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Considering a Career in LE

This is a discussion on Considering a Career in LE within the Law Enforcement forums, part of the Armory category; Lately, I have been seriously considering a career as LEO. I have always had an interest in Firearms/Weaponry/Tactics, yet for the last couple of years, ...

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Old February 21st, 2013, 05:14 PM   #1
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Considering a Career in LE

Lately, I have been seriously considering a career as LEO. I have always had an interest in Firearms/Weaponry/Tactics, yet for the last couple of years, I have been working in the Graphic Design industry. Although I am young (23) I have been blessed and have been able to do design work for some of the largest film studios in the world (Fox, Disney, Dreamworks, PIXAR, MGM, Lionsgate, Universal)

I am college educated, no record, competent with firearms, physically and mentally fit etc.

I know that a love of firearms is not enough reason to want to be an LEO, so I am hoping you guys can give me the push I may need. I am most drawn to the weapons/tactics side of LEO, and least drawn to the paperwork/ticketing aspect.

Im looking for something that is more physically and mentally challenging than what I am currently doing. Any LEO positions that you think I would be a good fit for?

Things I am not seeing?

Thanks in advance for the advice

Last edited by Avedis; February 21st, 2013 at 05:26 PM.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 06:08 PM   #2
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My perspective of LEOs isn't as a "beat cop" so take that into consideration in evaluating my comments...

An interest in tactical operations and weapons doesn't strike me as a particularly good reason to get into law enforcement. A lot will depend on what sized force you end up with, but by and large tactical operations make up a vanishingly small percentage of actual police work. If you're in a rural force there might not even been a SWAT unit at all. Even if there is a SWAT unit in the department you end up in chances are there will be guys/gals with more seniority that will likely want on the team, so you'll probably have to wait your turn in patrol. In fact unless you're in a larger metropolitan area there is a good chance that SWAT will only be a few hours of training a month, with maybe 6-8 calls per year. The VAST bulk of police work is driving around, filling out citations of some form, and writing reports. Then you have the sometimes maddening issue of a bad prosecuting attorney pissing away your hard work in a plea deal, which you can do nothing about. On the federal level (assuming they ever start hiring in appreciable numbers again) FBI, ATF, and ICE are even more paperwork and less "action" in all but a handful of postings. Of the federal agencies, DEA seems to have the most in the way of "tactical operations."

I love what I do, and I am almost always impressed by the law enforcement professionals I have the honor to work with. A career in LE may be something you want to consider. IMHO, however, unless you have a real desire to deal with the public at their worst (either to help or to contain), you might be better served by looking into the active military or national guard if what you really want is more "tactical" in your life.

Last edited by LawStanz; February 21st, 2013 at 06:15 PM.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 07:18 PM   #3
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I wouldn't join the NG for anything tactical... Most units even most of the combat MOS's only shoot live rounds once a year for weapons qual. And other than that, it's walking through some woods or doing paperwork and sitting around. It's unfortunate but it's the truth. States are to broke to do anything high speed.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 07:49 PM   #4
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Maybe I worded it incorrectly, that isn't the sole reason I would want to work LE but it definitely interests me more than the paperwork aspect.

I know no two days are alike, but what does your average day/week look like? For example, any outstanding days last week?

Specific things you like and dont like about your job?

Last edited by Avedis; February 21st, 2013 at 08:13 PM.
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Old February 21st, 2013, 08:26 PM   #5
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Wink Try This First!

My suggestion to you is to contact your local police department and see if they will allow you to ride along with an officer. I did this on a number of occasions. From my experiences, I found that the average law enforcement officer's day was hours of boredom punctuated by moments of absolute fear!

I accompanied my neighbor, a deputy sheriff, on traffic stops, burglary calls, stolen car chases, searching for a lost child and even changing a flat tire for an old lady. All routine, somewhat satisfying, yet mostly boring.

