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Posted: 1/22/2002 6:46:13 PM EDT
Dear Sirs: I am currently contemplating a major change in vocation. I have a 4 year degree in mass communications, and have been involved in radio and television for 14 years. It has been a 7 day a week, 12-16 hour a day high stress job the entire time. I am burned out on it. My family has recommended that I make a change and move to something completely different. In the back of my mind I have always been contemplating LE, and as I am now 32, I feel the clock ticking on how late I could actually get started in such a vocation. In short, I am seriously considering becoming a cop. I have numerous questions and would be very grateful for your responses and any other input you may feel important to consider. Thanks in advance for your help. 1. Would you advise going into city, state, county or federal LE and why? 2. What part of the county would be the best area to relocate to for a LE vocation and why? 3. What are the pay scales, benefits, retirement packages like? 4. Do you like or dislike being a LEO and why? 5. Would you become one again if you had the choice? 6. What are some of the requirements I can expect to have to meet to apply for such positions? 7. Why did you become a LEO and have the reasons changed over time? 8. Do you consider your job to be overly dangerous, or does the media just always key on the bad stuff? Are some jobs/locations more dangerous than others? Again, thank you to any and all who are willing to spend a few minutes to respond to this post.
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 7:10:52 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 7:45:30 PM EDT
I'll answer in the order you posted them: First of all if you are married, get her input first, see what she thinks and where she would like to go. If you are not married, what do you want to do? What are your motivations? Do you want to stay hopping and popping, go mid to large city or county. But be warned - most county agencies start you in the jail. If you want political BS, go federal! See where I am going? Me. I chose municipal law enforcement (although temporily at a large School district PD) because you get a dose of every walk of law enforcement. Narcotics, traffic, SWAT, calls, DWI's and etc. In a normal patrol function, you get to do pretty much all of it. 2- Depends on where you want to go. I prefer the south, but that is just me. Choose to work where you love to live then you all always find a way to be content when the chips are down. 3- Depends on where you go. Remember this, large starting salaries are a double edged sword. If it is a large starting salary then most likely their cost of living is out of this universe and insurance is a nightmare. We start out at $30,000, which is ok for this area. Our cost of living isn't too bad and there are enough small communities you can live outside your work area. 4- If I didn't like it, I wouldn't be doing it and putting up with the BS that goes with being LE. I cannot imagine doing anything different. Don't even consider doing this unless you really feel called. 5- See number 4 6- Ditto what shotar said but some require polygraphs, drug screens, psychologicals and PT test 7- See #4. Reasons have not changed and probably won't. This job is addicting and I need my fix! 8- Consider more people killed every year visiting relatives over the holidays than police officers killed in the line of duty. Yes, it's dangerous but if you take it seriously and use your head, your chances of making retirement are pretty good. If you will keep this thought in the back of your head: that one day, someone is going to wakeup and decide to kill a police officer and you prepare yourself for that day, every time you put on your badge, VEST, and duty rig, you will have the winning mind set. You couldn't pay me enough to go to NY (sorry Palmer, Hunduh, Wave and Ronin). Personally, I like LE in the south to Midwest. The attitudes are different policing and for the most part in the good agencies you are left to do your job and don't have to be babysitted. This job chooses you. It isn't about the money, the benefits, the brotherhood (although very important). It's about making a differance and being there when someone needs you the most. Examine yourself very carefully, what are your motivations. If they aren't pure, then find another job. If you aren't willing to go out try and make a differance everytime you to in service, then find another job. If you aren't interested in keeping the trust that will be given to you for twenty to twenty five years, find another job. If you aren't willing to give it all for your brother in blue, then....... you get the picture. Good luck. If in Texas, email I know of several agencies who are hiring in the Houston area.
Link Posted: 1/22/2002 9:19:14 PM EDT
Cosair, Like previously stated, law enforcement is a career that you must really want. It can be very rewarding and discouraging all in the blink of an eye. Me myself, I love it and I wouldn't trade it for any other profession. In reference to you questions... 1. I am a municipal LEO (Tampa Fl). Just based on what I have heard from other officers working county, state and federal agency's, we do pretty good. Ours starting salary is a little over 35,000 a year including a take home squad car, 4 days on 4 days off work cycle and really good benefits. The a master patrol officer (10 years officer) can make approx 55,000. 2. Speaking for personal preference, I like Florida. The weather is mild, cost of living is not bad and it can be a good place for children if you have any. The other plus deep sea fishing!!!! 3. In addition to #1 our retirement package consists of 20 and out with 70% of your salary. We also have a Deferred Retirement Option Program which is causing many old timers to finally leave. This in turn is opening the door for upward mobility within the dept. 4. I love the job because there is always someone out there that I can help out (children). There are many negatives out there that have to either be ignored or dealt with. But nothing feels better than to be approached and thanked by a citizen who really appreciates and understands what police work is all about. 5. Yes 6. 2 year degree, no felony criminal history, no drug abuse, minimal traffic tickets, honesty 7. Became a LEO because I couldn't stand being confined to an office day in day out. I still like the freedom but I have grown a lot with this job. 8. The job is dangerous but complacency is even more dangerous. I work narcotics and to me I always feel that the potential for something bad to happen is there. I rely on my instincts as well as what was learned in an academy. Instincts simply don't lie. They will get you out of a jam when nothing else can. Good Luck in you decision Toxcity
Link Posted: 1/23/2002 3:37:57 PM EDT
Law Enforcement is not for everyone and is nothing like what you see on TV. My only advise is Do NOT become a cop in the New York Metropolitan area .
Link Posted: 1/23/2002 4:25:49 PM EDT
I'll agree with what ColtM4 has said: Police work is NOT for everyone BUT if you do feel the call, I think it is a rewarding line of work. What you see on TV is nothing like real life...usually it's mostly boredom with brief moments of high excitement. I think wearing an NYPD uniform is one of the best things I ever decided on doing but then again, there are many more Dept.'s out there (Suffolk Co., Nassau Co.) that pay better.
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