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I'm Considering Leaving a City Police Department for a Smaller Suburban Department

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  • I'm Considering Leaving a City Police Department for a Smaller Suburban Department

    Hey everyone,

    I would've preferred to post this in the Authorized Personnel Only forum, but it seems new admittance is indefinitely suspended; so I have no choice but to post in here.

    I've been a employed with a Connecticut city police department for almost two years now. I passed my one year probationary period last week, and I'm now fully protected by the union. A lot of my academy classmates have already applied to other smaller agencies or left for better pay and benefits. I'm really conflicted in what I want to do. I was hoping I could get some opinions from other officers on here that went from a large agency to a smaller agency. I'll list the pros and cons of my agency.

    Pros:

    Compensatory time - We are one of the only agencies in Connecticut that has no cap or limit on comp time earned and used. Whenever you work overtime (which is unlimited, since we're understaffed) you can elect for comp time or overtime. Comp time allows you to comp out your regular shift. In doing so, you can have the entire day off, or pick up a different shift from the one you comped out of and earn even more overtime. Comp is earned at 1.5, so if you work an 8 hour OT shift, you earn 12 hours of comp.

    Flexibility with time off - Again, comp time. We already get 3 days off every other week, due to our rotating days off. You're technically getting 1 extra free day off every other week. And if you comp out one day every week, you're always getting 3 days off or 4 days off every week. I typically work my entire 40 hour work week in a 3 day period, and I spend more time at home this way.

    Unlimited overtime, as mentioned before.

    Our city has a full time fire department and utilizes AMR, so we are not first responders and we don't have to go to medical calls.

    We don't have to do traffic enforcement or do any traffic stops. Our sergeants don't expect it of you. On the midnight shift (in the winter time, when it's slow), we can literally all park together in a lot and doing nothing the entire shift if no calls come in. No micromanagement.

    We have a lot of prisoner guard details at the hospitals. If you don't feel like patrolling at all, you can just go and watch after a prisoner at a hospital receiving medical care your entire shift. I've literally spent one of my entire work weeks in the hospital every day, doing absolutely nothing but guarding my prisoner.

    Cons:

    We're one of the lowest paid police departments in the state of Connecticut. Our pension plan is 25 years, 50% of base salary. You would almost be better off with a 401K.

    We are understaffed, and thus there are a lot of order-ins and shift hold-overs. It's significantly worse in the summertime, where you are sometimes working 65-80 hours per week.

    We have a lot of violence, and a ton of homicides. There's a huge risk factor, and we're exposed to way more than surrounding towns in terms of call type and volume.

    Our call volume is excessive on 1st shift and 2nd shift. You're almost guaranteed to get at least one domestic violence call every shift, and all the paperwork that comes with it. I've probably wrote about 20 arrest warrants since being off Field Training in May of 2022. It can be overwhelming, which is why I went to third shift.

    Our cruiser fleet is in falling apart. Our newest cars are 2012-2015 Chevrolet Caprices, which can't even be used as police cars. They're always deadlined and getting repaired at the city yard. They're cramped and unergonomic.

    Our spare fleet consists of Ford Crown Victorias, which I love, but most of them had their MDT's/computer terminals removed years ago. I feel it's an officer safety issue not to have a computer in your car. A lot of them also have holes in the floorboard, with stop signs welded in to cover the rot holes. Some have electrical issues with the lights and siren not working properly.


    I'd be appreciative for any opinions from others who once had to weight similar options.

    If I go to a smaller town, I'd have to learn how to do DUI's, be a medical first responder, and do traffic enforcement. But I'd also be making better money and have a better retirement. I would be giving up time off flexibility most likely, due to less sworn manpower.

    Thanks to anyone who read all of this.
    Last edited by NickG0103; 11-30-2022, 10:50 PM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by NickG0103 View Post
    Hey everyone,

    I would've preferred to post this in the Authorized Personnel Only forum, but it seems new admittance is indefinitely suspended; so I have no choice but to post in here.

    I've been a employed with a Connecticut city police department for almost two years now. I passed my one year probationary period last week, and I'm now fully protected by the union. A lot of my academy classmates have already applied to other smaller agencies or left for better pay and benefits. I'm really conflicted in what I want to do. I was hoping I could get some opinions from other officers on here that went from a large agency to a smaller agency. I'll list the pros and cons of my agency.

