would you recommend I apply to more agency's as a cadet right now while trying to get another position to get more experience in public contact? Do you think it's possible to get into these agency's as a cadet without a lot of public contact experience?

        Comment


        • #5
          I've sat on a lot of orals. To me, a lot depended on how you presented yourself. I've seen applicants with a world of experience and college degrees out the ying yang come off like blithering idiots and guys with a GED and a lot of common sense shine like stellar candidates. As I said in my prior post, It all depends on whether you have it in you to be a cop.

          And yes, I would continue to apply with other agencies. If they ask you why you are shotgunning applications the answer is simple. You are serious about getting into the profession and there are more applicants than there are vacancies, so this is the best way to achieve your goal.
          Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by erretta View Post
            Hello I really need some advice! I recently made a post on here and you guys were really helpful.

            I am 19 years old. I live in Southern California in orange county on the coast near the Anaheim/Garden grove area. I have always been very passionate about law enforcement and have admired and looked up to police officers my entire life. I have a clean record as well.


            I am looking to take my first steps into the law enforcement field by applying to various cadet programs. I don't have work experience besides doordash and volunteering at both a medical clinic and a chiropractor during my high school days. I watch a lot of interactions online between the police and citizens because I just naturally enjoy watching raw body cam footage, ridealongs, and police content in general. I am also currently a full time college student studying for my criminal justice degree

            I was initially going to apply for a full fledged position and prepared in doing so by getting into really good shape, studying for the pelletb, and by learning the many penal codes in my state. Even though I know I'm passionate about law enforcement, I thought the mature decision would be to apply for a cadet program beforehand so I can some prior experience prior to jumping straight into the big leagues. I also wanted to see if I still truly have the passion after working in the actual field.

            I have recently applied for the cadet position to one PD where they make you go through the full process, the oral exam, the Background check, polygraph, etc. Regrettably, I didn't really study for the oral exam besides practicing some basic questions in my head and by reading the mission statement of the PD. The interview still went very well though because one of the interviewers at the panel said I did a good job. I scored a 90/100 on the oral board passing with flying colors. I was so excited thinking my score was good and I was ready to jump straight into backgrounds.

            However, I am now on the eligibility list for the backgrounds and I am 11th in line. I'm not sure how long this will take but I was hoping to work within 3-4 months but I don't know how long it will take to get through 11 people. I made the mistake of underestimating the competitiveness of a police cadet position and I could have done better on the interview had I practiced and studied. I won't make that mistake again. Perhaps one of the experienced officers could estimate how long it would take to get through that many cadets or if I am ever going to get in within a year?

            I didn't think the cadet program would actually be this competitive to get into. Is it normal for a 90/100 and good jobs from the panel to be 11th in line for a cadet program? Maybe it was the department itself but regardless I won't make the mistake again of not putting my full effort into it. Perhaps I'm starting to get a full faced hit of what it's like to compete in the real world and not school.

            Therefore, during this period of time, I was wondering what I can do to increase my competitiveness applying to these cadet jobs. I am now applying to 3-4 other police departments that have cadet programs. I want to apply to these cadet programs and be able to be on the top of the eligibility list so I don't have to wait for an eternity. I know it sounds like I'm impatient, but I'm really passionate and eager to start my law enforcement journey and I don't want to have to worry about whether or not I will make it to the top of the eligibility list.

            I plan on practicing my communication/ interview skills and I plan on studying some interview scenario questions. I always dress professionally and show up with a fresh cut. I regularly work out and run so I'm in good shape. Should I add more work history to make myself more competitive? What else can I do so I can get into these cadet programs?

            Please criticize me and be as hard on me as you possibly can. I want to improve badly.

            Also: The eligibility list was solely based on the Oral according to the PD and I tried asking the department if there was an estimate to the amount of people that get taken off the eligbility list monthly or yearly, but they couldn't say and it varies on the departments needs.

            I
            Look at that! Paragraphs! From a 19 year old! In 2022!
            Last edited by Aidokea; 09-28-2022, 09:15 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              As odd as it may seem, the Cadet program may actually be more competitive than the hiring process for the actual Dept.

              I’m guessing that there’s a limited number of Cadet positions available, where the actual number of open officer positions is probably much higher; this is a nationwide issue.

              Apply, you never never know how you’ll do, someone will get the position, make it you,…….!!

              Good luck and keep us updated.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NolaT View Post
                As odd as it may seem, the Cadet program may actually be more competitive than the hiring process for the actual Dept.

                I’m guessing that there’s a limited number of Cadet positions available, where the actual number of open officer positions is probably much higher; this is a nationwide issue.

                Apply, you never never know how you’ll do, someone will get the position, make it you,…….!!

                Good luck and keep us updated.
                Wow that is actually pretty strange. I would think that it would be the opposite because cadet positions are less funded relative to full time sworn positions. Thanks for the insight.

                Comment


                • #9
                  LEO Depts Nationwide are pretty much all understaffed, if you can meet the basic MINIMUM requirements you’ll be quickly hired!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NolaT View Post
                    LEO Depts Nationwide are pretty much all understaffed, if you can meet the basic MINIMUM requirements you’ll be quickly hired!
                    I apologize for the late response. I didn’t see this comment.

                    I’m not sure if you know this information. However, I believe it’s worth it to ask because I’m applying to these departments and perhaps you have insight on the situation.

                    Do you believe that the majority of departments in Orange County such as Anaheim, Tustin, Garden Grove, etc are also understaffed and looking for minimum requirements?

                    I’ve heard that Anaheim, my main department that I presently want to get into, is relatively competitive and difficult to get into in 2018. However, perhaps in this day and age things are different?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Things have definitely changed in recent years, with most all Depts Nationwide being understaffed.


                      Minimum requirements must still be met, but the applicant pool has shrunken considerably, apply and never quit, good luck!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by erretta View Post

                        I apologize for the late response. I didn’t see this comment.

                        I’m not sure if you know this information. However, I believe it’s worth it to ask because I’m applying to these departments and perhaps you have insight on the situation.

                        Do you believe that the majority of departments in Orange County such as Anaheim, Tustin, Garden Grove, etc are also understaffed and looking for minimum requirements?

                        I’ve heard that Anaheim, my main department that I presently want to get into, is relatively competitive and difficult to get into in 2018. However, perhaps in this day and age things are different?
                        Keep in mind that California, especially southern California, is generally Democrat-run cities, in Democrat-run counties, in a Democrat-run state, in our Democrat-run nation. Doing law enforcement in that environment, can be very dangerous- the culture actively seeks to crucify cops. You could do everything right, and still end up going to prison for the rest of your life.

                        It's a lot safer in free states, but there are still some risks. It says "IN GOD WE TRUST" on the police cars here in central Texas. People love cops here, other than the Democrat-run cities. The downsides, are that the pay tends to be a lot lower, and a lot of them aren't union.

                        In 2022, there is no easy answer in law enforcement.
                        Last edited by Aidokea; 10-02-2022, 09:39 AM.

                        Comment


                        • scotty_appleton814
                          scotty_appleton814 commented
                          Editing a comment
                          A lot safer in those "free" states... which have higher crime, gun violence, and violent crime rates than those "other" states you mention.

                          Every where will have their pros and cons.

                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Aidokea View Post
                        In 2022, there is no easy answer in law enforcement.
                        Sure there is. To quote Joshua in Wargames, "The only winning move is not to play."
                        "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


                        • Aidokea
                          Aidokea commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Yeah, you're right.

                          This just isn't the same world it was 30 years ago.

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