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Posted: 12/12/2005 3:15:15 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/12/2005 3:21:46 PM EDT by Accord]
Assuming you're in perfect shape and are able to pass any and all requirements with flying colors, how tough is it for someone in their 40's to make a career change and become a Police Officer? I know some of the big city departments like the NYPD, LAPD, etc. have age cutoffs around 35 or 36 years old, but how tough is it to be hired as a new officer in a city or department that has no age restrictions when you're in your 40's?

For those wondering, no, I am not in my 40's or even in my 30's, hell i'm just barely in my 20's, but I intend to make a career out of the Marine Corps (I ship off this summer) and I intend to do 20 years and retire then hopefully pursue a second career as a police officer, only problem is i'll be in my mid-40's by the time I would be able to retire from the Corps.

I realize a lot can happen in 20 years and I may end up only doing 4 years and getting out to do something completely different, but i'd appreciate any input or experiences in regards to the scenario I presented above.

Thanks
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 3:20:12 PM EDT
I went through at 37. Not a big deal. Study hard and stay in shape. + side is that I can communicate with some been there done that background. - side is that I have to work harder to stay in good physical condition.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 4:04:38 PM EDT
I graduated from the police academy with 2 guys who were both 47 years old.Both are retired military.One was the class high graduate and also was awarded the class leadership award.

Semper Fi,
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 4:08:15 PM EDT
We run 2 academies per year. There's always at least 1 in their 40's in each.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 4:35:12 PM EDT
In my state, 35 is max upon graduation. You have to retire at 55 in the State Police. Seriously, do you want to do this in your sixties. There are always exceptions that a 40 year old can out do a "20 year old" physically but the reality of it is, as you get older you are less sharp, less physically fit (loss of lung capacity). Most cop work is 80 percent mediocre work, 18 percent elevated stress work, and 2% percent balls out why am I doing this crap. I've been in units, where old (over 40) cops shouldn't be there. You run, you think and you act quickly. Then you must recover and do it over again. My old unit we'd arrest more people in one night, than some police departments in my county would arrest in one year. A lot of those arrests involve chasing down young drug dealers/buyers.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 4:48:48 PM EDT
In my area a lot of retired military guys get hired and IMHO make superior officers.
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 5:17:48 PM EDT
52 was our oldest........

Retired Marine Officer........he did very well and was fairly smart, even for an attorney!
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 5:39:54 PM EDT
We have a lot of guys go through the academy in their 40's. We actually had a guy that was 52 apply for a job at my PD and almost got hired, but he didnt meet some requirments, but he was in GREAT shape.

So best advice is stay in shape
Link Posted: 12/12/2005 6:51:11 PM EDT
As an FTO at my agency, the hardest thing with older people (and I am generalizing here so please no one take offense) is that they are unable to multi-task as intensely or as efficiently as younger officer's seem to. Poorer vision and coordination along with the mental stressor of learning a new task while being evaluated during a time in their life where they might feel they should be the one teaching, can contribute to difficulty in completing an FTO program.

Now, officers are talking on the radio, trying to remember call locations, trying to remember agency policy in how to handle the call and then what they are actaully going to say when they begin talking to the reporting party. They may also be reading instant messages on the MDC, getting updated call info while en-route, and trying to put a perimeter together on a tac frequency with other responding units.

This is overwhelming for most folks, young or old, but like I said, IN GENERAL it appears that the younger a person is that I get, the easier it is for them to process all of this simultaneously. Under stress, "older" people have a much more difficult time staying mentally sharp and on task.

And of COURSE there are plenty of young 20's folks that make it through the process that are straight up retards and should never have been hired in the first place, BUT that's not up to me!

Physical is definitely important, but I believe mental acuity and multi-tasking are higher on the priority list if you want to be an asset and not a burden to your squad/agecy.

And honestly, having worked with many ex-military, (and each one of them a damn fine human being by the way) not a single one of them would deny that life in the military, even as an MP is nothing like being a street cop in a city agency.

My .02
Link Posted: 12/13/2005 6:32:53 PM EDT
Federal LEOs get a certain time "credit" for military service. It allows some to start their DOJ careers later than those that were never in the services. Sorry I can't be more specific. I started one day before (what was) the cutoff age of 35, and was never in the military. Good luck & Stay safe
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 5:06:00 AM EDT
I retired from the Army in '93...then got hired by my county's S.O. in '99, graduated the academy at 47...stay in shape and study hard...if its in your heart, then you're good to go...
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 10:34:45 AM EDT
It's not hard at all. We have a number of regular officers who retierd from the military. Our most recent one retired as a Major after 23 years in the Marine Corps (prior enlisted). He started with us as an auxiliary about 5 years ago (he had been a reserve officer in California and for another city in Virginia prior). He got transferred to CA for two years so he took a leave of absense from our dept. He came back to the area for his final duty station and beceme an active auxiliary officer again. He retired last year and went full-time. He has skills that would allow him to have a $100k+ salary job with the gov. or with defense/homeland security contractors but he just wants to be a street cop.

We also have a retired USMC E-8 who is a Sgt. now (about to become a Lt.) and a bunch of retired USMC E-6, E-7 and E-8's as well as a retired Army E-8 ...all work patrol.
We also have a retired fire Capt. who also started as an auxiliary, went full time, worked his way through patrol and narc's and is now a Lt.

I was 35 years old when I graduated but the oldest guy in my academy class was a 58 year old retired US Navy commander and former SEAL. We also had an active duty 40+ year old USMC Major (also former enlisted).



Originally Posted By Accord:
Assuming you're in perfect shape and are able to pass any and all requirements with flying colors, how tough is it for someone in their 40's to make a career change and become a Police Officer? I know some of the big city departments like the NYPD, LAPD, etc. have age cutoffs around 35 or 36 years old, but how tough is it to be hired as a new officer in a city or department that has no age restrictions when you're in your 40's?

For those wondering, no, I am not in my 40's or even in my 30's, hell i'm just barely in my 20's, but I intend to make a career out of the Marine Corps (I ship off this summer) and I intend to do 20 years and retire then hopefully pursue a second career as a police officer, only problem is i'll be in my mid-40's by the time I would be able to retire from the Corps.

I realize a lot can happen in 20 years and I may end up only doing 4 years and getting out to do something completely different, but i'd appreciate any input or experiences in regards to the scenario I presented above.

Thanks

Link Posted: 12/14/2005 3:50:41 PM EDT
I got hired full-time right after I turned 38.
Link Posted: 12/14/2005 5:52:35 PM EDT
Many folks have more problem with pension boards than they do the hiring authorities - many P.B.'s want you to retire by the time you're eleigible (age), so the 35 y.o. "max" age is generally applied.

Some p.b.'s allow you to "buy in" credit for time with another .gov or .mil agency... some don;t.

Good luck, and thanks for your (soon) service!
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 10:02:37 AM EDT
I went through the Academy with a 54 year old guy that working in public utilities before. He flew through the course and is still at one of the lagest agencies in the state and well like from what i hear. He did strike me as an exceptional guy though. We've had a couple 40+ applicants that crashed and burned, too. Out here the biggest adjustments will be mental, trying to change a lifetime of thought patterns that may or may not be LE compatible. Good luck either way.
Link Posted: 12/15/2005 10:23:12 AM EDT
Why not go in for a couple tours, then leave and remain in the reserve for the rest of your 20 years, and join a police department when you're younger, then? IIRC, you still get a pension after 20 years of mil service whether active or reserve, I just don't know if you get the same pension.

Then you can work on building up both pensions at the same time rather than doing one after the other. It'll let you retire much sooner.
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