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  1. #1
    Armalite is offline Rookie
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    I know, same old question......

    I was wondering if you could help me out? I've always had a passion for law enforcement, and i've always wanted to pursue a career as a police officer. I was wanting to know if you could answer a few generalized questions for me?

    I graduated high school just shy of the top 10%. I had 194 graduation classmates. Had three years of college at our local junior college, one of those years before i ever graduated high school. I graduated with an associates of science. I went to SFA for one semester, and gave it up. I have about 85 total college hours. I started my own business and ran it my last year of college, at the age of 21. I couldnt do both, so i gave up school, and then my business failed. Learned some very important lessons though. I went to work in the oilfield after that, at the very bottom, making $8 an hour. In four years, i worked my way to the very top. I now make comfortably over $100k a year, and manage multi-million dollar projects, as well as about 60 personell. I have been with this company for over 5 years, and im still with them. Im 26 now. I'd be throwing away alot, money wise, by going in to law enforcement. Its more of a personal matter than money. More of a feeling of accomplishment. I want to make a difference. I want to save lives. I want my two girls to know that im out there making this world a safer place for them.

    With that bit of background, what would my chances be of making it in law enforcement? I live in a town of about 8k people. I believe there are about 40 persons in our department. I want to get in, get going, and become the best i can. I want to be a member of s.w.a.t., and anything else i can accomplish.

    I own many firearms, and have a very clean background.

    Would i have a shot or no?

    Thanks in advance for all the help.

  2. #2
    jmur5074's Avatar
    jmur5074 is offline Moderator
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    I see no reason why you couldn't get into law enforcement.

    Talk with local departments to see if they have a reserve program, or what you need to do to get certified/licensed. See if they have ride along programs so you can get an idea of what you're getting into, and to confirm you really want to give up that 100k job.

    Every state is different, and I have no idea what Texas requires. In MN you'd still have to go to college to be a cop. Maybe some of the TX officers here can give you more advice.

    Good luck!!
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

    "The Wicked Flee When No Man Pursueth: But The Righteous Are Bold As A Lion".

    We lucky few, we band of brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

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    The opinions, beliefs, and ideas expressed in this post are mine, and mine alone. They are NOT the opinions, beliefs, ideas, or policies of my Agency, Police Chief, City Council, or any member of my department.

  3. #3
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    Hannibal is offline Zombie Killin' Sheepdog
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    Sounds like you have given it some thought. If that's what you want to do, go for it. I think you have a shot, assuming the dept you are looking at is hiring.

    Apply for the job and start saving some dough while you are making some decent $. If you get hired, it sounds like you will have to make some lifestyle adjustments which could be tough on you and your family.

    Other than that, make sure you are in top physical condition and ready for an academy.

    Good luck!

    "Stupid should hurt."

  4. #4
    Captain America's Avatar
    Captain America is offline Reed and Malloy were my FTOs
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    You have as good a chance as anyone else does getting into law enforcement. It's always good to have people with different backgrounds at an agency. It makes the agency better. You have education which is a plus. Doesn't sound like your allergic to hard work. Remember this , especially at the beginning of a law enforcement career. You'll be ask to work long hours at pay levels lower than most professions. You'll have to work holidays and shift work. You will be asked to at times risk your ass for a public most of the time that looks at you with skeptism, distrust and sometimes pure hatred. You will be asked to look at horrors best left unseen by sane persons and be required to restore sanity and bring order to chaos. You will be required to deal with people who think their above the law. You will be required to look evil in the eye and be just as ruthless in your pursuit of justice. If you want to be viewed as a hero become a fireman. If you want to be a hero become a cop.
    SI VIS PACEM PARA BELLUM

