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  • Police Academy and Military Basic Training

    Hi everyone! This is my first post in any of the forums. I’ve read over them for awhile but haven’t joined in on the conversations yet. I’m currently a senior in college, graduating May of 2022. Ultimately, my goal is to do federal law enforcement, but I’m looking to go local first. I was looking at doing the Army National Guard, since the time commitment allows me to have a full-time job outside of it. Since the police academy is 6-7 months plus another 4 months of FTO, I would prefer to go to basic and AIT before I start the police academy. My question is - would basic and the academy back to back be too tiring to complete? I’m worried that by the time basic is over, I’ll be too burnt out to enter 7 months of intense training. Also, would the National Guard commitment of one weekend a month interfere with the police academy? I know most are only during the week, but I’m a little concerned about the interference. I apologize for the long post. Any and all advice is appreciated!

  • #2
    Originally posted by AHV View Post
    Hi everyone! This is my first post in any of the forums. I’ve read over them for awhile but haven’t joined in on the conversations yet. I’m currently a senior in college, graduating May of 2022. Ultimately, my goal is to do federal law enforcement, but I’m looking to go local first. I was looking at doing the Army National Guard, since the time commitment allows me to have a full-time job outside of it. Since the police academy is 6-7 months plus another 4 months of FTO, I would prefer to go to basic and AIT before I start the police academy. My question is - would basic and the academy back to back be too tiring to complete? I’m worried that by the time basic is over, I’ll be too burnt out to enter 7 months of intense training. Also, would the National Guard commitment of one weekend a month interfere with the police academy? I know most are only during the week, but I’m a little concerned about the interference. I apologize for the long post. Any and all advice is appreciated!
    Here is what I think you should do.

    Go to the academy and then finish your FTO first. After successfully doing both those, then reassess the National Guard. Being a local officer is time consuming and is very hard to have another commitment. There is so much overtime, forced/voluntary and otherwise. LE is not a 9 to 5 gig. For example, crime does not stop when you are scheduled to leave town on your National Guard deployment.

    So lets say you are scheduled to do your one weekend deployment for the NG starting Saturday at 0800 hours. But, you are scheduled to work your LE job on Friday. You are new to the profession, so most likely you are working graves and your shift starts at 1800 hours on Friday and ends Saturday at 0600 hours. And as this career often does, a homicide call comes out at 0555 hours on Saturday morning (5 minutes before end of shift). You can't just leave like you were scheduled to because those types of calls are, "all hands on deck." You also can't shift your responsibility of that call onto another officer. Your stuck on that call/investigation until it is resolved, as much as it can be. What do you do?

    Now, I know the NG can be accommodating and provide exceptions at times, but usually those are for Guardsmen who have been with the unit for a while. Also, LE can be accommodating too and they try to be to the best of their ability. But, also you will be new to LE as well, and the lowest on the seniority list, so accommodations go so far. Yea, the LE agency will allow you to be gone for your deployments, no questions asked. But you still have to cover a shift if you are scheduled to and all the crime you get assigned to on that shift, cannot just be passed on to your partner. Believe me, you will get a reputation of handing off your crap calls. Although you have a totally justifiable reason to hand off calls, you still will get the reputation as, that guy.

    Better idea, work the LE job first. Pass the academy and FTO. Pass your probation period, gain some seniority and vacation time banks. If you still want to join the NG, take a leave of absence and get through Basic and AIT. Once you are finished, go back to LE. When a deployment comes or a weekend obligation, let your supervisor's know and take the day off prior to deploying, just to make sure you don't get stuck on that dreaded call that will inevitably come out just prior to end of shift. Also, with more seniority you will get to work the better shifts that fall on the weekdays.

    Here is another example of a situation that happened to me. I was scheduled to work the day shift (0600 to 1800 hours) on a Friday one time. I also was flying out of town for my vacation to Hawaii at 0600 hours the following day (Saturday). At, I kid you not, 1756 hours (4 minutes before going off duty on that Friday), I get dispatched to a domestic. The male half had a firearm and was threatening to kill the female half. We all responded to the location, along with the oncoming grave yard shift. The male refused to let the female leave the house of course and was holding her hostage.