Then one time we were called out on a domestic disturbance. While my neighbor, John was inside being bored by the wife's story; outside in the patrol car the husband stopped by me....with a gun in his pocket!! Unarmed at the time, I did not find this situation boring at all!! He dropped the gun on the hood and told me he just wanted to turn it in so that his wife (who had beat the living hell out of him and physically thrown him out of the house) couldn't use it on him. (Incidentally, the gun was so rusted up that the cylinder would not rotate and it would not function.)

John checked for wants and warrants on our guest. Bad news for him. There was a outstanding warrant, so he got cuffed and stuffed, then hauled off to the pokey.

Check with your local law enforcemnt department and maybe you can go out to see what a LEO's day is like and maybe get your pulse rate raised like I did! It may not be for you. BTW, you'll probably have to sign your life away on a waiver first.
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Old February 22nd, 2013, 06:17 AM   #6
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Sorry if I misunderstood. In my neck of the woods there seem to be three tracks into a department.

1) Police Explorers --> Criminal justice degree -->department that then sends you to the academy

2) Military --> (maybe GI bill with CJ degree but more often not) --> hired by department who then sends you to the academy

3) Ride a-longs/citizen volunteer --> reserve officer -->full time officer

I might suggest you check out option 3. Many communities have some sort of citizen's academy that meets for a couple of hours each week for a few months and goes over basic law enforcement topics (drunk driving, traffic stops, searches, comm center, etc). That coupled with a half dozen ride a longs should give you a pretty good understanding of what police work will be like in your town. If you're still interested after the citizen's academy and ride a longs, you could try being a reserve officer for a bit. My local department requires all reserve officers to complete the citizens academy first before they start the reserve officer training. Many full time officers here started as reserves until the department had an FTE opening. Being a reserve has the advantage of allowing you to keep your paying gig while you decide whether being a full time is for you.
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Old February 22nd, 2013, 07:04 AM   #7
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I always said I was only doing it until something better came along. 36 years later, I retired after failing to find anything better.
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Old February 22nd, 2013, 07:39 AM   #8
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I would definitely look into trying to get in with reserves. It's a great way to try it out and see if it is a career for you. Plus most departments hire from the reserves first before the general public.

Also, another route to get started is to go into detention. Depending on how big your local office is, they may hire much more often as is the case here. That's where I'm at now waiting for sworn positions to open up. It's also good experience to learn how to handle people.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 04:58 PM   #9
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going on a ride-along with local PD on Sunday. Will report back then.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 05:18 PM   #10
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My son is in his last phase prior to being employed by our county sheriffs office. He's taken the test, been interviewed, background checked and is now scheduled for his psychological evaluation. If he's deemed acceptable he starts in June after he graduates from college.

I hope he's not disappointed.
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Old March 7th, 2013, 07:50 PM   #11
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Consider the USCG, go talk to a recruiter, ask about OCS & ROCI opportunities and anything specifically regarding DOG.

Deployable Operations Group - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old May 21st, 2013, 07:12 PM   #12
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Join the Coast Guard! They have the elite forcable entry teams and tactics. If that's too much for you, be an armorer. Unless you join a busy dept. like LAPD, NYPD, you'll be board out of your mind or mired in paperwork. Police work's not like television!
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 09:16 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Avedis View Post
going on a ride-along with local PD on Sunday. Will report back then.
Curious - how'd it go...?

My limited personal experience is that LE work is a LOT more dealing with liars, turds, & tards than anything tactical or cool. We're pretty rural, and most of our stuff is just ugly, dirty, family stuff. That, along with robberies/burglaries and traffic accidents make up most of the incidents it in our area. Have a few times had to go as tactical as a redneck does, searching for an escaped killer one time, an escaped robber, looking for meth cooks in the woods, etc; but no more than a half-dozen instances in 13 years.

Frankly, even plain old 11B infantray was a lot more tacticool than LE work has been, at least in my experience.
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Old May 22nd, 2013, 12:02 PM   #14
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If you do not like paper work, being a LEO is not for you. Forget what you see in the movies and on television. The job has become all about CYA (cover your agency and cover your @$$) with paper work.
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