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  • Career crossroads

    Good evening brothers and sisters. I need some advice preferably from someone who has been in a similar position. I’ve been working for an agency in a major city for the last three years. I love my job. I love my squad. They’re a great bunch of guys and girls and I would no sh*t take a bullet for any of them. I work in a busy inner city district that has plenty of opportunities to get into some shenanigans. It is the best show on earth. A few months ago I was a little disillusioned with how things were going at work and I took a civil service test for a suburban department. Of course things got better at work and I forgot about the test. Much to my surprise I got a call from the suburb last week I am about 99% likely going to get the position. It’s a much smaller agency and the crime rate is very low which I’m concerned about because I like the action my city provides.That being said the salary is almost double what I’m making now without overtime and the schedule is a lot better. I have a wife and two small children and I know this opportunity would provide them a much better quality of life then what I can give them now. I’m just worried I’m going to regret resigning my current job. I love what I do and we’re getting by on my current salary but this new opportunity could mean big things for my family. I want to do right by my family and I don’t want to be selfish but I love being a “ghetto cop”. I’m also a little anxious about starting over and being the “rookie” again. Can anyone give me a little input or advice? Anyone on here leave a busy agency for a slower one and what was your experience adjusting to it? Thanks in advance and stay safe!
    Last edited by Doc311; 02-05-2020, 05:55 PM.

  • #2
    Tough decisions. Do what you love doing with people you love being with, or do something else that will benefit your wife and children.

    I once left a mid-sized city PD for an investigator position with a state agency, thought it would be a good career move, provide more time with the family, easier schedule, etc. Lots of changes, to say the least:

    1. Pension plan was not transferable.
    2. Family health insurance plan cost twice as much.
    3. Had to move 100 miles away, sell the house, buy another house. Then a year later I was transferred 150 miles in another direction.
    4. Normal work schedule was 8A-5P Monday-Friday, weekends and holidays off (for everybody but me!). Spent the first 6 months in a position that had been vacant for a year, case load piled up to the rafters, ZERO days off, ZERO weekends, ZERO holidays. Then I was assigned an out-of-state case that took 4 months of travel in the US and Canada, and while I was gone my usual territory had no coverage so I came home to a full in-box and case load waiting for me. Ended up being promoted to Supervisory Investigator, responsible for over half the State of Colorado and a half-dozen guys who didn't like working nights, weekends, holidays, or any other time for that matter (but I still had to make sure the case load was handled and the reports were done in a timely manner).

    I hope you are including your wife in this decision process! Share your thoughts and wishes openly, let her help you make the decision. Otherwise you might repeat my experience of divorce, repeated moves, finally quitting in disgust and ending up as a small town police chief (where the politics can become truly fierce!).

    I have been retired for 25 years now. If I had it to do all over again I would have stayed on as a private in the rear rank working midnight shifts in the city.

    Be very careful what you wish for. You might get it.

    Comment


    • #3
      First, compare the whole package from one department to the other...not just pay but benefits, schedule, retirement, etc.

      Second, consider the future. Most people can't be a "ghetto cop" forever...there comes a point when chasing thugs through the ghetto loses its appeal and you yearn for something more. Consider which department has a better future...stability, advancement, special assignments, training, etc.

      Third, consider why you were looking to jump ship in the first place. Was it a one-time issue within your department or something that's likely to happen again?

      Finally, consider your family. I strongly believe in the "family first" mentality when it comes to LE. Remember that, in the end, this is just a job...but family is (God willing) for life. Definitely, absolutely, positively get your wife's input into the decision and consider it carefully. If all things come out as a push when comparing the two departments, then my opinion is that you consider what's best for your family and take it.

      And, don't necessarily think that a "slower" suburban department is boring. Yes, they absolutely can be, but lower call loads can also give you the time and opportunity to get into self-initiated stuff that you wouldn't have the time for in busier departments.
      "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


      • #4
        Originally posted by Doc311 View Post
        Good evening brothers and sisters. I need some advice preferably from someone who has been in a similar position. I’ve been working for an agency in a major city for the last three years. I love my job. I love my squad. They’re a great bunch of guys and girls and I would no sh*t take a bullet for any of them. I work in a busy inner city district that has plenty of opportunities to get into some shenanigans. It is the best show on earth. A few months ago I was a little disillusioned with how things were going at work and I took a civil service test for a suburban department. Of course things got better at work and I forgot about the test. Much to my surprise I got a call from the suburb last week I am about 99% likely going to get the position. It’s a much smaller agency and the crime rate is very low which I’m concerned about because I like the action my city provides.That being said the salary is almost double what I’m making now without overtime and the schedule is a lot better. I have a wife and two small children and I know this opportunity would provide them a much better quality of life then what I can give them now. I’m just worried I’m going to regret resigning my current job. I love what I do and we’re getting by on my current salary but this new opportunity could mean big things for my family. I want to do right by my family and I don’t want to be selfish but I love being a “ghetto cop”. I’m also a little anxious about starting over and being the “rookie” again. Can anyone give me a little input or advice? Anyone on here leave a busy agency for a slower one and what was your experience adjusting to it? Thanks in advance and stay safe!
        Paragraphs, dude...paragraphs...