    Needless to say, this incident turned into a barricaded armed subject call. So we all had to set up a perimeter around the residence and wait till SWAT could respond. Once SWAT arrived, the negotiations began and we were stuck on that call till SWAT was able to resolve it around 0500 hours. I thankfully was able to jam home and get my family and make my flight in the nick of time. No sleep at all and it ruined the first day of my vacation and almost ruined my entire vacation.

    Anyway, I have way more examples of things like this happening throughout my LE career. Just be aware. I know a few officers that are in the Reserve and have been able be successful at both their LE and NG careers. However, it is not easy, especially when you are the lowest man on the totem pole for both agencies.

    Another idea, since you are about to graduate from college with what I assume to be a Bachelor's degree. You should apply to OCS to be an officer instead of enlisted. It is a 12 week course. Faster than basic and AIT. Plus you are an officer instead of being an E-1 with a degree.

    Anyway, hope I gave you some food for thought.

    Comment


    • just joe
      just joe commented
      Editing a comment
      Officers still have to go to their basic branch school, so OCS and their branch school is longer than basic and AIT.

    • SOCAleo
      SOCAleo commented
      Editing a comment
      Still, I was enlisted when I was active duty. If I could do it over, I would go officer.

  • #3
    Another consideration - only do the National Guard if you are working for a very large agency. I spent 25 years with a department of 400 that were spread out among 25 Field Offices. When someone went on military duty, it often put their office in a world of hurt staff wise and they were looked at unfavorably by their peers as being "that guy". I spent my next 10 years with a department that had 6,000 officers and if several went off on military leave, even for a prolonged time in Afghanistan, it was just a blip because we had so many people to back fill. With this in mind, consider the size of your department and how much your joining the National Guard might inconvenience your fellow officers and effect operation of your agency.
    Going too far is half the pleasure of not getting anywhere

    Comment


    • #4
      Good points above. I'd get hired first, graduate the academy, then consider any military commitment once you're through FTO and settled into a shift.

      Comment


      • #5
        Originally posted by AHV View Post
        Hi everyone! This is my first post in any of the forums. I’ve read over them for awhile but haven’t joined in on the conversations yet. I’m currently a senior in college, graduating May of 2022. Ultimately, my goal is to do federal law enforcement, but I’m looking to go local first. I was looking at doing the Army National Guard, since the time commitment allows me to have a full-time job outside of it. Since the police academy is 6-7 months plus another 4 months of FTO, I would prefer to go to basic and AIT before I start the police academy. My question is - would basic and the academy back to back be too tiring to complete? I’m worried that by the time basic is over, I’ll be too burnt out to enter 7 months of intense training. Also, would the National Guard commitment of one weekend a month interfere with the police academy? I know most are only during the week, but I’m a little concerned about the interference. I apologize for the long post. Any and all advice is appreciated!
        Paragraphs, dudette...paragraphs...
        Last edited by Aidokea; 12-01-2021, 10:18 AM.

        Comment


        • AHV
          AHV commented
          Editing a comment
          I’m actually a woman, but thanks “dude”!

        • Aidokea
          Aidokea commented
          Editing a comment
          There- I fixed it.

      • #6
        Originally posted by NolaT View Post
        Good points above. I'd get hired first, graduate the academy, then consider any military commitment once you're through FTO and settled into a shift.
        My thoughts exactly
        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

        Comment


        • #7
          Are you going to self sponsor through the academy?
          I don't answer recruitment messages....

          Comment


          • #8
            Originally posted by NolaT View Post
            Good points above. I'd get hired first, graduate the academy, then consider any military commitment once you're through FTO and settled into a shift.
            Depends on the size of the department. If you join a small agency and then have to be gone for fix or six months while you do basic and AIT, no one is going to be happy with you. On the flip side, I knew a guy who conducted BIs for a small agency and his chief wanted him to find a reason to DQ every candidate who was in the guard or reserves.
            Last edited by just joe; 11-23-2021, 02:15 PM.