    "It's a great life. You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If your honest , your poor your whole life. And , In the end , you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star."
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  5. #5
    Armalite is offline Rookie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain America View Post
    You have as good a chance as anyone else does getting into law enforcement. It's always good to have people with different backgrounds at an agency. It makes the agency better. You have education which is a plus. Doesn't sound like your allergic to hard work. Remember this , especially at the beginning of a law enforcement career. You'll be ask to work long hours at pay levels lower than most professions. You'll have to work holidays and shift work. You will be asked to at times risk your ass for a public most of the time that looks at you with skeptism, distrust and sometimes pure hatred. You will be asked to look at horrors best left unseen by sane persons and be required to restore sanity and bring order to chaos. You will be required to deal with people who think their above the law. You will be required to look evil in the eye and be just as ruthless in your pursuit of justice. If you want to be viewed as a hero become a fireman. If you want to be a hero become a cop.

    Well put.

  6. #6
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    countybear is offline BDRT - Baby Daddy Removal Team
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    All I can say is, do it. Use the skills that you've gained in dealing with people to go have a frank discussion with the administrator(s) at your local municipal department or Sheriff's office.

    Speaking as someone who dropped out of college to pursue the career, did eight years in before leaving the job for the private sector, worked up through the ranks there, then took a substantial paycut to come back eight years later, I can tell you that this low-paying, thankless, and often terribly stressful life as a law enforcement officer carries rewards that honestly aren't measured by thanks, glory, or monetary compensation.

    If you wake up everyday hating the thought of going to work, knowing that the best you can do is make someone else rich, while the worst you can do is cost them a few bucks without 'return'; if you roll your eyes at the 'tragedies' some drama-ridden office boy experienced when he got dumped by the prom queen; if you really think that there's still good somewhere that's worth saving and still bad somewhere that's worth getting involved in stopping, then its worth at least taking a few ride alongs to see if law enforcement is more to you than a passing fancy.

    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."
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  7. #7
    Armalite is offline Rookie
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    Lol, just cause i make well over $100k, doesnt mean i live like it! I live in a double-wide trailer, with a few toys. I put most of it up in savings. But that's cause the wife makes me! Thank god for her.

    The work hours i should be accustom too. I leave at 6 every morning, get home btween 5 and 8 every evening, and im usually up till 9-10 with paperwork and phone calls. On a normal day, ill go through 300 phone calls. 500 on a busy day. I get to spend maybe an hour with my two girls before they have to go to bed, and that's cause i shut down the work to make the time. Im lucky to get 6 days a month off. If im lucky. Time flys, and i dont want to look up in 20 years, and my life has flown by, and my girls are grown, and i never saw it happen. One hour a night just wont cut it.

    I deal with plenty of stress, even though its not life or death. Just friday, had one of my crew guys steal a chain sling off a rig. This caused a $10k a day rig to have to shut down for a day and a half, because of it. Wednesday, had a $50k bore break in half under a river, on a bid job. That's lots of money at stake, that could be gone if you make a bad judgement call. Stress is my best friend. I believe its what keeps me going!

    Dont get me wrong here, im not comparin my job with everyone here. I have the upmost respect to anyone willing to put their life on the line everyday for me. My hats off to everyone of you. Thank you.

  8. #8
    Armalite is offline Rookie
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    I know some of you might think... "heck guy, you make plenty of money, and see your kids every day, and you know that every day you go to work, you're not going to have someone shooting at you." Why risk that to spend more time with your kids?

    My answer to that is...... We all will die. I could have a wreck tomorow. And my wife and kids will say well, he was a hard worker. Never got to see him, and he made his boss millions of dollars...... Now what kind of legacy is that to leave behind? Aint worth a shit to me.

    If i was killed in the line of duty, at least my kids could stand proud, knowing that i was protecting the innocent from the guilty. I put my life on the line, everyday, for people just like my own, so they can not walk in fear. I want my kids and wife to know that its still a safe world to live in. Their is still good out there, and they dont have to be afraid. They can be proud and brag that their father believed in what was good, and gave his life to uphold it. Now thats a legacy, and one to be proud of.

