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Posted: 2/16/2006 12:18:14 PM EDT
well, right now i'm a Pre-vet biology major, but i'm starting to realize that it may not be what i'm meant to do w/ my life. I have always been thinking about being an LEO here in NC, and just wanted to know what it's like. how do they treat ya? what are the perks? what are the downsides? thanks in advance!
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 12:22:54 PM EDT
i know i'm probably being a bit too general, but i don't really have any specific questions, just wanna hear some opinions about anything.
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 12:37:34 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2006 8:19:30 AM EDT by Eli822]
If I could do it over again I probably would not get into law enforcement in NC. It may have been the agency I worked for or the way things are tending to swing. To start off there really aren't many "perks" for NC LEOs that I am aware of. Once while at a gun store in VA I was asked if I was LE and when I said yes, they asked to see my ID card and gave me 10% off a holster I was buying. Some agencies have a take home care program depending are where you live and your assignement.

The agency I worked for had a strict firearms policey, only your issued weapon could be carried off duty, you were not allowed to qualify with any other firearms. With HR 218 you have the authority to carry concealed nationwide "within limits"; however, you still have department guidelines you have to follow.

Treatment wise once again every agency is different. We were not paid for holidays, we received holiday time (comp time). 30 minute meal break for uniformed officers was not always available.

Issues like the North Carolina Actual Innocence Commission are a big fight. Sequential vs. Simultaneous lineups, Interviews, etc.

Now let me say...it is an awesome experience. If you go to a large agency you might have the chance to receive more training then you can imagine. Not just annual in-service training, but specialized schools too. Nothing, so far to me, has been more exciting than arriving at the scene of an armed robbery in progress, a stand off, and then taking two into custody.

Not sure what part of the state you are in, try doing a ride along, with a large agency if you can. Also, local LE work is a great stepping stone to most Fed Agencies. I have alot of friends that went to Secret Service and DEA.

I hope this answers some of your questions...

Link Posted: 2/16/2006 7:09:12 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Dsking85:
how do they treat ya?

- Depends on who you are talking about. The department you work for typically treats you well, but will often dumb stuff down gear and equipment wise. The average citizen respects you and treats you well. The suspects you deal with... well; unless you are a total cock with them, they'll treat you with a degree of respect also. They know its all a game and have been playing longer than you.


what are the perks?
- Drive fast, carry decent weapons (sometimes), fight crime, get hit on by chicks, etc


what are the downsides?
- Hours often suck; some of the people that should be most grateful hate you the most, constant heckling by tards over on the CD portion of the site, etc
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 7:13:55 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/16/2006 7:14:51 PM EDT by Dsking85]
so what city do you guys work in? I'm thinking about going back to Raleigh when i graduate if that's what I decide to do. and if i wanted to, could i use my HK as my weapon? i guess that would depend on the department.
Link Posted: 2/16/2006 7:19:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/19/2006 10:20:25 AM EDT by NCPatrolAR]


Most of the medium and large agencies around here give you a particular weapon to carry and dont deviate from that. If the agency permits you to use a backup gun; then you will generally have some leway in what you can use.

I know the city of Gastonia uses some kind of HK unless things have changed recently
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 6:05:58 AM EDT
My choice of a back up weapon would be a hand granade.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 7:31:07 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/18/2006 4:34:07 AM EDT by u352]
I worked in Durham for almost 11 years and it was actually a good job. I left for the private sector (more money) but stayed on the inactive reserves with Durham.

A lot of people think Durham is and ungood place that they wouldn't be caught dead in...but if you want to be the police, there's no better place. If you want to get experience with shootings, drugs, gang activity, and all of the other "fun" stuff crime has to offer, give Durham a look. The dept. is big enough that you can move around to Investigations, traffic (including motors), under-cover drug work, Gang Unit, Transit, etc, and you don't have to spend your whole career on uniform patrol unless you just want to.

The starting salary, benefits and raises are fairly attractive and in line with the other large depts in the state. (I started at $24K in '95 and left in late '05 making alomost $50K- not bad for local police depts.)
You get an hour each day for meals, and 1.5 hours to work out (providing call volume permits), comp time, holidays, sick, and vacation. Also, the schedule is such that you get 7 days straight off every month (a modified Dupont Schedule).

