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  • Kevin from Wisconsin. Hi! Need guidance.

    Hello. I would like to introduce myself. Please bare with me while I make my story as concise as possible. I would gratefully welcome your help, please read on.

    My name is Kevin and I am 21 years old (Almost 22). I have an Associates degree in Information Technology - Network Specialist.

    About two weeks ago I found a neat website called Hulu.com On that site I found a TV series that was free to watch called "The Academy". This TV show, exposed me to something I wasn't aware of - The Police Academy - where new cadets are trained to become police officers. I didn't even know such a thing existed! Excuse my ignorance. I have become enthralled with this show and I just finished that last episode of season two (and hoping there will be a season 3).

    About 1/2 way through season 1 I found myself saying that I could do this, I could become an officer! Not only that I COULD do it, but I have an intense drive on wanting to become a police officer and ultimately drive a squad car.

    On some level, I always interested in becoming a police officer. I have the utmost respect for law enforcement. I have always looked up and respected law enforcement. I have fond memories of Police Officers coming to our school to talk to us about Drugs and what not. Fire safety, etc etc. I remember always running up to the neighborhood cop car and asking them if they have baseball/football cards (they handed them out.) I didn’t even want the cards, I just wanted to meet the officer and see his car. I remember DARE in middle school and the good impact it had on me. Not single handedly, but I believe DARE help keep me stay drug free and alcohol free. I have never smoked a single cigarette or any narcotics. I didn’t have my first drink until about…. 6 months after my 21st birthday. You guys really do make a difference when you engage with kids and young adults.
    Anyways…

    I had difficulty in school all of my life (darn “learning disability” and lack of confidence & motivation.) After having graduated from High school, I knew I had to go to school to make something of myself. I had convinced myself that I would never be able to attend a 4 year University; I turned to the only thing I knew – Computers. My father is a computer guy also and I have always been an addicted computer gaming addict (However since I’ve gotten out of high school – I hardly ever touch the thing.) I applied to a local two year technical college called “Chippewa Valley Technical College.” Here in Eau Claire Wisconsin. I didn’t even work very hard and graduated with honors and near the top of my class with an Associates degree in Information Technology (Networking). After growing up, seeing that I am not a block head, and meeting Jesus as my savior – I have a whole new outlook on life and myself.
    Here in Eau Claire it is pretty much impossible to get a good IT job because the area is saturated with 3 colleges worth of IT guys/gals graduating each year. I have been struggling for the last year and a half on finding a challenging and fun job within IT. Right now I am working at a dead end job, completely boring and unsatisfying. I find myself heavily doubting my career choice, did I go into computers for myself – or to mimic my fathers footsteps, and to do what I only knew how to do. I had also always been overweight, I was down to 185 pounds after I graduated (which is a perfectly healthy weight for someone who is 6”4’.) Since then I sort of feel into depression because of not being able to find a job, Wisconsin winter blues, doubting my career choice, and other things I won’t mention. Because of this I gained weight back (arghhhh) and I am now 221 pounds. However, I got myself back on track and I am eating healthy again and exercising regularly. I lost 11 pounds last week. I have been working out as much as possible, trying to focus on my push ups because I am really slacking. (I can't even do 1 normal pushup, ive been having to practice them from my knees - ive been progressing though.)

    I am basically writing this to you, is how did YOU know for SURE you wanted to be a police officer. I don’t want to sound like a fake, and saying after watching TV I wanted to be a police officer. I’ve always had this slight nagging feeling in the back of my head that I am being called to be a police officer. And after watching “The Academy” it opened my eyes – if these guys who are in their 40’s and if a girl who used to be flight attendant can become a police officer, why CAN’T I? Im not stupid, I can gain muscle and be physically fit. I know I can prepair myself mentally (as much as possible).

    I think a career in Law Enforcement would be very exciting. Every cop I hear speaks in such a manner, that they truly enjoy their job.

    I did some searching around and at the Chippewa Valley Technical College, if I have more than 60 college credits (which I do) - I can be eligible for their Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement Academy technical diploma.

    The link to the program outline:
    http://www.cvtc.edu/pages/423.asp
    Would this be something that would allow me to get a position as a Law Enforcement Officer? Would I have to go through a State driven/funded academy?

