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  1. #1
    hetric101 is offline Rookie
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    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!

  2. #2
    jmur5074's Avatar
    jmur5074 is offline Moderator
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    As far as your brief background is concerned, you're fine. I was never in the military, but I'd say your doing everything right and as far as I'm concerned you're better off that most applicants out there.

    Like I said I was never in the military, and I'm not in MA, or anywhere near the west coast, so I'm just going to skip those questions because someone more knowledgeable will come along and probably prove me wrong.


    As far as applying at several different departments, I see no reason why that would affect your chances. You need a job, along with half the country. You're going to apply where the jobs are, and employers know that.

    You're height/weight won't be an issue. I'm smaller than you are (height and weight actually) and it was never an issue for any of the jobs I applied for. I would imagine your "appearance in uniform" would have to do with HOW you wear your uniform (shirt tucked in correctly, polished boots, hair cut, etc, etc) not how the uniform looks on your body/frame.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

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    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
    ex401mp's Avatar
    ex401mp is offline Was betrachten Sie?
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    Start some college BEFORE you ETS. Don't let your credit get too jacked up and keep up what you're doing. Most agencies already know that you will probably apply with multiple departments, most everyone does. The bottom line is make sure that you answer all their questions truthfully and when you start the application process, let all your references know and make sure you have their current information. If; for some reason during your time you get slapped with an Art. 15, be honest about it, minor infractions wont get you DQ'd from the hiring process but bullshitting about it will. You can start the process while you are still on active duty, and expect it to take some time to geting the whole process completed.
    Be safe down range. 11B was my secondary when I was on active duty.
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  4. #4
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    I've observed one important thing that I believe needs to be told to prior military personnel. Even though you have received some relevant training the military is not law enforcement. Keep an open mind and realize that your military experience will assist you in many ways it just doesn't necessarily prepare you for this kind of work. You speak as if you have a very level head so I think you will pick up on what I am eluding to quickly. The same works in reverse. A veteran law enforcement officer is not necessarily prepared for a military career.
    It appears to me that you are most concerned about a smooth transition from a military job to a civilian job. I don't know where you hail from but keep in mind that with some departments the wheels turn slow. Hiring processes are not always turn in an app and go to work the next day. Some investigative processes take months some times. That does not mention the testing process. In my area there are departments that run to both ends of the scale. Apply today and work tomorrow or months down the road you have an interview. I think this would have a lot to do with where you are from.
    Some may disagree but in my area a prior job in security is not usually a bad thing. Perhaps picking up a temporary job in a related field can hold you over until you are hired with a department.

    Questions 1 and 2 would depend on the department you wish to apply for. Pick a department and contact someone in their employment section and ask. It certainly couldn't hurt and could speed up your process. Since you are receiving the run around with the one you are currently talking to move on to another.
    3. In my area it is not uncommon for a new officer to work for up to a year without academy training. Crazy I know but it is what it is. You would be under the supervision of a field training officer until such time as you enter an academy.
    4. If an agency is doing what they should they will look into your military background in depth. They will like to see the postitives but will be looking mostly for any negatives.
    5. I don't know much of anything concerning the MA area agency hiring proceedure so I am not qualified to answer.
    6. Considering your current profession you should feel free to apply in many places and as often as you like. If a prospective employer can't see that would be necessary for a person in your position I don't think I would want to work with them.
    7. When I finally broke into law enforcment I was 5'3" and a 100lbs flat. I am still only 5'3" but weigh in around 150. If I can do it anyone can. Don't sweat your size.

    I hope this helps in some way and again welcome to the site.
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

    We are who we choose to be.

    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


  5. #5
    hetric101 is offline Rookie
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    It does help Lewis, thank you for your quick response. If anyone else has insight to these questions I would love to hear it, the more opinions the better.

  6. #6
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    A couple of general notes on the hiring process...

