Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Little fish, big pond: thoughts on department size

Collapse

300x250 Mobile

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Little fish, big pond: thoughts on department size

    These are my impressions of the differences between working for a small department for the last three years, and working for a good-sized city of about 120,000 people. I hope some of you are amused, and I'm sure some of you can use this to help decide where you want to apply in the future. If not, I apologize in advance for wasting your time.

    I start in 36 hours, but I think I'll get a jump on the thing.
    If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

    ---Jack Handey

  • #2
    Moving...

    First off, the simple act of house-hunting is quite different in a bigger city. When I started in a town of 4500, there were three acceptable houses (those in which the walls and floors don't move, and in which you can reasonably be sure there is no drug residue for your children to crawl around in.) We picked one and bought it.

    This is...not quite the same thing. It's a buyer's market, and there's a freakin' lot of houses out there. We spent two weeks on the internet picking houses we wanted to see. Spent a day driving around to all of them, and deciding they were all in neighborhoods I wouldn't want my wife and kids sleeping alone in while I was at work. Spent the next day seeing 14, count 'em 14, MORE houses with my old JR high buddy who's a realtor. Called him and told him we were scratching them all and starting over. I think he will kill me at first chance.

    So today, we saw another couple handsful of houses and found one that's almost perfect. Probably won't get it, but I hope so. I'm so dang tired of smelling other people's bathrooms I could shoot myself.

    Which brings up another interesting subject: I'm not sworn. Since I turned in my badge 4 days ago, I am unarmed except for a folding knife. So I guess I won't be shooting myself after all, or anyone else for that matter. I'm certainly not down about that, of course, but it feels really funky to walk around in public without at least my little pocket gun on me. I just keep telling myself, "No one here knows me. No one here knows me."

    This fact loses some credibility in the fact that I keep running into people who, in fact, know me, from high school. I called a FSBO house Wednesday in the neighborhood I was looking in, and it turns out I know the guy. Later, I find out that my realtor friend is also good friends with the BI that approved me for the job. If I'd have known that, I sure would have used it.

    But so far I haven't run into anyone who needs shootin'. Let's hope that continues until I get my "clothes" back - I feel naked right now.
    If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

    ---Jack Handey

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, I've been too busy to even log on for awhile. So, some impressions of the first several days.

      Benefits are WONDERFUL at the larger department! I keep finding out things that make me happy. The instructor said something very funny the other day - he cautioned us not to buy too expensive of a watch for patrol, because if it's damaged, the city will "only" reimburse me for the first $100. I don't think he understood why I laughed at that. The watch I've avoided wearing on patrol for the last couple of years ran me about $45, and it's as fancy as I care to own anyway.

      Training opportunities are great, too. I'm getting refreshers on things that I haven't touched since my academy 3.5 years ago, so that's good. If I want to join in with the academy students that were hired at the same time as me, I can just ask, and when that particular portion of the academy comes up, I can go.

      Equipment: I'm going Glock. I've been an XD guy, but hey, the Glock's provided for me, so is the holster, and never having shot it before, I qualified with a 94, so there's gotta be something going on. This department's very big on shooting and improving yourself.

      Small departments definitely have their attractions. But for now, the big place seems like the place to be. I'll be back in a few days with more - there's some things that strike me as funny when compared to what I came from, but it will have to wait a little longer for now.
      If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

      ---Jack Handey

      Comment


      • #4
        Glad to hear everything is going well...Are there any special units you're intrested in joining (ie: SWAT,K9,bomb squad ect)?...
        sigpic

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Southflaguy View Post
          Glad to hear everything is going well...Are there any special units you're intrested in joining (ie: SWAT,K9,bomb squad ect)?...
          LOL, just waiting on the uniforms so I can join Patrol!

          Unfortunately, or fortunately, even though I'm certified and have experience, I still need some training before we're all on the same page. Besides, special assignments are at least two years away. (Off-duty employment, on the other hand, is just a few short months away. Hello, solvency!)
          If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

          ---Jack Handey

          Comment


          • #6
            Cool good luck take care...
            sigpic

            Comment


            • #7
              A wonderful adventure for you. Enjoy the ride. You'll do well.

              -----------------

              In contrast, for me, I retired after 30 years with a 9000+ sworn member, 3000 civilian employee, big city on the west coast....you'd know the name/initials in an instant.

              Now, I'm 1000 miles away, in a new state and was finally hired by a small department. I have now boosted my new department's size to 13.5 sworn officers.

