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Posted: 8/31/2018 10:36:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/18/2018 7:59:14 AM EDT by Bronze]
Not to long ago I started the "why arent DOC considered cops", thread.........now I know.

I am going to do my best to update this thread for anyone wanting to get into the world of Corrections.

When I applied I already had a heavy background in security. Not the normal mall cop stuff. Plate carriers, X2, spray, cuffs, certs out the wazoo, blah blah blah. When I applied, they crammed me through the process so fast it was pretty crazy. But I learned DOC is so short handed that if you have a heart beat, you can get through the front door. They need bodies desperately. Who wants to work around the people that society has thrown away? Well.....Apparently, I do.

From the interview to my first day walking through the gate was 2 weeks. I was under the impression that I would be put through an academy before even setting foot inside the compound.....wrong.

Day 1....intake. HR shit all day long.

Day 2....In uniform at 0600 standing tall before the Capt. He looked right at me and said "Lima dorm". Judging from the giggles of the Sgt.'s and the other officers it was either going to be the Max section or some kind of shit spot.......Turns out he wanted to see what I was made of. "Lima Dorm" is the Max confinement section. This is where the murderers, rapists, child molesters, home invasion.....basically the worst of the of the worst. Trying to describe the first day is hard, its a whirl wind of movement, inmates testing you because you are new and seeing what they can get away with and seeing what you are made of.

I'll be the first one to say that if you think you are going to walk in there without fear.....you are lying to yourself. You are in their world. I spent 10 years in the Marines as a tanker, worked 5 years in an environment where I took care of what the jails wouldnt take. But this actually helped me because I already knew how to speak to "dings" (ding bats) and "Jitts" (Jitterbugs AKA kids).

I was basically thrown to the wolves and told "figure it out". I was doing security checks in an area where I had to walk shoulder to shoulder with the worst of society. Since I didnt have a name tape, they knew I was the "new guy" and the inmates were doing everything they could to get a rise out of me. This is where my age gave me a little bit of an edge, the other 3 I started with are 19 through 21, I'm 45. Walking a pod with over 60 inmates wandering is no shit scary the first time you do it. Especially when you are doing your best to look like its no big deal.

First day went by without issue. Second day was an easy day, I was assigned to a dorm that is in the dog program. I learned that those guys will follow the straight and narrow because they dont want to lose the privileges that they have.

The next day I show up and the Capt. looks at me and says "Lima Dorm". I dont know what happened but that day I learned to use my voice. I learned to speak without being a complete asshole while enforcing the rules. But I had my first run in with an inmate. Inmates will follow orders, period. Inmates will do exactly what you tell them to do, no questions asked. I had one try and pull my punk card in the yard during chow movement. He was pissed off and raising hell about something that happened in the chow hall. When I heard the noise I started moving in on him and he said "what are you going to do, you arent even certified yet and dont have a badge"......NEVER, NEVER let an inmate talk shit to you. I rolled on him hard in front of the other inmates and told him that "uniform is new but the game isnt". His mouth kept going until I had to put him down. 15 days confinement disobeying a direct order.

After that....word got passed that Bronze doesnt put up with shit.

The next few days I have bounced between Max and level 3 custody. But it was today where I learned to find that balance between getting shit done and being an asshole. I tried the asshole thing for a day and it really didnt get me anywhere. But when I dialed myself back and started working smarter (I started thinking of my inmates like they were my Privates and PFC's and LCPL's in the Marines).....Things got MUCH smoother. Little bit of A-hole mixed with guy that has to make sure you are alive. Hard but fair and consistency is key.

The Max guys requested me until my FTO said I had to do other stuff. Today was 12 hours at the check in treating officers like they were inmates....hated it. Every officer coming in I had to search, x ray his stuff and pat him down. I hated this because in the back of my head I knew this is how inmates get cell phones and drugs. I made sure that EVERY.SINGLE officer that came through the gate got the full "sweet Bronze love pat down". I didnt care if it was the Capt. or the Colonel. You pass through my area, Im gonna gut you. But 12 hours of that....the suck meter hit the redline.