    Military service with a good discharge does often help; it shows that you at least can subject yourself to discipline, can play by the rules, etc. The exact weight it's given will vary by department; some almost require it, others almost couldn't care less... Any sort of bad discharge or heavy discipline record will reflect poorly on you, and may well eliminate you. (Not a problem, from what you've said. Just putting it out there.)

    General rule: be honest about anything in your background. Lots of things that the selection staff can work with you on -- if they know from you and honestly -- become disqualifiers if you lie.

    The specific hiring process varies a little from department to department. Warning: the economy sucks! Lots of agencies right now are very limited in hiring. Get some college under your belt; combined with military service, it'll help. If you check, you may even be able to attend an academy on your own...

    It's normal to apply to several departments, but there aren't a lot of places that have state-wide lists. Generally, each department and agency will conduct their own process, and create their own list. And a lot of it becomes repetitive and redundant.

    As I recall, the military is providing a lot of transition counseling now; they may be able to help you with the timing and how much they can facilitate things like interviews and test dates. Expect several: a typical process includes a written test, one or more interviews, a polygraph, a physical ability test, a medical exam, a psych exam, and a background investigation. Most of this will be on separate days (some will try to put as many as possible together for candidates who are traveling)... The process generally takes several weeks to six months.

    Lew made a very important point: the military and LE have elements in common, but aren't the same, anymore than being a sailor is the same as being an infantryman, even though both serve the same nation and wear uniforms and are called "military." A rookie cop on day one of field training has a range of autonomy and authority that even most junior officers may not, for example. And the extent of the paramilitariness of departments is widely varying; some are very strict and heavily paramilitary, and in others, the paramilitary structure ends with "they wear uniforms and carry guns." (And you may well find the academy's attempt at "boot camp" to be a joke after the real thing!) That said -- Lots of great cops have been veterans; good luck in becoming one of them!
    Voting against incumbents until we get a Congress that does its job.

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  7. #7
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    I'm in Massachusetts. The system here works like this:

    1. You register for the Civil Service Examination, and indicate if you have "veteran's preference", established by your DD-214 or service record if still active. Veteran's preference will give you extra points on the examination and seriously helps your chances here... our system was put into place after one of the wars to help ensure that returning vets had a job to come back to.

    If you have lived in a city or town in MA for over one year as of the date you take the examination, you may indicate "residency claim", which puts you at the top of the list in that city or town... so if you are a veteran and a resident and you do decently well on the test, you would be in good shape to get hired.

    When you register, you indicate your top three preferences for cities or towns that you would like to work in. #1 would obviously be the city or town you are claiming residency in, if applicable.

    2. You and everyone else take the Civil Service Examination, which is given about once every two years, usually in April. This last time, it took almost a year for the results to come out, but that was an anomaly because there was a legal challenge to change the scoring system from "banding" (you get between 1 and 10, no incremental breakdown) to a "standard" scoring system (1-100), because the "banding" effectively supposedly made it able for towns to pick and choose the people they wanted within a score range.

    3. About 10-15 days after the scores are mailed out, the "list" is established. Basically what this does is it takes your score (including veteran's preference) and ranks it in the three cities/towns you picked against all other candidates who took the exam and indicated those cities/towns as their preference. Residents of a city are at the top of the list, ranked in a group, and then everyone else is ranked in another group afterwards.

    4. Cities and towns will decide how many they want to hire, and if you are in the top X number (where X = how many they want to hire), plus a few to account for folks who will fail PAT/Background, they will mail you a postcard with a date and time to appear for your physical and written tests. Typically, if you pass this, you will proceed to an interview/background evaluation process, and from there it's like getting any other job.

    Hope this helps, PM me with any questions.

  8. #8
    Jks9199 is offline The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    Neat; didn't know that Massachusetts only did one statewide civil service test.
    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.

  9. #9
    lewisipso's Avatar
    lewisipso is offline Injustice/Indifference/In God we trust
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jks9199 View Post
    -- Lots of great cops have been veterans; good luck in becoming one of them!
    Amen!
    Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me

    We are who we choose to be.

    R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012


 

 

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