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Constructing a plausible career track?

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  • Constructing a plausible career track?

    Putting together a background for my angel investigator character: Key here is "willing suspension of disbelief"...I don't mind if you say, "Now that's a stretch," but I'd want to rewrite if you say, "No way that could happen." So, after graduating college with a bachelor's in criminal justice and then the state academy (MLEA), I've penciled in that she spends five years with the police department in Billings...two on patrol on the streets, and then she gets lucky and makes the cut for a sworn assistant's position in the Investigations department, where she gets enough of the right kind of experience that the PD of my fictional railroad is willing to give her a shot three years later. Would that pass the smell test in casual conversation with other officers?

  • #2
    If she's the heavy-handed Deputy Chief's only child, and she's a lesbian minority, then yes.

    You should add some other stuff, to make it more believable, like getting assigned to an elite specialized plainclothes unit with very little supervision, even though her stats suck and her reports look like they were written in Chinese and then translated into English by an extremely drunk person who couldn't spell. While on duty, she should be seen mostly hanging out at Starbucks at the mall, instead of working. She would have to stack up her unmarked take home car while off duty about 30 minutes after the bars close, stinking drunk, and then somehow magically avoid any discipline or arrest. She should commit a hit & run in her personal vehicle, the victims should say that she was clearly drunk, and then she should refuse to answer her phone or come to the door when they find her wrecked car parked in her driveway, and she should skate on that too. She should be involved in several near-riots that require the entire precinct to respond at a problematic local bar, and she should be the one who caused it. And she should put on an "I'm in a specialized unit so I don't talk to uniformed officers anymore" air, have a really caustic attitude, and look down her nose to officers much more competent and senior than her. And it should be virtually impossible for her to be able to qualify at the range.

    Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

    Comment


    • Iowa #1603
      Iowa #1603 commented
      Editing a comment
      If you don't like the answers you are given, you are free to exit the same way you came in.

      This is an ADULT police forum that has many members with varying levels of experience and ....yea humor. The way it works is people ask questions and the members use their experience, knowledge, and sometimes unique communications skills to answer the questions.

      BUT if you are going to come here to ask you are going to have to accept the answers you are given.

    • Aidokea
      Aidokea commented
      Editing a comment
      Iowa saved me some typing.

      Ehbowen, you're here asking us for free help on a story that you intend to financially profit from. You asked for reality- we're giving it to you.

      I'm not exactly sure what you're getting at in your follow-up comment. Inuendo isn't going to cut it here- the person I described is a scrub because she's a scrub, not because she's female. Some day she'll make the front page of the news, cost the department millions in a lawsuit, and/or end up in prison.
      Last edited by Aidokea; 03-31-2021, 07:43 PM.

    • Iowa #1603
      Iowa #1603 commented
      Editing a comment
      Actually Aidokea, your example sounds very similar to a Major (male) at one of the larger LE agencies in Iowa. Still trying to figure out why he wasn't fired 20 yrs ago.
      Oh you forgot the domestic assault with cops called .............

    • tanksoldier
      tanksoldier commented
      Editing a comment
      The scenario Aidokea is giving you is much more likely than the one you describe yourself. Hard working officers get complaints, founded or not, are too busy to check the boxes and kiss the backsides required for rapid promotion. As mentioned, anything can happen... but being lily white is unlikely to result in rapid promotion, compared to knowing where the skeletons are buried and having a set of knee pads in your desk.

  • #3
    Editing this before someone gets their delicate feelings hurt.
    Last edited by not.in.MY.town; 03-31-2021, 07:12 AM.

    Comment


    • #4
      Originally posted by ehbowen View Post
      : Key here is "willing suspension of disbelief"...I don't mind if you say,
      Write your story the way you want to.

      After 42 plus years bouncing around the profession there are very few circumstances in a "career progression" that I haven't seen. I have seen hot shots that bound through the ranks so fast that their feet don't touch the ground as well as the plodders who never leave the "entry level"

      I have also seen (and been involved ) where a person just happened to be in the right time and space when a position opened and they fell into it. I have also had a position description & job posting written that only one person in a 100 member agency was even remotely qualified for the job. (THAT happened to be me)

      In short.....................NOTHING is really impossible
      Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

      My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

      Comment


      • #5
        Ehbowen, if you want to see stories with a lot of reality, watch End Of Watch, Bringing Out The Dead, and The Choirboys.

        Comment


        • #6
          What is a “sworn assistant “?
          Now go home and get your shine box!

          Comment


          • Aidokea
            Aidokea commented
            Editing a comment
            Haha. I was gonna ask that too...