    Pros:

    Compensatory time - We are one of the only agencies in Connecticut that has no cap or limit on comp time earned and used. Whenever you work overtime (which is unlimited, since we're understaffed) you can elect for comp time or overtime. Comp time allows you to comp out your regular shift. In doing so, you can have the entire day off, or pick up a different shift from the one you comped out of and earn even more overtime. Comp is earned at 1.5, so if you work an 8 hour OT shift, you earn 12 hours of comp.

    Flexibility with time off - Again, comp time. We already get 3 days off every other week, due to our rotating days off. You're technically getting 1 extra free day off every other week. And if you comp out one day every week, you're always getting 3 days off or 4 days off every week. I typically work my entire 40 hour work week in a 3 day period, and I spend more time at home this way.

    Unlimited overtime, as mentioned before.

    Our city has a full time fire department and utilizes AMR, so we are not first responders and we don't have to go to medical calls.

    We don't have to do traffic enforcement or do any traffic stops. Our sergeants don't expect it of you. On the midnight shift (in the winter time, when it's slow), we can literally all park together in a lot and doing nothing the entire shift if no calls come in. No micromanagement.

    We have a lot of prisoner guard details at the hospitals. If you don't feel like patrolling at all, you can just go and watch after a prisoner at a hospital receiving medical care your entire shift. I've literally spent one of my entire work weeks in the hospital every day, doing absolutely nothing but guarding my prisoner.

    Cons:

    We're one of the lowest paid police departments in the state of Connecticut. Our pension plan is 25 years, 50% of base salary. You would almost be better off with a 401K.

    We are understaffed, and thus there are a lot of order-ins and shift hold-overs. It's significantly worse in the summertime, where you are sometimes working 65-80 hours per week.

    We have a lot of violence, and a ton of homicides. There's a huge risk factor, and we're exposed to way more than surrounding towns in terms of call type and volume.

    Our call volume is excessive on 1st shift and 2nd shift. You're almost guaranteed to get at least one domestic violence call every shift, and all the paperwork that comes with it. I've probably wrote about 20 arrest warrants since being off Field Training in May of 2022. It can be overwhelming, which is why I went to third shift.

    Our cruiser fleet is in falling apart. Our newest cars are 2012-2015 Chevrolet Caprices, which can't even be used as police cars. They're always deadlined and getting repaired at the city yard. They're cramped and unergonomic.

    Our spare fleet consists of Ford Crown Victorias, which I love, but most of them had their MDT's/computer terminals removed years ago. I feel it's an officer safety issue not to have a computer in your car. A lot of them also have holes in the floorboard, with stop signs welded in to cover the rot holes. Some have electrical issues with the lights and siren not working properly.


    I'd be appreciative for any opinions from others who once had to weight similar options.

    If I go to a smaller town, I'd have to learn how to do DUI's, be a medical first responder, and do traffic enforcement. But I'd also be making better money and have a better retirement. I would be giving up time off flexibility most likely, due to less sworn manpower.

    Thanks to anyone who read all of this.
    Only 20 arrest warrants since May? You don't have to do any traffic stops? You can park and do nothing if you have no calls?

    ​And you wonder why you have a "lot of violence and ton of homicides?"

    I wrote more warrants than that on one subject in one day. And I was over CID and still had to cover calls on a shift because we were so short staffed!



    Good luck!


    Comment


    • Zeitgeist1
      Zeitgeist1 commented
      Editing a comment
      That caught my eye. Averaging about 1 a week. That's really surprising.

  • #3
    That’s quite a Large list of serious Cons,…….

    Comment


    • #4
      The "Authorized Personnel " section is for administrators and moderators It is not a forum
      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

      Comment


      • #5
        I will assure you that the grass isn't all that much greener elsewhere.
        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

        Comment


        • #6
          Or if it is, it’s harder to chew,………

          Comment


          • Iowa #1603
            Iowa #1603 commented
            Editing a comment
            pretty much every time

          • Zeitgeist1
            Zeitgeist1 commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm stealing that.

          • NolaT
            NolaT commented
            Editing a comment
            Ha, in all honesty, I’m a plagiarist myself,…..lol!!