    Would an academy like the one in the TV show “The Academy” be better for my training and employment, vs Chippewa Valley Technical Colleges? Is there a difference? I will have to ask them…

    Would not having an associates or bachelors criminal justice degree put me so far behind on not being able to become an officer? I know it’s different for every area – but I would like to stay in this area if possible.

    I have purchased about 5 books to read up on becoming a Police Officer. I am currently reading “Cliffs Police Officer Examination Preparation Guide” By Larry F. Jetmore. So far, its been a really good book. (sorta dated, published in 1994, but the info still seems really helpful.) I finished reading “Becoming a Police Officer: An Insiders guide to a career in law enforcement” by Barry M. Baker. It was a rather small book that answered some of my questions, and warned me of some potential problems that I will see. But by the time I got done reading it – it felt like he was talking me out of becoming a Cop. Not to mention it was rather poorly written.

    Ultimately, thank you everyone for reading my long post! ANY guidance would be AWESOME. I have a lot to ask but I figured I would hold back for now.

    Thank you!

    Kevin.
    Last edited by gui4life86; 09-03-2008, 10:54 PM. Reason: fix
    sigpic
    A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

  • #2
    Hi Kevin,

    I don't whether my own personal experience is very germane to your aspirations, given that, although I'm a sworn LEO, I'm not regular police, didn't attend a police academy, and am not an employee of any agency; my status is what is known as "special". I don't want to jeopardize it by going into too much detail about why I have it or who swore me in.

    Even so, I do have some comments.

    Congratulations on achieving your IT Associates Degree. Way to go on coping with whatever LD thing you have well enough to do that.

    Your knowledge of computers and networks would be of great benefit in a Law Enforcement career.

    Further education is fine, but I think you should sit yourself down with a pen and a notbook or pad of paper, and set some priorities regarding how to achieve your goal of becoming a police officer.

    The Associate's Degree from an accredited institution meets the minimum educational requirements for many departments. For some agencies, 4 years of higher education is required. In some instances, a Bachelor's Degree opens some doors that 2 Associates Degrees don't.

    You should get a police test prep book to find out how ready you are for the written exam, and work on any deficiencies you might identify.

    Somewhere high on your list of priorities should be achieving and maintaining a fitness level that will enable you to pass the physical tests. I think it's great that you're trying to increase your strength, and I hope you steadily progress as you keep in the habit of physical training. If you can find a city park gym, it will probably be less expensive than a commercial one, but going to the gym and following some training regimen advice from some of the experienced fitness & health guys & gals will increase your ability to achieve your physical strength and power goals, and help you to become better prepared for the pre-academy physical tests, and for the demands of the academy.

    Don't give up. Don't quit trying. All the effort you put in will pay off in some way.

    Regards,

    Monty

    Comment


    • #3
      Good luck there Kevin, I'm glad to hear about that. Like Monty said, keep up with that, I'm going to one day be in law enforcement and hope to see some more people like yourself.

      Comment


      • #4
        man thats a long post. but anyway i knew i wanted to be a LEO when my dad and grandpa dropped me off at the academy. just kidding, i grew up with it being a 3rd gen officer. but it is more than watching tv and saying i want to do that, of course thats were it starts but remember the tv only shows the GOOD stuff, they dont show the 6 hrs on the stand being drilled by an attorney that knows his client is guilty or the calls involving children (you never see that on cops) this job is great, ill do 5 bad calls were i get called everything in the book and get 1 call were someone says thankyou and thats the best feeling. knowing someone supports what we do. you say your 6ft 4 and weigh 221 thats not alot im 6ft 2, 285. keep that weight and get stronger your size will be a benifit to you.
        In god i trust everyone else gets run on NCIC

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the advice and encouragement everyone.

          Ive been reading my book every day and yesterday I took a written practice test. Out of 100 questions I got 15 wrong! When I got done with it, I thought I ACED it! Begh! There are 3 more in the book and I am taking 1 more today.

          Thank you Monty for the tips.

          And C-15 Actually if you are 6ft 4in and 220 that's slightly overweight according to a BMI (Body mass index) chart.

          I have a small frame, for the life of me its impossible to gain muscle! Gaaaah!

          From now on, Im just gonna focus on loosing weight. Then when Im down to like 185-190 ill start with strength training again.... One requires a calorie deficit, one a calorie surplus. Hard to do both at the same time.