At home having a couple beers and letting the stress fall away. Next week, dont know whats going to happen.

UPDATE #1
Found my first shiv. Doing security checks and went passed a cell and just got the "bad vibe" about the inmates when they looked at me with wide open eyes. Pulled them out and radioed to have the door rolled behind them. Informed the Sgt. I would be tossing their cell for contraband and requested a second officer. Started out with the standard going through the drawer of shit, nothing, pulled the mattress back.....BAM....shiv right there, toothbrush filed to a extra sharp, pointy end. Since the inmates were standing outside the cell I asked who was in bunk 2. Inmate raised his hand and I spun him and cuffed him up. While the second officer held him, I tossed the shit out of the cell. EVERYTHING went on the floor, I'm not falling for the bait item and missing something else. Nothing else was found and I ripped that place apart. Inmate kept saying "not mine, not mine". My response..."possession is 9/10ths of the law, your bunk, your shiv". Long story short, sent to confinement, DR filed, DR court found guilty and 120 days confinement.

Lots of inmates still testing me as the "new guy". Doesnt work out well for them. I've been pretty busy watching who the "players" are. We have Latin kings, Zo's, Bloods and BGD's and an unknown White group. Ive been able to nail down who is in charge of the Latin Kings. Zo's are a shit show, no one is really "in charge". Bloods and BGD's are splintered, everyone claiming who is boss. The whites are even harder to nail down. No one claims to be in charge or running anything. But from what I have learned is watch the white guy with the most face tattoo's and see which black guy he is talking with frequently, that will tell you is running the whites.

My priority right now is just learning how to deal with inmates as a group and I am finding out that co-workers can be my biggest problem.

UPDATE #2
Now on my regular schedule. 1800-0600. First time on night shift as a "trainee", left completely alone in a cottage dorm with 37 inmates with custody levels from 1 to 4. I got a couple courtesy check ins from the Capt. and the Sgt. but other than that.....stay awake and do your paperwork. Boring up until you find some contraband and your all alone. I'm not one to look the other way and then call for back up. So I acted on it right away and things got pretty tense. You couldn't have slid a greased BB up my butt when it was going down. But knowing how to talk (or at least pretending well enough) got things handled and the rest fell in line while one went to AC. Once it was all said and done, had to go into my office and take a couple deep breaths and flush the shitter like I was actually doing something. With the shit that has been going down in the Florida prison systems lately.....you dont know when shits going to go sideways.
Link Posted: 8/31/2018 11:03:32 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/31/2018 11:32:23 PM EDT
You’re doing good OP.

I just retired after a few decades as a city cop. In my city there is a large state prison, I don’t know if my percentages are right but I always considered half of the COs as my brothers in law enforcement and the other half shit heads.
Link Posted: 8/31/2018 11:40:29 PM EDT
Good synopsis!

I know some people really like corrections. More power to them! Glad there are some who do the job.
Link Posted: 8/31/2018 11:53:08 PM EDT
Good luck OP, start looking for another job before you go to school.
Link Posted: 9/1/2018 12:51:50 AM EDT
I'm guessing you are the constant supervision of your FTO? I can't believe they would let you work alone with zero training, liability would be off the charts if a new guy with no training did something horrible or something horrible happened to him.
Link Posted: 9/1/2018 1:22:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2018 1:29:03 AM EDT by Bowhntr6pt]
Glad to see this post. I'm sure in time you will settle in and things will be ok.

Your age and life experiences are already helping... and those fuckers will take notice.