The down side is to get the 7 day break every month, you work rotating 12 hour shifts. You work 6-6 days or nights. Start on a monday...4 nights on, 3 days off, 3 days on, 1 day off, 3 nights on, 3 days off, 4 days on, & 7 days off. You don't always get your 1 hour meal and 1.5 hours PT break every day. In fact, rarely do you get both. You typically answer around 25-30 calls per shift, day or night.....don't know if you've heard or not, but Durham has a fair amount of crime and you tend to keep busy. (But you do get plenty of comp time.)

Also, it's a thankless job... people hate you. Get used to that and you'll be OK. Whether they hate you because you wrote them a ticket, their house got broken into and "Where were you, having coffee & donuts?", you took their drugs, found them at fault in a crash, their son got shot in a drive by over drugs and you were elsewhere....people are going to hate you simply because you wear the unifrom and what you represent. Like NCPatrolAR said, just peruse General Discussion and look at the masses who call us Jack Boot Thugs that are good for nothing other than shooting the occasional dog, infringing on their rights, and taking the last chocolate sprinkle at Krispy Kreme.

If you are serious about it, go do a couple of ride alongs with different agencies, and go at different times of the day. Wednesday mornings are vastly different than Friday nights, and you want to get a feel for both.

All in all, it's a great job. Again, where else do you get to legally drive 125 mph and carry a gun every where you go (and sometimes get to use that gun)? It's not all a bowl of cherries, but it is fun at times and rewarding. Let us know how it goes.

There's another Durham cop that hangs out here, maybe he'll give us his opinions.....Chris?
Edit-Language-u352
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 8:06:21 AM EDT
thanks for all the information! if i did do this, i would at some point want to go into narcotics.
Link Posted: 2/18/2006 8:19:10 PM EDT
I live in Durham. Do you know a Tony Harris. He's a Durham cop I know.
Link Posted: 2/20/2006 8:02:10 PM EDT
Well, now Motor05 called me out, here goes.

It's a great career. It's one that you have to love in order to do it- no two year commitment or such. Once you are in, prepare for the long haul. Sometimes better opportunities come up, though.

I do advise that you ride along a couple times and get a feel for the job. There is no better sales pitch for it- a couple ride alongs should give you an idea if this is for you.

How are we treated? Alot depends on the person. Most folks treat us well, just like any other vocation, there are those who can't be satisfied no matter what. Grin and bear it. The big thing to remember is the golden rule- treat others as you would be treated. But on that note, be firm but fair. It goes along ways with some folks. Take nothing personal- the uniform and presence often require one to be nagged at, complained to or on, you name it.

The perks- depends on the city. Durham has generally treated its officers well. Mind you any agency has the same gripes as any other- pay, retirement, blah blah blah. Alot is what you make of your career. The good positions come open every couple years. But to get them you have to earn them- nothing is guaranteed. We have a little bit of everything, so experience is not lacking. Just check out the news about D town and see for yourself. You stated that you wanted to work narcotics. Not a problem- most of our work is related to that. Get out, be proactive and aggressive. It's about the only way to learn.

I can't really add more to what Motor05 has already stated. Besides we have a great firearms program.

The downsides- again, is the glass half full or emtpy? Hours get long, Bojangles tastes good only so many times. If you are in a position with pager standby, it gets even better. A lifestyle change may be in order- off duty conduct is just as important as on duty conduct. Three things get police into trouble- the three B's- booze, broads and bills. Need to keep your house in order. Some friends may drift away- such is life. It happens, and if they are true friends, the career should not matter. Worse yet, a significant other who cannot understand the career is just as bad. Need to keep communication very open. They give just as much as we do, sometimes more. Family comes first, then the job. Sometimes easy to say but not do depending on the assignment, but keep that in mind.

If I had to start over tomorrow, I'd still do it. After about 9 years I still can't answer the question of why do you want to do it? Sean Connery would call me out in a heartbeat.

I'm starting to babble- long day.
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