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post
          .

          Second, consider the future. Most people can't be a "ghetto cop" forever...there comes a point when chasing thugs through the ghetto loses its appeal and you yearn for something more. Consider which department has a better future...stability, advancement, special assignments, training, etc.

          .
          I can't emphasize this more.

          I currently work part time for an agency that is REAL YOUNG. With the exception of the Sheriff, Chief Deputy and a couple more of my semi retired buddies on the transport staff no one has more that 8 yrs on as a cop. ( I have been working for the agency 9 yrs.....and enjoyed watching the old guys retire and get replaced)

          While it is fun watching the hard charging kids work...........I am waiting for them to start burning out. The guy who has been there the longest is just now learning about working day shift patrol & investigations.

          To the OP.

          Just remember that the grass that is greener on the other side of the river might be greener because it is fertilized better.. You do know what fertilizer is made of don't you ?


          Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post
          And, don't necessarily think that a "slower" suburban department is boring. Yes, they absolutely can be, but lower call loads can also give you the time and opportunity to get into self-initiated stuff that you wouldn't have the time for in busier departments.
          Branching out from being a "street runner" might or might not be a goal NOW but it might be a good thing later in your career.........
          Last edited by Iowa #1603; 02-06-2020, 07:23 AM.
          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


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post
            First, compare the whole package from one department to the other...not just pay but benefits, schedule, retirement, etc.

            Second, consider the future. Most people can't be a "ghetto cop" forever...there comes a point when chasing thugs through the ghetto loses its appeal and you yearn for something more. Consider which department has a better future...stability, advancement, special assignments, training, etc.

            Third, consider why you were looking to jump ship in the first place. Was it a one-time issue within your department or something that's likely to happen again?

            Finally, consider your family. I strongly believe in the "family first" mentality when it comes to LE. Remember that, in the end, this is just a job...but family is (God willing) for life. Definitely, absolutely, positively get your wife's input into the decision and consider it carefully. If all things come out as a push when comparing the two departments, then my opinion is that you consider what's best for your family and take it.

            And, don't necessarily think that a "slower" suburban department is boring. Yes, they absolutely can be, but lower call loads can also give you the time and opportunity to get into self-initiated stuff that you wouldn't have the time for in busier departments.
            Couldn't have put this better.
            First, I understand the willingness to take a bullet for my co-workers. They were more like my brothers/sisters than 'co-workers.'
            I worked with mostly young Fathers. Very much family men. Too often though, I saw them working a lot of extra jobs so that their kids
            could have 'stuff.'
            Later, I saw more than a few of their kids start getting into trouble as teens. Whether it was due to their Dad's not being
            home much, I don't know.
            The time when I worked in the worst part of Atlanta was probably the highlight of my career. Def. one of the highlights.
            What does your wife say? Her opinion is going to be a pretty big part of your decision I hope.
            Retirement and benefits also are a deal changer. Everything in your career is temporary--except a good retirement.
            Everything I've written is just my opinion. Ultimately it's up to you and your wife.
            Good luck w/ your decision.

            Comment


            • #7
              RE: Co-workers. Work co-workers are like summer camp friends...

              At summer camp, you made best friends for life. Every day was filled with adventure and camaraderie. Every night was campfires and twinkling stars.

              On the last day, you hugged your new BFFs and said you'd write every day. When you got home, you wrote everyone three page letters about what an awesome time you had and how much you miss them.

              They wrote back. In a couple of days, you wrote again. They didn't write back this time.

              A week later, you were hanging with the neighborhood kids again.

              A month later, you pretty much forgot all about your friends from camp.

              Same goes for cop shop friends....

              RE: Missing the juice

              You'll be slightly bored and miss the action but your misery will quickly be assuaged as soon as you look at your paystub and imagine what you can do with a doubled income. From that point on, you'll be one of the guys who says things like, "Back when I was a real cop" or "This is how real cops do it in XXXX", as your co-workers roll their eyes. You'll complain to your wife about how the golden handcuffs are keeping you from going back as you cook filet mignon steaks on the grill. You'll regret leaving as you mow the grass in your new zero turn mower and drive around in your new F250 truck with leather seats and automatic trailer backing.

              RE: Being a rookie again

              Yeah it sucks to start new again and it's always a roll of the dice when it comes to meshing with a new crew. I've done it more than a couple of times and had mixed results. Everything from oh no wtf did I get myself into to wow this was the best decision of my adult life. All I can say is the cookie crumbles differently for everyone in those situations....



              Chance favors the prepared mind.