ETA- old tanker here... M60A1 and M60A3 D Troop 10th CAV 1981-1982; 1st BN 70th Armor 1983-1984; 4th BN 69th Armor 1985-1986.
Link Posted: 9/1/2018 1:48:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2018 1:54:32 AM EDT by Jmo371]
The inmates will test you at first, they have to realize you are not the one to fuck with.

my other advice is work hard, and do not let lazy people influence what you do. Follow the go getters and don't look back at those trying to pull you down.

our Units are 128 to 1....you really have to show that this is your House Not theirs they just live there. That said if an inmates has a question acknowledge him, even if it is I have a bunch of stuff i'm doing, come back in a half hour...but no not blow them off if they are being respectful to you. They will respect you much more if you here them out even if the end answer is no(get very used to saying no). But you are right absolutely never let an inmate disrespect you and get away with it....at least in GP Seg is sort of it's own animal
Link Posted: 9/1/2018 2:44:47 AM EDT
Learn to say no.
Never lie to an inmate, your credibility matters.
Don't play buddy games and joke around with them.
Don't get fired for your coworkers stupidity.
Don't be the guy holding the door open, run through it.
They aren't criminals because they broke the law, they
broke the law because they're criminals.

24 years and counting
Link Posted: 9/1/2018 3:09:26 AM EDT
Fascinating OP. Good luck buddy.
Link Posted: 9/1/2018 9:23:34 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2018 9:25:54 AM EDT by Bronze]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FightingHellfish:
I'm guessing you are the constant supervision of your FTO? I can't believe they would let you work alone with zero training, liability would be off the charts if a new guy with no training did something horrible or something horrible happened to him.
View Quote
No. We did have some time where we would meet and talk about the rules, how to handle certain situations, reading a little bit, etc. But for the most part I was only with 3 to 4 regular officers and I would have to ask them questions. the only time I was under direct FTO supervision was when we were doing pat downs on the inmates when they came out of chow. After that we would talk about it and I would get sent back to my area.

I spoke with the other officers when I was in the max area and they said that now days new hires get more instruction upon arrival than they ever did. All of them pretty much said that they were handed a set of keys and told "figure it out".

My FTO told me yesterday morning that as of next week the 4 of us will be on a regular shift schedule and on our own. From what I can see, there is still a LOT to learn and I dont see why they would put us on our own but from what I hear, this is how they do it down here.

ETA: I did notice that the FTO was spending quite a bit of time with 2 of the new hires. I'm guessing that he stays around the ones that he thinks need the help. Myself and one other guy have pretty much been left alone.
Link Posted: 9/1/2018 9:27:42 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Bowhntr6pt:

ETA- old tanker here... M60A1 and M60A3 D Troop 10th CAV 1981-1982; 1st BN 70th Armor 1983-1984; 4th BN 69th Armor 1985-1986.
View Quote
C Co 4th tnk btn. M1A1's, I miss my hog.
Link Posted: 9/1/2018 9:59:46 PM EDT
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In all seriousness, firm - fair - consistent will be your friend.
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In all seriousness, firm - fair - consistent will be your friend.
your fellow staff members will be your worst problem.
The problem with that is they will ride a good horse until it dies and then look for another one.
Always look out for yourself, because no one else will do it for you.
Never do anything for an inmate that you can't do for all of the inmates.
This is all TRUTH!

Glad to hear it's working out for you. Be safe and keep your head on a swivel.
Link Posted: 9/1/2018 10:08:59 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/2/2018 1:09:17 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Jmo371:
But you are right absolutely never let an inmate disrespect you and get away with it....at least in GP Seg is sort of it's own animal
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On the yard and in the "dorms".....hell no.

All the ones in "jail" AKA Adseg, confinement, lock down.....they sit at their windows and chip at you as you walk by and talk all kinds of shit but you just ignore it. I think of it like the static on a TV....background noise.
Link Posted: 9/2/2018 1:48:07 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Bronze:

On the yard and in the "dorms".....hell no.

