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  1. #1
    PapaJohn is offline Applying...
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    Applying for police work...

    Hey all. I just have a few questions about applying for police work. I am graduating this May with a degree in Philosophy. I know everyone said don't get a CJ degree, so I didn't =P. I am working for a non-sworn security department for a college currently. We aren't armed (just OC Spray and expandable batons), but our radios are directly attached to the local police department. Anyway, on to my questions...

    1) Sheriff's Department, Police, or State Patrol?

    2) Once I graduate, I'll probably go back to southeast Wisconsin to look for police work. Problem is, of the 20 departments I called, only one is taking applications. How long should I expect this whole process to take from beginning a search to eventual hire?

    3) In the mean time, what do I do to pay the bills? I heard one guy say that I should try to become a dispatcher or keep working security as that will look good on my application. Any suggestions?

    4) Another guy recommended paying my own way through Academy. I'm definitely strapped for cash being a college student/soon to be graduated with student loans to pay off. Is it really that great of an idea to pay your way through Academy? Or should I cross my fingers and hope that a department will finally pick me up and pay for the Academy?

    5) Another suggestion was to enlist as a reservist or a national guard member and apply to be an MP. That way they train me and I have experience. Is this a good idea? Or do departments frown on hiring a guy trained by the military and has to leave one weekend a month, two weeks a year for his military duty requirement?


    I'm sure I'll have more questions as I go through the process, but any and all wisdom on these will be greatly appreciated. Also, if any of you know of departments that are hiring, let me know. Southeast Wisconsin is looking dead, and I'm beginng to think about expanding the search area...

  2. #2
    jmur5074's Avatar
    jmur5074 is offline Moderator
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    [QUOTE=PapaJohn]
    1) Sheriff's Department, Police, or State Patrol?

    All depends on what you want. SP you'll do almost entirely traffic and accidents. SO you'll be rural, more places to go than a municipal PD, and have the responsibility of doing civil process. And, for a PD, yourcall volume will likely be higher, less traffic, more calls. At least thats what it's like here.
    2) How long should I expect this whole process to take from beginning a search to eventual hire?

    It took me 3 months to get a job. I know a guy who's been waiting 3 years. Just apply everywhere.

    3) In the mean time, what do I do to pay the bills? I heard one guy say that I should try to become a dispatcher or keep working security as that will look good on my application. Any suggestions?

    Try and get a job as a dispatcher, or correctional officer in the area you want to work. Get to know the people you could one day work with, show the admin your work ethics, etc.

    4) Another guy recommended paying my own way through Academy. I'm definitely strapped for cash being a college student/soon to be graduated with student loans to pay off. Is it really that great of an idea to pay your way through Academy? Or should I cross my fingers and hope that a department will finally pick me up and pay for the Academy?

    No idea, in MN dept's don't send you to an "academy". You have to go to school first, then find a job.

    5) Another suggestion was to enlist as a reservist or a national guard member and apply to be an MP. That way they train me and I have experience. Is this a good idea? Or do departments frown on hiring a guy trained by the military and has to leave one weekend a month, two weeks a year for his military duty requirement?

    I've never seen that "frowned upon". Many departments like officers with military experience.

    QUOTE]

    Good luck with everything, I hope this helps. Welcome to LEF!
    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
    seltzer's Avatar
    seltzer is offline Member
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    Papa, the whole testing process for me took about 7 weeks total. I am now on the eligibility list. Preparing for the test took a great deal longer!

    Only you can make the decision on which department you want to work..ie:Trooper, Sheriff, Cityetc..

    I would suggest getting a job, albeit crap pay, with the city you wish to work. Even if you are dispatching, cleaning toilets, whatever...there is no better way to prove yourself to the department than seeing them everyday. It also proves you are commited.


    Just out of curiosity, what college in Chicago area has a radio system connected to the PD??? Not doubting you, honestly curious.
    The world is a mighty clear place once the wool is removed from ones eyes

  4. #4
    PapaJohn is offline Applying...
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    Well, I don't want to post personal info on here, especially with such wonderful guests as ihatecops and copssuck. I'll send you a PM

  5. #5
    seltzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PapaJohn
    Well, I don't want to post personal info on here, especially with such wonderful guests as ihatecops and copssuck. I'll send you a PM
    You don't have to if you don't want, I am just wondering.

    For the record, I am sure the 2 members you spoke of above were either banned or skinned. Worry not.
    The world is a mighty clear place once the wool is removed from ones eyes

  6. #6
    PapaJohn is offline Applying...
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    Another question...

    Any tips for preparing for the application process? I know I should tell the truth obviously, but what are they looking for in terms of pysch tests, written exams, etc., etc?

    Physical training is a bit difficult, seeing as how so many departments have so many different requirements (i.e. IL departments require a timed run, situps, sit-n-reach, and a bench press, while some departments in WI require an obstacle course, and other job related dutites like a timed run from your squad to a vehicle, then drag a 165-lb dummy from the vehicle 10 yards, and cuff him.) Any tips on physical training?

    Also, any more info on the previous questions would be appreciated.
    Last edited by PapaJohn; 01-02-06 at 02:34 AM.