        • #7
          I've never worked at large department. Of those I know who went from a large department to a small department, the return rate to their "home" agency was almost 100%.

          Are you taking your OT as pay or as comp? If you are taking it as comp, you value your time off more than your pay. If you are allowed to work a ton of OT, why aren't you increasing your pay check?

          You most certainly will be expected to do traffic. You will even be expected to patrol rather than sit in a parking lot for hours. You may even be expected to get out of your car and talk to people.

          Before you jump ship, do a lot of research on the agency that you are considering.

          Comment


          • NYPDpoQNS
            NYPDpoQNS commented
            Editing a comment
            Where im from the return rate is 0%

          • Iowa #1603
            Iowa #1603 commented
            Editing a comment
            NYPD is kind of unique in that matter

          • LA Copper
            LA Copper commented
            Editing a comment
            It happens at LAPD as well. About 90% of people who leave for "greener pastures" come back.
            Last edited by LA Copper; 12-01-2022, 09:40 PM.

          • BNWS
            BNWS commented
            Editing a comment
            It's pretty dumb to go back to the NYPD which makes 40% less than all surrounding suburban police departments.

        • #8
          Originally posted by just joe View Post
          I've never worked at large department. Of those I know who went from a large department to a small department, the return rate to their "home" agency was almost 100%.

          Are you taking your OT as pay or as comp? If you are taking it as comp, you value your time off more than your pay. If you are allowed to work a ton of OT, why aren't you increasing your pay check?

          You most certainly will be expected to do traffic. You will even be expected to patrol rather than sit in a parking lot for hours. You may even be expected to get out of your car and talk to people.

          Before you jump ship, do a lot of research on the agency that you are considering.
          I had been taking a lot of comp time to build up the comp bank. I do value my time off, though lately I've switched to pay since I'm trying to save for a house.

          Comment


          • #9
            Originally posted by NickG0103 View Post
            I had been taking a lot of comp time to build up the comp bank. I do value my time off, though lately I've switched to pay since I'm trying to save for a house.
            What, exactly, is the point of comp time when your department is so understaffed that you have unlimited OT and mandatory call-in? How does comp time benefit an officer when you either can't take it because of staffing shortages or taking it just screws another officer who has to work more to cover it?
            "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, I was thinking the same thing.

            • Iowa #1603
              Iowa #1603 commented
              Editing a comment
              It is usually a contract item for bargaining states. Something that is in the contract that can't be deleted unless they rework the contract.

              YEARS ago it was put in our old contract to avoid the state paying a raise (which would compound upward every time a new raise would be bargained )

              We eventually allowed the comp time to be capped at 40 hrs but that was also bargained for something the state wanted to do

            • Bing_Oh
              Bing_Oh commented
              Editing a comment
              It sounds like he has the option of comp time OR OT. If you can't use the comp time, then why not take the cash? 300 hrs of accumulated comp time you can never take is worth nothing...at least you can spend the OT cash.

          • #10
            Originally posted by Bing_Oh View Post

            What, exactly, is the point of comp time when your department is so understaffed that you have unlimited OT and mandatory call-in? How does comp time benefit an officer when you either can't take it because of staffing shortages or taking it just screws another officer who has to work more to cover it?
            I comp out one or two days prior to my scheduled days off, since I know my regular days off (which currently fall on Friday and Saturday) I'm possibly going to get ordered in for them.

            Order-ins are less likely on your days off if they fall on Monday-Thursday. So that way, you can still get a two or three day break from work when you get ordered in on your regular days off.

            Comment


            • scotty_appleton814
              scotty_appleton814 commented
              Editing a comment
              I normally use between 300 to 400 hours of comp per year. But I have to earn that comp. And fair amount of that earning wasn't voluntary.

          • #11
            You don't know how to do DUIs?

            How did you graduate academy and complete FTO without knowing how to do DUIs?
            Last edited by Aidokea; 12-01-2022, 03:07 PM. Reason: Typo

            Comment


            • scotty_appleton814
              scotty_appleton814 commented
              Editing a comment
              There are certain states and agencies that don't have DUI in their basic academy training.

          • #12
            NickG0103 Before I address your question as a whole, I want to get a few details about how your current department operates...