  9. #9
    BigDawg's Avatar
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    You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders, and you understand some of the job.

    I agree with the others here, go to your local Departments and ask them about jobs and going on some ride along's. After 1 ride along I knew this is what I wanted to do, there was no question in my mind.

    Also make sure your family understands what it means to enter this career, and be sure they support you 110%. If they don't it wont work, you will either quit or end up divorced.

    Finally when you have done all of this, set the plan in motion of your sure this is what you want to do. It is the most rewarding and fulfilling job, while its the most thankless at the same time. Again though I wouldn't trade it for anything else, as most others here wouldn't.
    "An Unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it." Jeff Cooper


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  10. #10
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Regarding stress...

    It's a different type of stress. And it comes at you from lots of directions. The physical effects of shift work. The crap from the administration. The bullshit from the public.

    Then there's the folks who take an active dislike to you. And express it. By striving to make sure you don't go home...

    You seem to have thought this through, over all. Let me offer two suggestions. First -- you might look into an auxiliary program. That can give you a taste of law enforcement, without giving up your current job. Second, check out the salaries for entry level cops in your area. While you're making the big bucks -- give yourself an imaginary pay cut, and live on that. And not the gross -- figure out a reasonable approximation of the net. Do that while you try to get hired & bank the leftovers. That way -- you've got that money to fall back on when you get hired. Or you'll know you can't do it.
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

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  11. #11
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Quote Originally Posted by countybear View Post
    All I can say is, do it. Use the skills that you've gained in dealing with people to go have a frank discussion with the administrator(s) at your local municipal department or Sheriff's office.

    Speaking as someone who dropped out of college to pursue the career, did eight years in before leaving the job for the private sector, worked up through the ranks there, then took a substantial paycut to come back eight years later, I can tell you that this low-paying, thankless, and often terribly stressful life as a law enforcement officer carries rewards that honestly aren't measured by thanks, glory, or monetary compensation.

    If you wake up everyday hating the thought of going to work, knowing that the best you can do is make someone else rich, while the worst you can do is cost them a few bucks without 'return'; if you roll your eyes at the 'tragedies' some drama-ridden office boy experienced when he got dumped by the prom queen; if you really think that there's still good somewhere that's worth saving and still bad somewhere that's worth getting involved in stopping, then its worth at least taking a few ride alongs to see if law enforcement is more to you than a passing fancy.
    Quoted for truth.

    I left the private sector to become a cop, taking a sizable pay cut. It took me two years to get close to where I was -- and that was only because of pay scale adjustments.

    But I wouldn't trade it for anything. There's no better job out there. It's a ringside seat to the greatest show on earth -- and they pay you for it! And there are rewards that can't be measured financially, like the look on a parent's face when you return a lost kid...

    At the same time -- you rarely see the best in people's lives. You'll be there for the worst moments, instead... Whether it's a SIDS death, or the fifth domestic between this couple this week... People don't call cops to show them the kid's straight As.
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

    TASER: almost as good as alcohol for teaching white boys to dance

    "Don't suffer from PTSD -- Go out and cause it!"
    -- Col. David Grossman, US Army, ret.

    All opinions expressed are my own and are not official statements of my employer.

  12. #12
    LawnMM is offline Oppressor of Crackheads
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armalite View Post
    Its more of a personal matter than money. More of a feeling of accomplishment. I want to make a difference. I want to save lives. I want my two girls to know that im out there making this world a safer place for them.
    You seem like a smart person with a good head on your shoulders. My only concern is a little of what you said about why you're considering it. You family will always be proud of you regardless of your profession because you are a good person. What your profession or lot in life yields for you is not going to affect whether or not they are proud of you unless you decide to drop your current job and become a pimp selling drugs to kids on the side.