  7. #7
    chris2001's Avatar
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    The tests are nothing you can really prep for they are basically common knowledge problems. Such as math and english. They are testing to make sure you can solve problems on the go and in a time frame. Because out on the road you do not have a lot of time to think you just act.

    Start running now and do as many sit-up, push-up etc... as you can until test date. Increase your pace and the amount as you go. As far as the dummy drag goes, just remember once you start do not stop. If you stop your are SOL. As far as cuffing there do not worry about that just get them on. If your hired they will send you to the academy and you will learn how to cuff somone. Even then sometimes you just get them on and worry about the looks and feel a lot later.
    Being the best is not what always counts. What counts is always trying your best.

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  8. #8
    Southwest47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PapaJohn
    Hey all. I just have a few questions about applying for police work. I am graduating this May with a degree in Philosophy. I know everyone said don't get a CJ degree, so I didn't =P. I am working for a non-sworn security department for a college currently. We aren't armed (just OC Spray and expandable batons), but our radios are directly attached to the local police department. Anyway, on to my questions...

    1) Sheriff's Department, Police, or State Patrol?

    2) Once I graduate, I'll probably go back to southeast Wisconsin to look for police work. Problem is, of the 20 departments I called, only one is taking applications. How long should I expect this whole process to take from beginning a search to eventual hire?

    3) In the mean time, what do I do to pay the bills? I heard one guy say that I should try to become a dispatcher or keep working security as that will look good on my application. Any suggestions?

    4) Another guy recommended paying my own way through Academy. I'm definitely strapped for cash being a college student/soon to be graduated with student loans to pay off. Is it really that great of an idea to pay your way through Academy? Or should I cross my fingers and hope that a department will finally pick me up and pay for the Academy?

    5) Another suggestion was to enlist as a reservist or a national guard member and apply to be an MP. That way they train me and I have experience. Is this a good idea? Or do departments frown on hiring a guy trained by the military and has to leave one weekend a month, two weeks a year for his military duty requirement?


    I'm sure I'll have more questions as I go through the process, but any and all wisdom on these will be greatly appreciated. Also, if any of you know of departments that are hiring, let me know. Southeast Wisconsin is looking dead, and I'm beginng to think about expanding the search area...
    1) Sheriff's Department, Police, or State Patrol?

    I think it all boils down to who hires you first. Personally, I wouldn't want to work for SP, because all you will do is TC's, nor would I want to work for a PD, because you will be stuck in the sammmmme city for your 30 year career. In the sheriff's department, you can transfer to any station or assignment in the county.

    2) Once I graduate, I'll probably go back to southeast Wisconsin to look for police work. Problem is, of the 20 departments I called, only one is taking applications. How long should I expect this whole process to take from beginning a search to eventual hire?

    It took me two years to get hired by my agency from the day I applied. However, it all depends on how bad they need you. We are on mandatory OT right now because we are down so many deputies.

    3) In the mean time, what do I do to pay the bills? I heard one guy say that I should try to become a dispatcher or keep working security as that will look good on my application. Any suggestions?

    Security doesn't make a difference unless you have been there for awhile. I would get your "foot in the door" however you can. I started as a Corrections Officer before promoting to Deputy Sheriff within my dept.

    4) Another guy recommended paying my own way through Academy. I'm definitely strapped for cash being a college student/soon to be graduated with student loans to pay off. Is it really that great of an idea to pay your way through Academy? Or should I cross my fingers and hope that a department will finally pick me up and pay for the Academy?

    Cross your fingers. I was in the same boat, and eventually I was picked up for a free ride.

    5) Another suggestion was to enlist as a reservist or a national guard member and apply to be an MP. That way they train me and I have experience. Is this a good idea? Or do departments frown on hiring a guy trained by the military and has to leave one weekend a month, two weeks a year for his military duty requirement?

    Military looks great on your application. I would guess that 95% of my dept is ex-military. Speaking from nine years experience in SOCAL LE, military commitments have NO effect on hiring, or assignments.

    My dept is hiring like crazy!! We will be hiring 300 new Deps within this year!! Come on down, I'll make some phone calls.
    If You Love Your Job, You Will Never Work A Day In Your Life...

  9. #9
    seltzer's Avatar
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    Check your PM's in the morning, I will send you a link.

    My physical test was a bitch, partly because it was cold, and I came down with the flu 2 days prior. We had to strap on a 25# belt, run about 50 feet to a 30# bar, carry it cross armed up a flight of stairs and descend, placing the bar upright in its position, then run back to were we started, run the 1/2 mile track back to the starting point, across the track through a basket weave of cones to a 4 foot chain link, hop it, then back over, back through the cones to the starting point again, about 50 feet to the parking lot to push the squad car up a very slight incline about 20 feet...all in under 6 minutes.

    Now, I am NOT a runner, so I was fretting the run...but to tell you the truth, pushing that God forsaken car was the worst!! Especially when you have a sinus headache from hell!!! I thought I popped a vein in my head!!

    The written was no big deal really, what I did was hit the book stores for the test prep guides they sell. While they aren't a replacement for college (which I don't have), they will help you a great deal with some of the trickier questions. Also, forums like this help too, as you get feedback from real LEO's.