            You said you're not expected to do traffic in any way. Is your department large enough that you have a dedicated traffic division that handles all traffic while you work patrol and just respond to calls? Or are you just so busy with calls and understaffed that traffic isn't a priority?

            You mention a lot of violence and a ton of homicides in your city. As patrol, do you just take the initial and then punt everything to a detective or other specialized unit while you move on to the next call or do you actually do follow-up investigations?
            "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


            • #13
              Originally posted by Aidokea View Post
              You don't know how to do DUIs?

              How did you graduate academy and complete FTO without knowing how tondo DUIs?
              We learned DUI's in the academy and we are certified by the state to conduct them, however, I've never administered a DUI to anyone outside of the police academy. Therefore, all of the corresponding state paperwork for the after-arrest processing I've actually never done outside of the academy. I'm a bit rusty since it's been over a year and I would have to study it again. When we suspect someone is intoxicated at the patrol level, we call in the Traffic Division to do the DUI for us.

              My classmate who went to a smaller department last month told me his new agency helped him get comfortable with DUI's during his transitional training period and it wasn't a big issue to them.

              Bing_Oh We have a dedicated Traffic Division of 20+ officers that focus on traffic enforcement. They have their own separate fleet and equipment. They perform DUI checkpoints, perform radar, investigate serious motor vehicle accidents with fatalities (accident reconstruction), and direct traffic for major events like concerts.

              I have pulled over cars, but it's typically on a Sunday morning when it's slow and I'm partnered up with another cruiser following me. It's frowned upon to do it when it's busy and we have 20+ calls pending.

              At the patrol level, for sexual assaults, child abuse, illegal discharge of firearms, serious assaults/homicides - we notify detectives and most of the time the investigation will be assigned to them.

              In some individual cases they do not take it on and I'll have to finish to the end, which is always a burden because we're always taking on more calls and cases.
              Last edited by NickG0103; 12-01-2022, 03:13 PM.

              Comment


              • #14
                Originally posted by NickG0103 View Post

                We learned DUI's in the academy and we are certified by the state to conduct them, however, I've never administered a DUI to anyone outside of the police academy. Therefore, all of the corresponding state paperwork for the after-arrest processing I've actually never done outside of the academy. I'm a bit rusty since it's been over a year and I would have to study it again. When we suspect someone is intoxicated at the patrol level, we call in the Traffic Division to do the DUI for us.

                My classmate who went to a smaller department last month told me his new agency helped him get comfortable with DUI's during his transitional training period and it wasn't a big issue to them.

                Bing_Oh We have a dedicated Traffic Division of 20+ officers that focus on traffic enforcement. They have their own separate fleet and equipment. They perform DUI checkpoints, perform radar, investigate serious motor vehicle accidents with fatalities (accident reconstruction), and direct traffic for major events like concerts.

                At the patrol level, for sexual assaults, child abuse, illegal discharge of firearms, serious assaults/homicides - we notify detectives and most of the time the investigation will be assigned to them.

                In some individual cases they do not take it on and I'll have to finish to the end, which is always a burden because we're always taking on more calls and cases.
                I have no idea how someone would successfully complete FTO, without ever having demonstrated proficiency in DUIs.

                In my opinion, ALL cops need to be capable of doing DUIs. What are you gonna do if all the traffic guys are busy, let a drunk driver go? If they kill someone a mile down the road, the fact that you are fully trained and certified by the state to do DUIs, will be used to hang you. Your department will leave you swinging in the wind, and there's not a lot your union will be able to do to protect you.

                Read your NHTSA manual. Review your academy notes. Get together with fellow officers, buy them alcohol, and run them through the SFSTs. Study DUI reports written by traffic guys. Grab blank copies of all the forms, and learn how to fill them out.

                Even a low-quality (but righteous) DUI is better than letting a drunk driver go kill someone. A slick defense attorney may get them off, but you may have saved lives.

                Comment


                • #15
                  Originally posted by Aidokea View Post



                  Even a low-quality (but righteous) DUI is better than letting a drunk driver go kill someone. A slick defense attorney may get them off, but you may have saved lives.
                  I don't disagree with you


                  In which case an officer who was not proficient could just do the best he could and let it run.


                  This really sounds like a niche agency where "patrol" just answers calls and ignores everything else.
                  My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                  Comment

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