All the ones in "jail" AKA Adseg, confinement, lock down.....they sit at their windows and chip at you as you walk by and talk all kinds of shit but you just ignore it. I think of it like the static on a TV....background noise.
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Eh, you still have ways of cutting that off but it's all respect based. Give legitimate answers do what you say you are going to and sometimes you have to explain something until the light clicks on in their head. Occasionally you will get a couple idiots but if you regularly work SHU or Seg you find that they really don't even talk shit to you.

Also if you work Seg never ever let an inmate get under your skin on range. Act like nothing that they do kicking doors, breaking sprinkler heads, boarding up even matters, essentially.....they want a reaction out of you, do not give it to them.

And never ever pass anything between inmates ever.
Link Posted: 9/2/2018 7:55:24 PM EDT
Welcome to DOC brother, 6 years and going strong on Rikers Island here. 90% of the time the hardest part of the job is dealing with your supervisors and coworkers, the other 10% is the inmates. They will test you and watch you, always stay alert and be yourself, don’t try to be someone your not they can smell it. There’s some days I wonder why the heck am I doing this for a living but most days are pretty good. Depending on what department your working for you can make a nice living and always get OT. I tell all the new recruits that there will be days you want to quit, give it at least 6 months and see if it works for you, good luck and be safe.
Link Posted: 9/4/2018 9:35:40 PM EDT
Update in OP
Link Posted: 9/4/2018 9:50:06 PM EDT
Sometime when OP is near a desk with a computer he should look for a file labeled "Policy." Somewhere in there is gonna be a document labeled, "social media." He should read it.
Link Posted: 9/4/2018 9:57:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/4/2018 10:01:52 PM EDT by Bronze]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FightingHellfish:
Sometime when OP is near a desk with a computer he should look for a file labeled "Policy." Somewhere in there is gonna be a document labeled, "social media." He should read it.
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Already have done that. The only social media I am concerned about is what I can be found at since I have a monster footprint. As long as I dont mention specific names, places....no problem.

ETA: cant do pictures either
Link Posted: 9/4/2018 10:14:08 PM EDT
Stay safe and watch your six. Remember that some COs will fuck you just as fast as an inmate.
Link Posted: 9/4/2018 10:34:01 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Miami_JBT:
Stay safe and watch your six. Remember that some COs will fuck you just as fast as an inmate.
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This isnt a lie. Head on a swivel.... ALL THE TIME.

From what I can tell you will be passing the "sniff test" with your co-workers as much as you will the inmates and if you have ANY sense of your surroundings, you'll figure out real quick who those people are. But most of all the co- workers will want to see what you are made of more than the inmates will. I had my first run in today with another c/o. Once it was done, he flat told me he wanted to see if I would stand up for myself.
Link Posted: 9/5/2018 1:18:33 AM EDT
"My priority right now is just learning how to deal with inmates as a group and I am finding out that co-workers can be my biggest problem".

Why would your co-workers be your biggest problem?
Link Posted: 9/5/2018 1:47:47 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By SEAN10MM:

Why would your co-workers be your biggest problem?
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They dont know me or my background so they are keeping me at arms length and some of them are putting me in situations to see whats I am made of. That and I am a "damn yankee" so of course I am a hillary supporter, have a pink pussy hat at home, etc, etc, etc.
Link Posted: 9/5/2018 10:25:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/5/2018 10:26:18 PM EDT by Jmo371]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Bronze:

