This is a long one, but it's important to me...
I am working twoards a law enforcement degree and if all goes well (which it is, with a 4.0 thank you very much ), I will be officially hireable as a Law Enforcement Officer in Minnesota early next year. I have also been an Explorer and (now) a Reserve with a local dept. for the past half decade or thereabouts, so I have some fairly good related experience to put on a resume. Toying with the idea of joining the military while I still can, it occured to me that I happen to live relatively close to one of the only Marine Corps Reserves MP stations in the country.
My question to you is, would it be possible to graduate/get liscenced, go directly to boot camp/MOS training/etc., and come back and be able to find a real cop job at a dept. before getting deployed? Would a department even want to hire a green USMC Reserve, knowing that he might be taken away from the department for a year or so in the near future? Would a hiring dept. be inclined to think that the half year or so spent in training would cause me to forget most of what I just learned in school? Or would the extra military experience help me, regardless of the MOS (I realize that one does not need to have MP as an MOS for it to help becoming an LEO)? Half of me feels I sorta "missed the boat" by not joining some branch of service out of HS and doing so now will only hurt my future, another part of me says there's still time and it will help me.
I'm also trying to decide where I'd fit in another two years of college.
To clear things up, this is the sequential order of what I'm thinking of doing:
1.) Finish Law Enforcement degree (two years), perhaps go directly to another two years of school before step number 2
2.) Join USMC Reserves as an MP
3.) Find a job as a cop in the area (or go to school for two more years if not done in #1)
4.) Get deployed (or if going to school in #3, assume deployment during those two years sometime), if ever - OBVIOUSLY I have little/no choice in this, which is how it should be
In summary, I'm asking:
- Is it possible to sort of "quick" join the Reserves between ending school/beginning a career (or during school)?
- Would it help/hinder my pursuit of a LE career?
Thank you all very much, I know that was a long/somewhat confusing post, but this is a big decision that could affect the course of my life.....which is why I ask Arfcom I tried talking to a college career guidance counsellor, but she basically just said "I don't know"/"you don't want to join the military, do you?"...
I wanted to be a police officer too, so back when I was just about finished with college, I called the State Police Recruiter in Connecticut (where I went to college), I asked him what I needed to do to increase my chances of being selected as a police academy recruit. He told me that more than half the CT state troopers were former Marines or were in the USMCR. I went down to the Marine recruiter, and he sold me on it, i.e. I became an 0311 / 8152. So, yes I'd join the Corps, but then I did so after I'd completed 7/8 of college, had a full scholership, had earned a 3.7 GPA, and abandoned it all when a MOS slot opened up. I loved the idea of the USMC and my 0311 sabattical more than finishing up my degree, probably not the ideal decision. I tell you this because logical decision making and the USMC are not always compatable. Do you think you might get deployed to an exotic sand filled wonderland?..., YUP! Will you be better for it, absolutely, but you may earn a bum foot or worse. Many of my buddies from the Corps have service connected disabilities.
I came back 3 years later, a lot more hard core, more disciplined, and very deadly with lots of training in CQB and MOUT, but I had also earned some fused bones in my foot. After my discharge I finished up my degree. I now look back on that time, training, and discipline as a set of unique and valuable experiences which I can draw on for the rest of my life.
My life was positively changed by the Marine Corps, and I have no doubt that I would do it again. But there are risks in life, especially in the USMC life. I am not a police officer today, my foot used to sickeningly pop when I walked and it tended to swell and hurt a lot. A few years after leaving the Marine Corps, my foot had healed enough that I could probably PT'd harder and better than most people- mostly because I ignored the pain, but I could never do the infantry or MCSFCo thing over again. After 9/11 I thought about trying, so I began to work out hard again, but my foot poped, swoll-up, and banished the thought of my doing any sustained high-speed stuff now. I often work with police, and sometimes I miss the excitement they still enjoy. I have worked as a teacher and a school administrator now, but being a Marine has always sets me apart. Peole are in awe of the Marines, and for good reason.
If you believe the Corps is right for you, then do it.
If there is a possibility you will be deployed in 6 months or so, and Department probably will have a hard time hiring you. With your grades and if you got military, do your tour as an MP, then come back and get hired on LEO. It would be not problem to get hired.
How old are you??
Join the USMC for 4 years and pay into the GI bill. Get stationed in Cali and complete college while in the military. When you are about to get discharged there are several departments that WILL hire you if your background and finances are clean. You can double or triple dip during the 6 month academy. My wife took terminal leave for the academy. So she got her E-5 pay from the military, her academy recruit pay, plus her GI bill benifits all at the same time. Cha ching!
IMO, the military is definitly a plus.
Under USERRA, and possibly Soldier/Sailor Relief Act, an employer may NOT discriminate against you during hiring or any other time on the basis of your reserve component status. (if you think they might be doing so, contact the Veterans Administration, VFW, American Legion, or other veteran's rights groups and see about legal assistance)
Do not let that fear stop you! If you want to serve in the military (many have found it rewarding, including myself), go for it! You almost certainly will gain something good from the experience. And it can make a big difference on applications.
While I understand the Army and the USMC have some differences, I completed all my mandatory training (basic training, MOS school, etc) while a full time student, and I earned my bachelor's degree without much problem. My school WAS willing to work with me, and that could be a huge factor, as I would miss a week here or there, etc. They also were willing to grant credit for courses taken elsewhere, which they had previously denied, when I told them of my impending deployment. This waiver of standard procedure allowed me to graduate before I deployed, and didn't leave me with 7 semester hours hanging over my head for when I got back. As I said, my school was VERY supportive.
Also, as I know that USMC boot camp is longer than that of the Army, see if the USMCR has some sort of split-option program, which will allow you to attend the MOS school the following summer after your boot camp. If the USMCR participates in the Selected Reserve Montgomery GI Bill, you could be making some very helpful cash while going to school. I didn't join for the college money, but I won't say I turned it down!
Whatever you do, do it the best you can, and good luck!