              -Louis Pasteur

              Comment


              • #8
                Doc, I'dalso suggest some ride-alongs with the suburban agency. You don't want to transfer to a place that looks good on paper and Facebook, but is a nightmare to work for. My former departments has pretty good pay and benefits and seems squared away, but officers and civilian employees work in terror of an Taliban-like internal affairs process.
                John from Maryland

                Comment


                • #9
                  I used to work for a very busy agency and for the first five years of my career I "hooked and booked." I took all available overtime and would make proactive stops all day and even to the end of my shift between all the calls, only to be stuck after my shift hours writing novels on my arrests and calls for service for the day. I began to notice though that I would be arresting the same turds over and over. I started thinking that no matter how hard I tried to put someone away for a while to solve problems it did not happen like I thought.

                  If I did get a few days off I found myself in court during those days. Of course being the new guy I was always stuck on weekend shifts and my days off were week days and court always seemed to be scheduled on my assigned days off.

                  The worst thing though, was I realized I didn't have many memories with my young daughter and newborn son. Basically, I missed five years of their lives and my son did not even really know me. Thankfully I had a strong wife who stuck with me, even though I was barely around. I realized I was giving my life over to the turds on the street and they were just going through a revolving door at the jail. Not much of an impact.

                  I decided to transfer to a slow agency, which by the way payed better too. I made in my first year at the new agency just as much as I made with overtime at the old agency and I barely worked any overtime at the new department.

                  The cool thing was too, I brought a crap load of experience to the new agency and I had investigated every type of crime you could imagine with the old agency. I had 10 to 15 year veterans and sergeants at the new department asking me how to handle stuff.

                  The downside though was it wasn't the adrenaline pumping call to call experience that I was used to. So in the beginning it was a hard adjustment. However, after about a year I really started getting used to the slower pace and the fact that I don't have court very often and I started and got off on time every day.

                  I have time now and have learned to refocus my energy in being a better husband and father and made many good memories with them that I would not have had made at the old department. It puts things in perspective. At the end of my life the legacy of my children and the bond with them and the wife is so much more important than with the co-workers and my 25 maybe 30 year career. At the end of it all, you only get a hand shake and a pension and maybe some medals to hang in a shadow box. And the turds are still out and about committing the same crimes, not rotting in a prison where they should be. But with your children and wife you get a lifetime of respect, love, legacy and memories no one can take away.

                  My advise, when/if you lateral over to the slower agency is, don't relax too much. At my slower department I can be as proactive as I desire and still get into cool stuff and make good arrests. The difference is, I'll still go home on time because I don't have the overwhelming call volume to contend with anymore. Put your heart into being a productive cop, don't be the proverbial "lateral slug" that so many slower agencies seem to attract. You will be recognized for your effort and knowledge. Don't go around acting of course like you've been there and done that, be humble and know your new place within the organization. Don't complain about being on the rookie shift and don't get upset with being treated like a rookie. It takes time, sometimes about one to two years to prove to everyone you know your s%*t. Also don't come in and put in for special assignments right away either. Wait until you have proven yourself and gained the respect you deserve from your prior experience.

                  Lastly, as some others have suggested. Be sure your time with your current agency counts towards your pension and do a side by side comparison. When I was considering the move, my wife and I took a sheet of paper and wrote two columns on it. One side was the Pros and the other side was the Cons. We together listed out all the Pros and Cons and decided from there. Believe me, it was an eye opener when we did that. The column on the Pros side was way longer of a list than the Cons side. It made me REALLY realize the move was a "no-brainer."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This is one of the best threads that I have seen on here in a long time.

                    I don't know that I have much advice. I have jumped ship, though. I was almost eleven years at a small PD. There was pretty much nothing there except patrol and four investigators. I decided that, if I switched, I was going to a county. I wanted variety and a take-home car. I applied, took a written test and then nothing for a year. Then I get a call to interview. I worked there 17 years until my first retirement. I was so glad to work somewhere that had something besides patrol and investigations.

                    Yes, I was the "rookie" again, but who cares. Keep your ears open and try to keep your mouth shut. That will be a challenge to not say, where I worked before, we did it this way!

                    The pension, health care and other stuff mentioned is huge. Maybe leaving while you still like running and gunning is a good thing and maybe not. Ultimately you will decide, but you really won't know. Regardless of what you decide, there will still be moments of, "well if had switched" or "if I stayed." I think it is just the nature of the beast.

                    Good luck. Many of us have been there or will be there.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I always found some good people no matter where I went and regardless of the reputation of the unit. Things change people move on. whats good today may suck next year. Double the money? I'd give it a shot.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BNWS View Post
                        I always found some good people no matter where I went and regardless of the reputation of the unit. Things change people move on. whats good today may suck next year. Double the money? I'd give it a shot.

                        Doc311,

                        Read the above and then read it again. That is exactly correct. There is usually an ebb and flow.

                        Jim

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A slower call volume often gives you more time to be proactive, if that's what you want.

                          The crime in the suburbs is still there, it's a little different and better hidden but it exists.

                          For double the pay? Why are you still standing here? Go do it...
                          "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

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