    As far as making a difference, you will make a difference here and there but it will be very much the 'Christmas Carol' effect in that you won't be aware of most of them. You might save lives but the whole "blast the bad guy chasing the poor girl with a knife" scenarios are very rare. More likely you'll get to a suicide attempt in time to get them to the hospital on a mental health hold where they would have gone through with it next time but you'll never know that.

    Here's my concern and I learned this myself and I watch a lot of newer guys go through it as well. If you really want to be successful in law enforcement you have to become comfortable with the idea of getting your job satisfaction from within. You have to enjoy it yourself and you have to be happy with the job you do because thats how you want to do it. Its rare that good cops get the recognition they deserve from external sources. You'll handle 10 really dangerous incidents worthy of some sort of medal or commendation a year and you're not likely to get much more than a 'nice job' at roll call. If you go into this career expecting that if you work hard and bust your ass you will be acknowledged and commended you're setting yourself up for some disappointment.

    Law enforcement is like every other job in the world in that the people that work the hardest are the most underpaid and under appreciated. You have to realize that. This is the source of greatest frustration and at the same time the greatest triumph for people in the field. While its no different than other jobs in the respect that you won't be appreciated anymore than any other job...this is why law enforcement is viewed as a 'calling.' Anybody thats been in it long enough to realize the pitfalls and the truths inherent of the job that chooses to stick around anyway is doing it for their own reasons. Their source of satisfaction is internal and they do a good job because they want to do a good job, not because they expect any appreciation or acknowledgement for it.

    If you think you can wrap your head around that you are a step ahead of the rest if you start applying. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  13. #13
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Great post, LawnMM, especially the part about making a difference. I'd have repped you, but you're still in my stack.

    It's not often that you'll go home at the end of the day, and say "Wow, TODAY, I made a difference."

    You won't know that the kid you stopped for DUI was 20 seconds from crossing into oncoming traffic and killing a couple of people. You won't know that the dope you seized was destined to be cut with rat poison and kill a bunch of people. You won't know about the guy who was about to break into a house, and didn't because you drove by and looked at him.

    But you will know about the car that drove through your favorite "fishing hole" 2 minutes after you left, and ran a red light into another car. Or the "regular" domestic frequent flyer who finally does serious harm...
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

    TASER: almost as good as alcohol for teaching white boys to dance

    "Don't suffer from PTSD -- Go out and cause it!"
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  14. #14
    CTR man's Avatar
    CTR man is offline Officer First Class
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    Yes, I know this is Ask a Cop, but I hope that I can add something to the post below without being chastised for posting where I shouldn't and normally wouldn't.

    If I am out of line, please say so and I will remove the post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jks9199 View Post
    It's not often that you'll go home at the end of the day, and say "Wow, TODAY, I made a difference."

    You won't know that the kid you stopped for DUI was 20 seconds from crossing into oncoming traffic and killing a couple of people. You won't know that the dope you seized was destined to be cut with rat poison and kill a bunch of people. You won't know about the guy who was about to break into a house, and didn't because you drove by and looked at him.

    But you will know about the car that drove through your favorite "fishing hole" 2 minutes after you left, and ran a red light into another car. Or the "regular" domestic frequent flyer who finally does serious harm...
    You might not even know that the child, teenager, adolescent that you interacted with on your off time, that knows your profession, may just choose to follow your example and live on the straight and narrow. He / She just might follow you into the LE profession. All because of that higher standard that those in LE live by. All because of the example that you set for them. You showed them that it was possible. They may even think of you as a mentor.

    Good Luck in your endeavors.


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  15. #15
    Armalite is offline Rookie
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    Thanks for the info. Great advice.

  16. #16
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    TXPO710 is offline Dumb ole' Cowboy
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    I'd recommend starting out as a reserve, if that's an option where your at. I'm in Texas. Find one of the colledges that has an acadamy and go through it. Most departments hire one of their reserves over a newbee. You'll also get a chance to see if it's what you really want to do, you can quite if it's not for you or quite your job when/if a slot opens with the PD.

 

 

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