    The oral board is tough..real tough. It is more nerve racking than hard. I was rather nervous going in, but relaxed a bit once they started firing questions at me. Be 100% honest, tell them beforehand if you have any skeletons in your closet..they may already know!!

    Hope this helps in some way. Every department is different. Do a ride-a-long with a couple departments you are interested in...ask the officer what he/she went through.
    The world is a mighty clear place once the wool is removed from ones eyes

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by seltzer
    Every department is different. Do a ride-a-long with a couple departments you are interested in...ask the officer what he/she went through.

    Good advise!!
    If You Love Your Job, You Will Never Work A Day In Your Life...

  11. #11
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    I to am from Minnesota and it took me a while to find a job. Every department wanted someone with experience, no one wants to hire full time to give experience it seems. My suggestion to you is to try to get a part time or reserve position. It wont pay the bills but you will be suprised what jobs may open up. It all comes down to its not what you know its who you know. If you start part time and things just seem to open up from there

  12. #12
    PapaJohn is offline Applying...
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    How does the "who you know" thing work? Maybe my mom is just afraid to pull strings politically (since we've always kind of valued working your way up and earning your position), but she is the office manager at a prison working with the Sheriff's Department, and she's friends with the wife of the Chief of Police of a major town in Wisconsin, and yet I'm still being told there's no openings.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PapaJohn
    How does the "who you know" thing work? Maybe my mom is just afraid to pull strings politically (since we've always kind of valued working your way up and earning your position), but she is the office manager at a prison working with the Sheriff's Department, and she's friends with the wife of the Chief of Police of a major town in Wisconsin, and yet I'm still being told there's no openings.
    If they say there are no openings... then there are no openings. The department may want to hire you, and may need new bodies, but if their budget doesn't allow for it (or some other administrative hurdle hasn't been meet by the department or city/county/state government that the department works for hasn't given the approval to do so), then your political ties won't come in much help. Use whatever help you can, but don't expect to get hired when there isn't a position available to hire.

  14. #14
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    kdm0409 is offline ^ Female Deputy
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    Well, I have been in LE for only 5 years but have worked for 3 different departments, with 3 different hiring technigues. I first worked for a campus pd, we were armed and certified, then I went to a Metro big city pd, left there and now I work for a Sheriffs dept.


    1) Sheriff's Department, Police, or State Patrol?
    Like most everyone has said, that is a personal choice. I wouldn't want to work for anyone but a Sheriffs Dept now. I am an SRO, but have to work the road some, so I don't lose in my mind what my job really is. I am a deputy first, SRO second. The campus pd was fun, but boring. I had plenty of time to get my BS degree while working there. The Metro dept wasn't for me at all.

    2) Once I graduate, I'll probably go back to southeast Wisconsin to look for police work. Problem is, of the 20 departments I called, only one is taking applications. How long should I expect this whole process to take from beginning a search to eventual hire?

    This too is different everywhere you go. My 1st job at the campus pd was a student security worker, then I was hired as a FT Officer. I was the youngest the dept had ever hired. I had just turned 20, then was sent to the academy. There were several that had applied that had prior service, but the chief and everyone had known me for over a year and knew my work ethics, so I was hired. All in all, it took me 5 months to finish the process and have a job. The Metro class was a lateral class and was being rushed, so the whole process took about 2.5 months. The job I am at now, took about 3 weeks to get me in there. It was my home town, I had been a DARE role model when I was in HS there and the Captain (my boss) was who I worked with when I was in HS w/ DARE. So it is who you know that helps you out, a lot!


    3) In the mean time, what do I do to pay the bills? I heard one guy say that I should try to become a dispatcher or keep working security as that will look good on my application. Any suggestions?

    Again, like others have said, CO, Dispatcher, Reserve, Warrants, anything working within a department so they get to know you.

    4) Another guy recommended paying my own way through Academy. I'm definitely strapped for cash being a college student/soon to be graduated with student loans to pay off. Is it really that great of an idea to pay your way through Academy? Or should I cross my fingers and hope that a department will finally pick me up and pay for the Academy?

    Here is TN, some departments dont like the guys/girls that send themselves through b/c they say they are too trigger happy and cant wait to hit the streets. Other departments admire the effort that one has put in to send themselves through. Luckily enough I had my foot in the door and got sent to the academy, otherwise the equivalent academys down here was over 3000 at the time, even higher now.

    5) Another suggestion was to enlist as a reservist or a national guard member and apply to be an MP. That way they train me and I have experience. Is this a good idea? Or do departments frown on hiring a guy trained by the military and has to leave one weekend a month, two weeks a year for his military duty requirement?

    In all the depts I worked at there were several military guys that took their weekend trips. The department never said a word about it, but be safe and see ya back next week. They also liked the training that the military gave the officers.

    I also suggest applying everywhere you can. What is it going to hurt? Nothing. If you have applied to 30 departments and then the 1 you really want to go for calls, go for it, but I wouldn't rule all of the others out for sure until you have the big offer.Good luck to ya!
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