          Thanks again!
          sigpic
          A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

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          • #6
            Welcome! I am new here and just familiarizing myself around here also. Cant give you much advice other than dont let anything get in the way of your goal of one day being an LEO and keep yourself on the right path and stay sharp and you will be there one day. I have always wanted to visit Wisconsin and I have alot of family up there,must be beautiful up there. Oh, im also watchin the Wisconsin v Fresno game!

            Cheers-Elliot

            Comment


            • #7
              Hey Kevin...

              Keep up the good work with the weight loss and exercises. That is a great start to getting to ANY goal especially one like Law enforcement.

              Did you check into other agencies in the area or maybe out of the area that may be of interest to you? There may be agencies that don't even require a degree out there if you are willing to maybe relocate.

              An IT degree is great. It could be of GREAT use to you in the future. So try to keep up with your IT skills too.

              Maybe you could even do something with computer crimes as well? I have a friend that works with several agencies doing computer forensics and LOVES it.
              There is a lot of opportunity out there. Just keep your eyes and ears open.

              Keep up the good work!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Baysidegal View Post
                Hey Kevin...

                Keep up the good work with the weight loss and exercises. That is a great start to getting to ANY goal especially one like Law enforcement.

                Did you check into other agencies in the area or maybe out of the area that may be of interest to you? There may be agencies that don't even require a degree out there if you are willing to maybe relocate.

                An IT degree is great. It could be of GREAT use to you in the future. So try to keep up with your IT skills too.

                Maybe you could even do something with computer crimes as well? I have a friend that works with several agencies doing computer forensics and LOVES it.
                There is a lot of opportunity out there. Just keep your eyes and ears open.

                Keep up the good work!
                Thanks, I have thought computer forensics - it does sound neat and I am a fast learner when it comes to computers. Maybe something in the future.

                I have a couple of local PDs in mind, and I hope to apply as soon I go loose this weight, and after I go through the academy.

                Do you guys recommend buying a Glock 21 (SF) and getting your firing skills up to par before the Academy? I've only shot an AR-16 (I think) and shotgun once in my life.

                Is ANYTHING I can do to get a head start on becoming an LEO? I want to hit the ground running when I join the Academy so the information is familiar and I can draw on my long term memory to recall information. Books, instructional videos, audio, etc?

                Would it be wise to call up my local College Academy's and ask what books they use? So many colleges are ditching text books these days, at least in IT.
                sigpic
                A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

                Comment


                • #9
                  Honestly most instructors say that people that have no firearms training are easier to train then people with experience. The reason they say is that people that have shot before sometimes have what they call "bad habits". It might be better to just start fresh and worry about getting a gun after you have graduated the academy.

                  As far as material unless you KNOW what is going to be taught or is required to be taught you really aren't going to be able to really prepare academically. There is SOOO much material its hard to know what exactly you will be tested on. Also what you might study in a book today might be outdated or change by the time you go through the academy. Laws change or are made and you might end up confusing yourself. You will just have to pay attention and study hard when you get into the academy. You might even be able to form study groups with other members of your class to help too. I found the study groups we formed VERY helpful and I always did exceptional on the tests that I attended the study groups.

                  Concentrate on your exercise and getting into shape and just stay out of trouble and you should do fine. If the departments are taking applications maybe you should apply now even if you aren't at your goal yet. Maybe find out if you fit the criteria for hire or what you need to qualify?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yeah, that does make sense.

                    I heard it was a bad idea to join study groups because they just turn into "social time"?

                    Thanks for the help, ill focus on my fitness and get in contact with the CVTC Academy.
                    sigpic
                    A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

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                    • #11
                      Just an update, I decided to make a blog about my journey of becoming a police officer. Here is the link: http://geektoofficer.blogspot.com/

                      Tell me what you think?
                      sigpic
                      A Blog Of My Journey To Become a LEO

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by gui4life86 View Post
                        Thanks for the advice and encouragement everyone.

                        Ive been reading my book every day and yesterday I took a written practice test. Out of 100 questions I got 15 wrong! When I got done with it, I thought I ACED it! Begh! There are 3 more in the book and I am taking 1 more today.

                        Thank you Monty for the tips.

                        And C-15 Actually if you are 6ft 4in and 220 that's slightly overweight according to a BMI (Body mass index) chart.

                        I have a small frame, for the life of me its impossible to gain muscle! Gaaaah!

