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New here — deciding if being a cop is in my future

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  • New here — deciding if being a cop is in my future

    Hello everyone. I’m a new user kinda. I’ve been interested in becoming a cop for a while but through changes in life I never fully pursued it. I have a good salary in my industry but I’m pretty capped out and while moving companies is something I could do I would rather do something that makes a difference. I’m debating returning to the process of becoming a cop and would love to talk to others who could help guide me in this decision.

  • #2
    What is your industry, if you don't mind me asking? Are you ready to work nights, holidays and weekends?

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    • #3
      If there was 1 bit of advice I'd give people looking into the profession, it would be to talk to as many people currently doing the job in your area (or wherever you plan to work), with multiple departments, about the job. And not just the recruiting people -- seek out administrators and beat cops, special unit people and desk jockeys, etc. Get as wide a picture of the job as you can before making the decision. This will not only give you a better idea of the realities of the work, but also provide valuable information on what departments may be the best fit for you, and ones to avoid at all costs.

      I can't over-emphasize the need to talk to as large a cross-section as possible. I recall when I was looking at making a similar life-altering career change; I had narrowed in on an agency I thought was a good fit based on what I'd heard and experienced living/working in the area. I reached out to an acquaintance who worked for the department -- and listened to a 30-minute rant on how terrible the place was. But I ultimately talked to many others that changed my views on the agency. It turns out that first person was simply a disgruntled employee who left (was fired?) shortly after I was hired. I've never been happier with an employer in my life, and I would have missed out on that if I'd taken that 1 person's impressions at face value.

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      • #4
        orangebottle I feel that your reply is gold.

        I think anybody that wants to do this job should do it for a reason, and not for money (you could make a ton more doing way less).
        My agency in general is not secretive, but very little in terms of being able to find current members that are willing to talk. And the ones that will talk are the disgruntled employees.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 4hshooter View Post
          orangebottle I feel that your reply is gold.

          I think anybody that wants to do this job should do it for a reason, and not for money (you could make a ton more doing way less).
          My agency in general is not secretive, but very little in terms of being able to find current members that are willing to talk. And the ones that will talk are the disgruntled employees.
          Never underestimate the coercive power of a free meal

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          • #6
            That’s the thing, you pretty much have to follow our guys around and catch them. Then they end up in defense mode

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            • #7
              GreekAlex if you have a hunch, I’d really bear down and have a heart to heart with yourself. If it’s something you’ve always wanted, go for it. Apply to every agency you can think of wanting to work for. Try to find a few employees of those agencies, preferably 3+ years on to chew on their ear.

              Hell, my partner is 56 years old and just graduated the academy after 20 years as a devil dog and 16 years after that as a civilian contractor. It’s never too late. If you want it, go for it. There is still a bunch of great agencies with good leadership

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              • #8
                Originally posted by just joe View Post
                What is your industry, if you don't mind me asking? Are you ready to work nights, holidays and weekends?
                I work in Human Resources and Staffing.

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                • #9
                  I appreciate the comments. I have talked to a number of the Detroit police officers and most with 20+ on the force said that they could never imagine going anywhere else since after a year the opportunities to move into other roles are endless. I don’t do this lightly—opening up my personal life to the cops is never something an old punk rock kid would ever consider but I find myself wanting to make a difference in the world, thanks or thanklessly.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 4hshooter View Post
                    That’s the thing, you pretty much have to follow our guys around and catch them. Then they end up in defense mode
                    Fair point. In my case I used contacts I already had within departments to facilitate the conversations. I would never consider walking up to a cop without introduction and asking how they feel about their job: A) You're not likely to get an honest, thoughtful answer, and B) It just seems rude.

                    I have talked to a number of the Detroit police officers
                    I feel that's a good start. However, don't ignore/overlook the myriad other agencies in that area. Around me, there's 1 large metropolitan agency most people naturally gravitate to. It's a decent department, no doubt, but not a great fit for everyone. My department is smaller, but it offers me the ability to do stuff I'd probably never get a shot at in the big metro organization...at least, not until I had 10+ years of experience.

                    When I was looking for my first police job I reached out and spoke to at least 1 person from every law enforcement organization within a reasonable driving distance from my home. I contacted state agencies and even the fish & wildlife cops. When I settled on that first employer I felt I did my due-diligence and it was the best fit of what was available (and willing to hire me) at the time. I was happy there for a lot of years, and only left when it no longer fit my long-term plans.

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