            Comment


            • #9
              I'm a prior local officer, current fed officer, and I've been in the reserves for more than 12 years.

              I agree with the above statements. I would go local first and see if you even want to join the NG. You will probably see more and experience more as a police officer than most guardsman. In any event you can join the reserves later in life.

              Other officers will tell you to "pick a career" when you are doing both because they get denied time off because 3-4 guys have drill that weekend.

              You should have joined the reserves or NG before college to help pay for it. You loose a lot of the benefit of the reserves by joining after college.

              Go officer...... coming from an enlisted guy.

              Good luck

              Comment


              • #10
                Originally posted by AHV View Post
                Hi everyone! This is my first post in any of the forums. I’ve read over them for awhile but haven’t joined in on the conversations yet. I’m currently a senior in college, graduating May of 2022. Ultimately, my goal is to do federal law enforcement, but I’m looking to go local first. I was looking at doing the Army National Guard, since the time commitment allows me to have a full-time job outside of it. Since the police academy is 6-7 months plus another 4 months of FTO, I would prefer to go to basic and AIT before I start the police academy. My question is - would basic and the academy back to back be too tiring to complete? I’m worried that by the time basic is over, I’ll be too burnt out to enter 7 months of intense training. Also, would the National Guard commitment of one weekend a month interfere with the police academy? I know most are only during the week, but I’m a little concerned about the interference. I apologize for the long post. Any and all advice is appreciated!
                Don't join the military as a stepping stone into law enforcement, especially as an MP. An army mechanic is more useful to an agency than an MP. If you want to join out of patriotism, that's cool, but having been in local agency recruiting, a few months of basic training really doesn't matter from a hiring standpoint. It would only be relevant after a few years active duty or several years reserve. That said, going to the police academy after basic training would be much easier for you because you'd be in shape, with the proper mindset. Academies vary by state, agency, etc but are usually not incredibly hard (except trooper school), you're not living in a room with 40+ people and being woke up at night for something stupid.

                Do not self sponsor. There's agencies all over the country that are hiring, they will hire you just as a college graduate. It's not preferable (I liked to see 25+ with consistent work experience especially in corrections) but these days beggars can't be choosers. I strongly recommend you heavily research agencies you want to apply with and do some ride alongs, as the other posters said, this job isn't always accommodating to your life outside of work. Find one that is, they're out there.

                If your ultimate goal is feds, then apply to a federal agency and skip being a local if possible. The pay and benefits are a thousand times better, work/life balance is usually better (except the Secret Service), and you can start working towards retirement. The time you spend as a local doesn't count for that (if your agency even has a retirement plan, most don't). There's several uniformed federal agencies that do "real police work" such as the Park Police, Land Management, Indian Affairs, etc if that's what you're interested in, and you can make your way over to a nice plainclothes GS-12/13 job working 9-5 (more like 10-3 with a 2 hour paid lunch) when you're ready. Most feds also can't be fired on a whim or get screwed over as much by the brass compared to locals.

                Comment


                • #11
                  Just so you know, some FED Agencies do not allow Reservists/NG to serve while employed.

                  Comment


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by emtguy89 View Post

                    Don't join the military as a stepping stone into law enforcement, especially as an MP. An army mechanic is more useful to an agency than an MP. If you want to join out of patriotism, that's cool, but having been in local agency recruiting, a few months of basic training really doesn't matter from a hiring standpoint. It would only be relevant after a few years active duty or several years reserve. That said, going to the police academy after basic training would be much easier for you because you'd be in shape, with the proper mindset. Academies vary by state, agency, etc but are usually not incredibly hard (except trooper school), you're not living in a room with 40+ people and being woke up at night for something stupid.