                        From now on, Im just gonna focus on loosing weight. Then when Im down to like 185-190 ill start with strength training again.... One requires a calorie deficit, one a calorie surplus. Hard to do both at the same time.

                        Thanks again!
                        Don't lose too much weight! I am about your height and I would kill to weigh what you weigh. I work out a ton and am toned but can't put on the mass even if I eat 4000 calories per day because of the intensity of my workouts.

                        Just eat a relatively healthy diet high in calories, carbs and protein. Keep the fat to a low/moderate level. If you are strength training 3-4x per week and doing intense cardio 30 min. 3-4x a week your 220 lbs will turn into muscle. You don't want to be a skinny cop, even if you are toned. Better to be big and strong.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Quickly,
                          As a instructor of over 25 years in a post secondary education, in I.T,.R.F. communications as well as all facets of electronics, some physics, inorganic chemistry,mathamatics, General education and C.J. course studies. Your I.T.specific Knowledge will be of some benifit, But IMHO not much. If you get into the com. side you will be required per F.C.C. guidelines to test and pass for a General class radio Operators license I must say it is no cakewalk. The best of luck and God Bless,
                          Alex
                          Originally posted by mookster
                          Sully, usually I hafta glance over your posts cuz my brain would have issues with the imagery you portray, however with that one I get it. I agree one hundred percent with ya.
                          Originally posted by CityCopDC
                          I swear to god you are not human. I know a rogue VI when I see one.
                          Originally posted by OfficerDotCom
                          I think no one is probably happier than Sully and I that we ARE NOT the same person.(seriously thanking God for that one).
                          -Frank




                          Old Physicists neva' die, they just hop on a horsey and fly away inta' an infinitely massive black ho ...

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                          • #14
                            Not everyone can do this job Kevin.
                            I don't question my abilities on how do to my job, or my ability to keep myself and my partner safe. Matter of fact, I don't question myself at all while I am at work. The questioning sets in when I get home, when I spend time with my family and friends, and when I try to get out of "cop mode."

                            I've lost many friends to this life style, because I'm constantly having to sit in the restaurant or the bar, facing the door, and making sure I know where all exits are, and even the slightest behavior that would put me on "red alert" at work, raises your adrenaline outside of work.

                            This wasn't my first job choice, but it runs in my blood, thanks to my father. I chose this job because I used to work at a gas station, and was always having officers come in and check on me.

                            I am closer to the majority of my co-workers than I am my own family, and my co-workers know more about me than my own mother.

                            I wish you luck, and I hope the best for you. You need to know though, that this is a lifestyle. Some people might not agree with me, but it is. I work in a busy busy busy inner city, and that could be why I feel this way.

                            "Only God Can Judge Me"


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                            • #15
                              Haha.... I think you'll find my signon appropriate. The value of your IT experience will depend on where you are. I have my masters degree in computer forensics, bachelors in CJ, and I am a Certified Computer Examiner. I have some experience working for a Prosecutors Office (Computer Crimes Unit) in a civilian investigative capacity. That said, investigating computer crimes is a long way from a squad car - but the opportunities are out there.

                              Out of school, I worked in NYC doing background investigations for the federal government. I just recently had to decide between a computer forensic engineer job and a police job... I'll be in an academy in less than 30 days now.

                              As for fitness... Height/Weight charts can be useful, but more often than not they will allow a body fat test as a substitute. Go to a medical clinic or your doctor and tell them you want to measure your body fat. A skin caliper test will give you a MUCH more accurate picture of where you are than a BMI chart. I found myself in a similar situation as you not too long ago. I started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and jogging and I lost quite a bit of weight. To this day, running remains a painful chore to me - but I do it.

                              You also said you're just running because you want to lose weight. Understand for a moment that muscle burns fat quickly. If you lift weights, you will see an initial gain, but a combination of light weight and cardio training may help you reach your long term goals faster than running alone.

                              As for pushups.. the only way I know how to do more is to do more. You don't have to do them all at once, either.... get in the habit of doing them during commercial breaks if you are watching TV or on the hour at work. If you find that you can only do 5.... do pyramids. Do 1. Do 2. Do 3. Do 4. Do 5. Do 4. Do 3. Do 2. Do 1. Get up and stop if you can't complete a set... give yourself a minute to recover, then continue the exercise until you've completed the pyramid. By the end you'll have done 25.

                              If you have any questions about IT intersecting with law enforcement feel free to PM me.

                              Comment

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