They dont know me or my background so they are keeping me at arms length and some of them are putting me in situations to see whats I am made of. That and I am a "damn yankee" so of course I am a hillary supporter, have a pink pussy hat at home, etc, etc, etc.
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That's pretty normal. Once you start running to fights and you jump right into it without thinking twice with your co-workers, get right into the stack to go in on a guy on an immediate that kind of stuff....you'll be good and fit right in.
Link Posted: 9/6/2018 6:45:15 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FightingHellfish:
I'm guessing you are the constant supervision of your FTO? I can't believe they would let you work alone with zero training, liability would be off the charts if a new guy with no training did something horrible or something horrible happened to him.
View Quote
I can.
Link Posted: 9/6/2018 6:56:32 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FightingHellfish:
I'm guessing you are the constant supervision of your FTO? I can't believe they would let you work alone with zero training, liability would be off the charts if a new guy with no training did something horrible or something horrible happened to him.
View Quote
Normal day in FL
Link Posted: 9/6/2018 8:24:49 AM EDT
Welcome to the party, pal.
Link Posted: 9/7/2018 9:35:12 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By hankforker:
Welcome to the party, pal.
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Son I am disappoint. Wheres the John McCain picture out the window?
Link Posted: 9/8/2018 9:07:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/8/2018 9:08:17 PM EDT by Bronze]
Today was a real eye opener. I learned how important it is to keep your head on a swivel and be ready for anything.
Link Posted: 9/15/2018 1:08:26 AM EDT
I learned this week.....

"what happens behind the walls, stays behind the walls". No news crews, nothing in the paper, just a silence that is deafening. Even when all hell breaks loose.

The policy book is considered "the book of suggestions" and "its ok, till its not ok". Where I came from you live and die by policy....behind the wall.....not so much until you have a target on you back from brass.

I have never worked in an environment where employee moral is so low. But when I had to go to HR today to pick up my first paycheck because 3 weeks isnt enough time to get my direct deposit set up and saw what my check was, even with a 12 hour worked holiday and "oh by the way, you only get 2 weeks of those 3 weeks because when you decide to leave thats when you will get that extra week back"....no wonder the suicide rate in correctional officers is twice as high as street cops.

Had a great day on my last day of what I will loosely refer to as "FTO". Tossed a few cells, found a tattoo gun, another shiv, some tobacco (not surprising since officers can smoke on this compound), sent a couple inmates to the box, wrote some paper...made me feel better inside.

On my way out I got my orders to my shift. FML.....going to nights and the Capt. of the crew I will be on happened to be in the lobby as I was leaving......

Capt: "Bronze, cant wait to get you on the crew, we need the help"
Me: (Jokingly) "Were you looking for good help sir"?
Capt: "No....I just need heart beats".

I just smiled and laughed a bit, but inside I knew thats all he wanted. Corrections is so short handed, they dont care about ability, skill, background, they just want heartbeats. They will hire anyone as long as you dont have anything major in your background. And even then I am pretty sure they will turn a blind eye to anything short of homicide. Shit, there are officers working that have ZERO FUCKING BUSINESS inside the walls. Prosecution exhibit A...The 65yo female that can barely move under her own power without stroking out taking inmate to chow.

I'm still learning to navigate this mess called "corrections". Stress levels through the roof, administration that will hang you for anything an inmate says, policy that isnt policy until something goes wrong.........what a mess.....

All this for $14.05/hr

Something inside me likes it though. I cant put my finger on it. The job is easy until something goes wrong but thats no different that my previous work. I dont like screaming at inmates, I prefer the pull them off to the side and "counsel" them. Most of my co-workers are ass hats, but I dont need them to do my job effectively and the benefits are the best in the state. Found out tonight that my corrections ID gets me a 35% discount at one of the local restaurants we like to eat at. That dropped tonights tab from $114 to $85, so there is a plus.

This whole thing is a weird oxymoron.
Link Posted: 9/15/2018 10:13:47 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/15/2018 1:01:45 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By mustb123:
Don't worry, after the academy and passing the fdle test, your pay will sky rocket to around 17.00 haha.
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Hahahahahaha.....$16.50
Link Posted: 9/15/2018 10:49:28 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Bronze:
I learned this week.....

"what happens behind the walls, stays behind the walls". No news crews, nothing in the paper, just a silence that is deafening. Even when all hell breaks loose.

The policy book is considered "the book of suggestions" and "its ok, till its not ok". Where I came from you live and die by policy....behind the wall.....not so much until you have a target on you back from brass.