                    Do not self sponsor. There's agencies all over the country that are hiring, they will hire you just as a college graduate. It's not preferable (I liked to see 25+ with consistent work experience especially in corrections) but these days beggars can't be choosers. I strongly recommend you heavily research agencies you want to apply with and do some ride alongs, as the other posters said, this job isn't always accommodating to your life outside of work. Find one that is, they're out there.

                    If your ultimate goal is feds, then apply to a federal agency and skip being a local if possible. The pay and benefits are a thousand times better, work/life balance is usually better (except the Secret Service), and you can start working towards retirement. The time you spend as a local doesn't count for that (if your agency even has a retirement plan, most don't). There's several uniformed federal agencies that do "real police work" such as the Park Police, Land Management, Indian Affairs, etc if that's what you're interested in, and you can make your way over to a nice plainclothes GS-12/13 job working 9-5 (more like 10-3 with a 2 hour paid lunch) when you're ready. Most feds also can't be fired on a whim or get screwed over as much by the brass compared to locals.
                    Good comment, I agree with most of the sentiments.

                    However, depending on where the OP is wanting to work, there are definitely local LE jobs that pay better than the Feds with better retirement, think California. Comparatively, I think GS13 and above with 6C retirement would equal some of the top California agencies.

                    But, having a Fed agent job is way better for work life balances. That 13 level is the sweet spot.

                    Comment


                    • emtguy89
                      emtguy89 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      A lot of CA does pay more, but the taxes and cost of living suck, plus the politics. That state seems horrible in every way except LE pay and benefits.

                  • #13
                    Originally posted by SOCAleo View Post
                    ...there are definitely local LE jobs that pay better than the Feds with better retirement...
                    Yup. I don't know of any federal jobs offering $40K signing bonuses for jobs with 6-figure starting wages...

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Originally posted by emtguy89 View Post
                      ...apply to a federal agency and skip being a local if possible. The pay and benefits are a thousand times better...if your agency even has a retirement plan, most don't). Most feds also can't be fired on a whim or get screwed over as much by the brass compared to locals.
                      Lol.

                      I'm a just a high-school dropout. As a lowly patrol officer with full union protections, I never promoted. I made a solid $250K my last year before retiring in my mid-50s with a big fat retirement pension and free medical for life, to a beautiful brick house with a swimming pool and custom movie theater, located on my private gated 5-acre estate.

                      My daily work commuter car was a Porsche convertible that I custom-ordered new after touring the Porsche factory in Stuttgart.

                      My young wife has never had to work. Her daily driver is a BMW Track Pack car that I let her custom-order, and then we flew to Munich Germany to pick it up at the factory, the morning after doing Oktoberfest in costume.

                      We typically vacation in Europe one month a year. Dinner in the Eiffel Tower in Paris, pasta and wine in Rome, a horse-drawn carriage ride up to the world's most famous castle for wine and desserts, touring the Mosel Valley wine region, wienerschnitzel in Salzburg Austria (home of Mozart), gondola boat rides through Venice to Ernest Hemingway's residence, pub-hopping in London, sipping single-malt Scotch in Edinburgh Scotland, a musical pub crawl in Dublin Ireland, sipping cider in a "snug" at the Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast Northern Ireland, several weeks in a luxury cottage on the Isle of Man, picnicking at the little lake at the top of the San Bernardino Pass in the Swiss Alps, touring Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani, Ducati, and MV Agusta in northern Italy...you know, all the usual stuff that I've never seen a federal employee do.

                      I think I'm gonna go now, and change the color of the stitching in the leather upholstery of the new 2022 Ferrari Portofino M that I'm speccing.

                      Astronaut...
                      Last edited by Aidokea; 11-25-2021, 09:36 PM.

                      Comment


                      • emtguy89
                        emtguy89 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Sadly most of the country doesn't compensate remotely close to that. I'd say half or more of my state don't even have a pension. Also no unions. I think there's 16 or so states that have a police bill of rights...

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