              In contrast to my former, very large and complex department. This small town department provides us with external body armor, ballistic helmets and shields to carry in our trunk. The big city has never, and would never trust its patrol officers to use/carry those items....wait, we did have helmets.

              My former department limited the amount of AR-15 (UPR) equipped officers to ten per division. Military deployment? Long term sick/IOD? All of the UPR officers on one particular watch, or on vacation? You want a UPR, let's hope you can get one from next-door. Additionally, UPR was a three day school. A course designed by a world class shooter (now retired and teaching at one of those big name gun resorts). A course intentionally designed so that overweight cops would never pass. And when one did, he DQ'ed the guy and sought to have the course qual levels raised (artificially) again. Cooler heads prevailed. If all we have is one beefy UPR officer, I'll take him/her if all the skinny guys are off doing something else!

              My new department took me to a rifle range. After demonstrating the care and cleaning of the AR-15 I went on to place 40 rounds in the kill zones from various positions...with never having owned & operated an AR-15/M-4 in my life.

              The county-wide MDC system, here, is light years beyond what I left in the big city. But, in fairness to my old department, to buy equipment for 9000 cops is way more expensive that it is to buy equipment for a dozen. But, because the big city has rules that boggle the mind it takes forever to get things done. Back in that big city, one could not award a contract until...(1) you screened, giving minority and women-owned business first review, (2) made sure the company had no business dealings with Myinmar (Burma), and (3) made sure no employee of the prospective company was behind on child support payments. It does not matter that Firm A, had a better price and could deliver all 9000 units immediately....if firm B met all the criteria it would not matter that they took months to roll out equipment by dozens here and there, for years.

              If it makes sense, here in this small town, we do it. Rather than agonize over what the multiple PD levels of review, the mayor, the media, the ACLU, the Los Angeles Times, the U.N., and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Baily Circus clowns are going to say about environmental, social, and metaphysical outcomes of our actions. We just adapt, improvise, and overcome.

              Despite the fact I'm the new guy, and need to get used to new roads & codes, life is still good, here. I'm very happy.

              School Cop, sorry if I hijacked this thread and made it more about me....(I may not be much, but I'm all I ever think about)....good luck to you in your new job. I'm sure at some point I'll see a procedure I don't like, or want a helicopter, or (God forbid) miss having a multiple level of review so that someone else can make the tough decision...but overall, I'm glad I'm here.

              In fact, just the other day, I created a little "swear jar." Everytime and anytime I (UNSOLICITED) shoot my mouth off about how much better my previous employer did something, I'll be putting a buck in there. It's my aim to keep my big mouth shut and just be glad to be a cop here and now.
              Last edited by Kieth M.; 08-06-2008, 12:36 PM.
              "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

              Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

              Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

              Comment


              • #8
                No offense taken, Keith. I think it's good to see both sides. Besides, your "anonymous" former employer would likely see my "big" department as small-town backwater Texas yokels, anyway!

                Update: I forgot to mention that I was sworn on the second day; got a badge but was not officially allowed to carry until that Friday, after getting my ID card. Oh well, all is better now.

                We're (me and the other certified officer) supposed to be doing some advanced shooting and driving sometime during the next few weeks, before FTO. Like I said, waiting on the uniforms. For now, it's been a very boring week, going over general orders and meeting various support personnel. I am getting useful information, I know, but I would rather hit the streets- yesterday.

                Patrol rifle: there are some, but they are all checked out. If I want to carry one, I can buy my own and they'll send me to rifle school. Ditto a personal shotgun, if I don't want to use the standard 870.

                Hey Keith: is it weird adapting to different radio usage? I foresee a difference for me after sitting in Dispatch for a day. In my former department, all radio traffic was handled by badge number and never changed. This included all Troopers and Deputies in the area; I scanned all their frequencies and saw them on calls occasionally. Here, you identify yourself by your shift and beat, which thankfully doesn't change often unless lots of people are out sick.

                Keith, chime in as much as you want; I think it could help people decide what kind of LE they are looking for. Perhaps we both just wanted a change, huh?

                I'll be incommunicado for a few days here; I will be traveling on the weekend and busy moving next week. I'll try to stop by a little, though.

                Waiting to be 10-8,
                School Cop
                If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

                ---Jack Handey

                Comment

                MR300x250 Tablet

                Collapse

                What's Going On

                Collapse

                There are currently 3834 users online. 210 members and 3624 guests.

                Most users ever online was 158,966 at 05:57 AM on 01-16-2021.

                Welcome Ad

                Collapse
                Working...
                X