I have never worked in an environment where employee moral is so low. But when I had to go to HR today to pick up my first paycheck because 3 weeks isnt enough time to get my direct deposit set up and saw what my check was, even with a 12 hour worked holiday and "oh by the way, you only get 2 weeks of those 3 weeks because when you decide to leave thats when you will get that extra week back"....no wonder the suicide rate in correctional officers is twice as high as street cops.

Had a great day on my last day of what I will loosely refer to as "FTO". Tossed a few cells, found a tattoo gun, another shiv, some tobacco (not surprising since officers can smoke on this compound), sent a couple inmates to the box, wrote some paper...made me feel better inside.

On my way out I got my orders to my shift. FML.....going to nights and the Capt. of the crew I will be on happened to be in the lobby as I was leaving......

Capt: "Bronze, cant wait to get you on the crew, we need the help"
Me: (Jokingly) "Were you looking for good help sir"?
Capt: "No....I just need heart beats".

I just smiled and laughed a bit, but inside I knew thats all he wanted. Corrections is so short handed, they dont care about ability, skill, background, they just want heartbeats. They will hire anyone as long as you dont have anything major in your background. And even then I am pretty sure they will turn a blind eye to anything short of homicide. Shit, there are officers working that have ZERO FUCKING BUSINESS inside the walls. Prosecution exhibit A...The 65yo female that can barely move under her own power without stroking out taking inmate to chow.

I'm still learning to navigate this mess called "corrections". Stress levels through the roof, administration that will hang you for anything an inmate says, policy that isnt policy until something goes wrong.........what a mess.....

All this for $14.05/hr

Something inside me likes it though. I cant put my finger on it. The job is easy until something goes wrong but thats no different that my previous work. I dont like screaming at inmates, I prefer the pull them off to the side and "counsel" them. Most of my co-workers are ass hats, but I dont need them to do my job effectively and the benefits are the best in the state. Found out tonight that my corrections ID gets me a 35% discount at one of the local restaurants we like to eat at. That dropped tonights tab from $114 to $85, so there is a plus.

This whole thing is a weird oxymoron.
View Quote
Dude...

As soon as you complete the academy and pass the state exam, call the county and beg for a job in the jail.
Link Posted: 9/15/2018 11:20:53 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By FightingHellfish:
I'm guessing you are the constant supervision of your FTO? I can't believe they would let you work alone with zero training, liability would be off the charts if a new guy with no training did something horrible or something horrible happened to him.
View Quote
My first day I was handed keys, radio, and told to read my post orders, and my name was "fuckin rookie". He'll be fine.
Link Posted: 9/16/2018 6:04:55 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Gilly:

Dude...

As soon as you complete the academy and pass the state exam, call the county and beg for a job in the jail.
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Yep.
Link Posted: 9/16/2018 7:20:21 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By FrankW134:
My first day I was handed keys, radio, and told to read my post orders, and my name was "fuckin rookie".
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Sounds familiar.
Link Posted: 9/16/2018 4:15:36 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Gilly:

Dude...

As soon as you complete the academy and pass the state exam, call the county and beg for a job in the jail.
View Quote
Downside to doing this is that the state of Florida will come after you for $1500 it cost to put you through the academy.
Link Posted: 9/16/2018 11:02:13 PM EDT
I hit 11 years in December. Fortunately for me, I've been on active duty orders for a little while now. I used to have fun in the jail. Once I promoted to sergeant, the headaches and stress far outweigh the rewards (and paycheck). Sounds like you're on the right track OP. I've spent many years working seg as both an officer and a supervisor. It's always been my favorite place to work. Your shifts in there could be completely quiet or complete chaos. I loved it. If you have any questions, let me know. I'd be happy to help.
Link Posted: 9/18/2018 7:59:46 AM EDT
Update #2 in OP.
Link Posted: 9/18/2018 11:10:27 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Bronze:

Downside to doing this is that the state of Florida will come after you for $1500 it cost to put you through the academy.
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It will be worth every single penny.
Link Posted: 9/18/2018 11:17:09 PM EDT
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