Military to LE transition/Assistance in hiring
The reason for this post is so I can gauge where I will be at when I am discharged from the military, hopefully get some experienced opinions about my likelihood of getting hired. I don't want to take any chances when I get out and I want to be as prepared as I possibly can.
To start I'll provide a brief background, a mock resume if you may. I'm currently 19 years old, enlisted in the military when I was 17, currently serving a 1 year deployment in Iraq. I ETS in late 2011. I'm in the Infantry and we're attached to an MP Battalion out of MA doing detainee operations as well as combat patrols. We have been acting as correctional officers for detainee's so we have training that I can only assume will help in LE. We have extensive MP training and are certified in all types of non-lethal I can think of and have undergone the OC course (18% really fucking sucks, what does the police use?). I've kept my background as clean as possible knowing from when I was maybe 5 years old that I wanted to be a cop if I disliked the military. I've never experimented with drugs and never been drunk. I have drank alcohol on only a couple occasions, 1 being my wedding night and 1 being the week prior to deployment. I have no arrests, 1 parking ticket, 1 accident that wasn't my fault (flying tires aren't fun) and one "No turn between 7am-7pm" violation heh. That's the extent of my criminal history. I'm a high school graduate with no college experience however when I get out I plan on getting a 4 year college degree in Criminal Justice Security and Emergency Management. I am 6 feet tall weighing in at 175. I can run 5 miles in under 35 minutes and am in decent shape. LE is something I've always admired and wanted to peruse. I enjoy the discipline and thoroughly respect the law.
If anyone has any questions regarding what I said please ask or anything I didn't include that would be vital in my hiring process. I'm pretty paranoid about being a cop in the fashion that I don't want to screw it up. I want to be well prepared so I have assembled a list of questions that have been on my mind.
As a disclaimer I read as many posts as I could that pertained to my questions as well as the sticky topics and have done a fair amount of research. I apologize if I repeat any questions.
1. I'm nervous about the transition from military to the civilian sector, how far out from my ETS date should I begin applying to departments?
2. Are there departments willing to hire me while I'm in the military and hold off employment until my ETS date?
3. I have a wife to support and was wondering how soon (if hired) I could get an academy date from my time of ETS. I can't afford a long lapse between jobs and I want to make a smooth transition.
4. How in depth do they look into your military service? (IE do they weigh what medals you received, any UCMJ action, your MOS, rank, deployments, ext.?)
5. Does anyone know any specific details about the way MA hires? I've been in contact with the Human Resource Division but they just keep giving me the run around and sending me pre-written answers.
A. Does the eligibility list they put you on upon completion of the civil service exam work for the whole state (IE. Do all MA departments pick off the same eligibility list)?
B. Do state police chose from that list or is it a whole different ballgame?
C. I hear nothing but bad things about MA Police. Not the people that work there but the whole system, anyone have any advice? VA police vs MA police? I know that's vague but I want some opinions on the general scope.
C. Overall can someone explain how this list works (Once again Human Resource Division is no help on this matter)?
6. Is it frowned upon by departments if they see I have applied to several different ones? I'm not going to move then apply and realize non of the departments are hiring, I want to apply to several different ones in different states/areas, where I get a job will depend where I live.
7. As I said I'm fairly thin, 6 feet 175 lbs, will that affect me at all (I read a post saying it wouldn't but I want to make sure)? I've researched some departments and they gauge you on "Appearance in uniform" which is why I'm hesitant. I work out regularly and am in good shape but have trouble putting on weight.
The biggest thing I'm worried about is the questions regarding my transition to the civilian sector. I don't want to be unemployed for an extended period of time so I want to secure a spot prior to getting out of the military and hopefully an academy date ASAP. If anyone has gone through a similar situation or has any insight I would appreciate it, thanks!