          • ehbowen
            ehbowen commented
            Editing a comment
            Reading the publicly accessible information for the department I see that they have several (detail not specified) positions; some are for sworn officers and others are for civilian personnel. For the story line I wanted to have her as a sworn officer, but it would be enough to have her in the most junior slot in the division as long as she can plausibly gain experience. Info says that there are about 140 officers total in the entire department, so I'd presume (assumption; you know about those) that there would only be a handful of full time investigators and that they would work the full spectrum of cases and seldom specialize. Edit To Add: Again, I'm an outsider; if someone can suggest a more appropriate title for such a job opening I would appreciate it.
            Last edited by ehbowen; 04-01-2021, 01:11 AM.

        • #7
          Originally posted by Aidokea View Post
          Ehbowen, if you want to see stories with a lot of reality, watch End Of Watch, Bringing Out The Dead, and The Choirboys.
          Or the reruns of Barney Miller
          Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

          My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

          Comment


          • Aidokea
            Aidokea commented
            Editing a comment
            Or the spin-off "Fish".

            Did you know that after more than three decades of false reports of Abe Vigoda's death, he finally passed for real about five years ago?

        • #8
          I know it's not American policing but to me, nothing is closer to reality than the scenes from Hot Fuzz.

          Eight pull-ups for a fit female doesn't seem that impressive.

          Comment


          • #9
            If she was young, skinny, bonde, and hot, you could have her banging a married Sergeant who had kids her age, when she was a recruit in academy and he was one of her instructors. Then, when he was in IA and her peculiar skills with meth cases had landed her in vice narcotics, he could call her to warn her of an unannounced (surprise) department-wide random drug screening, and she could stop coming to work. Then she could claim that she wasn't coming to work and was losing weight because she had cancer. Then all the rest of us could donate sick time to her, before finding out that she had gotten hooked on meth.

            Bonus points for the Sergeant's wife (and everyone in the department) recognizing her husband's character in the best-selling book that junkie rookie wrote while in prison.

            That happened too...

            Comment


            • ehbowen
              ehbowen commented
              Editing a comment
              Young, skinny, blonde, hot...hmm. I can work with that. But the virginity thing kind of gets in the way. Now if I wanted to write a story about a fallen angel....

              [@Iowa #1603, that's my sense of humor. I'm a great straight man....]

            • tanksoldier
              tanksoldier commented
              Editing a comment
              A fallen angel trying to earn redemption is a far more likely candidate for your story anyway...

            • ehbowen
              ehbowen commented
              Editing a comment
              A fallen angel trying to earn redemption is a far more likely candidate for your story anyway...
              I have one of those stories on the burner too, but it doesn't involve police work. It does involve alternate realities, though.

          • #10
            It's very normal to from Patrol to Investigations...common track. Get rid of the sworn assistant...position, just probationary detective or something like that. You could also just have the character go from patrol to a plainclothes squad, like a deployment team or something....usually not part of the Detective division...OR, and as others have said, she was in the right time and place and the Detective position worked out. Not everyone wants to go to CID...

            Comment


            • ehbowen
              ehbowen commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you. That's very helpful information. So after about a year as a probationary detective I could say the probation period ended, and she was a detective, albeit junior, for a couple of years and learned the ropes...but, looking at slim chances of promotion in the next few years and with a tip from a cousin (my RR special agent) that his agency was looking for a full time investigator, she moved on. Pass the smell test?

            • Kraut0783
              Kraut0783 commented
              Editing a comment
              sure, common for BNSF and other RR agencies to hire investigators from other agencies. For an example, here is a BNSF Special Agent hiring notice.

              https://jobs.bnsf.com/job/Fort-Worth...131/702985900/
              Last edited by Kraut0783; 04-03-2021, 05:15 PM.

          • #11
            No idea what a "sworn assistant's position in the Investigations department" is. Just make her a detective and be done with it. Two years is pretty quick, but it can happen. I imagine RR investigators spend a lot of time investigating property crimes, smuggling and organized crime thefts, so have your patrol officer make a stop that ends up cracking open a smuggling or RICO case, which gets her noticed by the chief of detectives, who pulls her into his/her unit.
            Last edited by just joe; 04-08-2021, 01:12 PM.

            Comment


            • ehbowen
              ehbowen commented
              Editing a comment
              Yeah, just forget the 'sworn assistant' bit. PLEASE! As far as the two years on patrol to probationary detective thing goes, I'll just say that she took an extra course or two in her criminal justice major which gave her some knowledge/qualifications which the other applicants lacked. Thanks.

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