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  • Officers with Law Degrees

    Hello everyone,

    I recently graduated from law school and got my masters in criminal justice at the same time. My law school ... well lets say isn't one of the most prestigious in the country so jobs are few and far between.

    The reason I got my masters in CJ was that before I went to law school, I had planned on becoming a police officer. I always felt that you have to pay your dues, whether on the force or working as a clerk in a law library.

    I'm planning on taking the PT tests in a few different locations, but my question is thus. Will I be deemed over-qualified or .. how should i say this ... looked at like "Why does he want to be a cop? " If i make the force.

    I'm just nervous because my career progression is a little out-of-wack compared to what most people do. Eventually i'd like to be a city prosecutor or D.A or an instructor at an academy or similar institution.

    So ... if anyone has any opinions on the subject, positive or negative, i'd love to hear them.

    Thanks!!
    Dallas Police Dept -

    Applied - January 09
    Detroit Testing Weekend - Passed - 3/28-3/29
    No information since.

    Winston Salem Police Dept -

    Applied - January 09
    Sent in BI paperwork - January 09
    POPAT/Written Test/ Interview - May 09 - Passed
    Rejected - June 6th.

    Fayetteville NC Police Dept

    Applied - January 09
    POPAT/Written Test - May 09 - Passed
    F-3 Sent - May 09

  • #2
    It's my 2 cents, my opinion, and I could be wrong.

    I am a Police Recruiter. My preferred candidates are sworned law enforcement officers, college graduates, and separating service members. It would appear as if you are in the preferred hiring group.

    I encourage all LE to continue their education. Here in NC to be competitive for chief of any of the larger agencies that person must have a masters degree. My previous assignment was as a fraud unit supervisor. All the members of that unit had a 4 year degree.

    When I recommend that we hire a candidate. If we get 3 years of service, we have a return for our investment of sending the candidate to our Academy.

    voronin78: based on what you wrote I would want your application. The written exam would not be a concern to me. I just hope you did not eat too much junk food in college and you had visited the gym.

    voronin78: I would also tell you all the reasons why moving to the south from the midwest is a great idea.
    Last edited by FPDRecruiter; 08-04-2008, 09:59 PM.

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    • #3
      At the time of my retirement, my Assistant Division Chief, and a fellow sergeant were licensed Attorneys. That brings a different,and often very positive perspective to a law enforcement agency. By all means, apply. Test well,and get into the hiring process. Have you taken your Bar Exam? Work on that if you haven't been admitted to the Bar yet. Again, get into the process. Good luck.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm in the application process right now after finishing 6 years in the Office of the District Attorney. I've been an attorney for 9 years but I'm eager to get into uniform and out on the street. Thru my job as an ADA, i've had contact with many of the Detectives in Wichita. Some of them have asked me why, but most have just been simply delighted and excited for me.

        I wish you the best on our shared "backward" path.
        Application DONE
        Aptitude Test PASS
        Typing Test PASS
        First Contact Interview 8/6 DONE
        Agility Test 8/13 PASS
        Polygraph 8/13 PASS
        Background--ongoing
        Oral Board Interview 8/26
        Command Staff Interview
        Psych Exam
        Physical
        Cooper's Run

        Comment


        • #5
          Most police officers who have law degrees get them after becoming a police officer.

          I would consider applying to a federal agency, such as the FBI, where a law degree is a definite plus (and at times a prerequisite).
          Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. -- Aldous Huxley
          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. -- Albert Einstein

          Comment


          • #6
            It's all going to depend on where you apply at.. A department with a high turn over rate is probably not going to see you as someone that's going to stay for long (having a master's degree). A higher paying department that pays more for degrees is probably where you want to focus your applications at.

            Overall, good luck, and I don't foresee you having ANY problems getting hired..

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for everyone that has replied.

              I'm planning on sticking wherever I get a job for at least 3 years. To be quite blunt, besides my own personal desire to be a police officer, One of the things that nobody prepares you for in law school is the serious amount of debt that you incur, and I need a good paying job.

              Any place I'd be applying to would be a place where there would be a good chance for upwards movement. As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn't mind using my background to achieve that goal. I actually would love to wind up teaching at an academy someday but regardless of where I apply, I need to put in my time.

              The only real hurdle right now is the 1.5 mile run that so many of the departments I look at require. While I did "Hit the gym" as a prior poster suggested, I focused more on strength training (I played softball, rugby, and street hockey in college) rather than endurance and speed. I'm busting my butt everyday to get in shape to beat the 1.5 mile times that are required. I'm also looking at the places that require more of an "agility" test. Not to discount the difficulty of those agility tests, but i'm confident I could pass those tomorrow, a 6 laps in 13 minutes ... well that's a little more of a challenge.

              I've looked into the FBI but they are only looking for agents with litigation experience which is not me. Oh well.

              Regardless, thanks again to everyone who replied, both positive and negative. I'll try to keep everyone updated once i start taking tests.
              Dallas Police Dept -

              Applied - January 09
              Detroit Testing Weekend - Passed - 3/28-3/29
              No information since.

              Winston Salem Police Dept -

              Applied - January 09
              Sent in BI paperwork - January 09
              POPAT/Written Test/ Interview - May 09 - Passed
              Rejected - June 6th.

              Fayetteville NC Police Dept

              Applied - January 09
              POPAT/Written Test - May 09 - Passed
              F-3 Sent - May 09

              Comment


              • #8
                ... ...
                Last edited by Another JD; 08-13-2008, 03:07 PM. Reason: Thought I was in a different forum, i'm not a cop

                Comment


                • #9
                  I know of one reserve officer on our department who is a practicing lawyer. I don't know any full time officers who had a law degree PRIOR to becoming sworn, but there are some who got it afterwards. I don't see how it would hurt you, assuming you are otherwise qualified though.
                  I miss you, Dave.
                  http://www.odmp.org/officer/20669-of...david-s.-moore

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