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View Full Version : Thinking of pursuing a career


74elko
04-10-2009, 6:20 PM
I am 19 years old and I have been wanting a career in law enforcement, so excuse me if I have a lot of questions. My questions are for you LEOs or others knowledgeable on the subject. Well I have tried to look up what is required, but its all kind of vague. Which college classes should I take if I want to become a sheriff or city cop? I would take these at my local J.C. (contra costa). How many credits would I need? And finally if I did everything correctly without failing any classes how long should it take to complete the necessary credits?

Blue
04-10-2009, 6:21 PM
Go to school and bulk up on credits until you're 21.

OIF_VET
04-10-2009, 6:35 PM
Finish school dude. This job isn't going anywhere. You can major in just about anything but learn to write. Putting facts on paper is what puts people behind bars.

Bizcuits
04-10-2009, 7:02 PM
Work on a degree, it doesn't have to be criminal justice.

Get a job and keep it, don't job hop around. If you have one ****ty job for a few years rather then multiple jobs.

Keep your record clean and traffic / vehicle citations to a minimum.

Don't get tattoo's that are racist or offensive in anyway. Also don't have tattoo's that are visible.

Have good credit when you apply.

Getting a PC-832 and firearm cert wouldn't hurt either.

Many police departments also have CADET programs. Check with your local PD and SO to see if they will let you be a CADET while your in school. Basically you'll get paid 10-12 dollars an hour to do basic stuff around the station like get coffee, help file paperwork, clean cars etc.

If you have the cash you can also pay your way through an academy without actually being hired by a department. Once you graduate with full post, a lot of smaller departments will hire you, because they don't have to sponsor you through the academy.

eta34
04-10-2009, 9:01 PM
I would strongly recommend a degree in anything other than Criminal Justice. It is a worthless and meaningless degree in the LEO field. Business, English, anything involving writing is much better.

Jonathan Doe
04-10-2009, 9:02 PM
Just finish up the school in any major. You DON'T have to study criminal justice or any related subject. English major or literature type may help, because you can write good reports and write good search warrants. Stay clean and exercise and run a lot.

kermit315
04-11-2009, 8:54 PM
Bachelors required, or will an Associates do. I have one class, one lab and my Associates in Electronics is done.

Might be forced to make a career change soon, this is first on the list of new employers.

fullrearview
04-11-2009, 9:28 PM
one of my RTO's went through when he was 18 and was hired as a reserve..... worked the jail, got a degree, and is where he is now...why not make good money while you are going through school??? plus some departments even pay tuition. I say go now... I wish I would have!

Bizcuits
04-12-2009, 10:15 AM
Bachelors required, or will an Associates do. I have one class, one lab and my Associates in Electronics is done.

Might be forced to make a career change soon, this is first on the list of new employers.


Associates is fine for local, but not really good enough for federal. LE isn't a soon career choice though, backyard investigations take months and months. If you applied today, you'd have an academy date in about a year.

BigDogatPlay
04-12-2009, 10:21 AM
If you are in school, stay with it until you have at least an Associate's. Then start taking some upper division units at a CSU, or go full time if you can afford it, to show that you understand that education is important and that you are pursuing it.

While an Administration of Justice degree isn't worthless, it isn't necessarily the best choice. My Associates was in AJ back when it meant more (as in lots of guys were only high school grads), the business degree came later. I know cops that have Bachelors in history, lit, economics, you name it. Generally speaking a degree in Business Administration or Public Administration will take you farther, especially if you never land the dream and have to go out and actually work for a living. :D

Keep your record clean... a ticket or two isn't a big thing. Having been named on a protective order will be a big thing. Credit rating is, actually, very important and not just in law enforcement. I'm a hiring manager at the company I work for now and I've had to pass on a lot of otherwise qualified candidates that the background check has shown financial issues. Having financial issues and / or crummy credit shows irresponsibility and no one wants to give a firearm and the authority to use it to someone who looks irresponsible.

kermit315
04-12-2009, 10:41 AM
soon is about two years out. I always try to have at least a couple of contingency plans.

ETA: I have a security clearance... bad credit will get it pulled, so I am probably fine on that too.

Thanks for all the information guys.

red2sniper
04-12-2009, 11:16 AM
some other things to consider, dont illegally download music or movies, if underage, dont drink alcoholic beverages until you are of age, dont drink n drive ever, stay away from all drugs including marijuana. Stay away from any law breaking and/or associating with those that do. if you have stolen things, make restitution to those that you took from, be up front in any interviews, dress for the interviews in a suit and tie, be clean shaven, make eye contact, speak clearly, and try to do something with the agency you want to get employed at (cadet if you are under 21, volunteer if you are of age) make positive contacts, they will go a great distance at getting your foot in the door.

1911su16b870
04-12-2009, 6:30 PM
Keep going to school to work for some sort of degree, AA, BA etc. That shows maturity and commitment on your part which is a good thing in all life's endeavors.

I also recommend doing a few ride alongs with your local PDs/agencies. That experience will definitely give you the answer if a career in LE is your thing!

Steyrlp10
04-14-2009, 12:32 PM
I agree with everyone about staying in school. No matter how physically fit you are, the written exams will do you in if you haven't gotten a grasp of the English language.

Public speaking practice wouldn't hurt either when it comes to the oral interviews either.

Best of luck to you!

xrMike
04-14-2009, 12:48 PM
stay away from all drugs including marijuana.Pay attention to this! It's what got me booted from the eval process for San Jose PD, even though it'd been 15 years since I'd touched anything stronger than alcohol.

Mason McDuffie
04-14-2009, 12:56 PM
Pay attention to this! It's what got me booted from the eval process for San Jose PD, even though it'd been 15 years since I'd touched anything stronger than alcohol.

I heard San Jose was really strict about that one. I would also suggest getting a couple courses on World Religion. My friend who went through the oral boards with Oakland was asked quite a few questions in that regard. 'What if....' situations mostly.

xzw151
04-14-2009, 3:02 PM
What do you guys think about the Citizen Police Academies that many organizations seem to offer. Are they worth the time, or a waste of time?

The town I live and work in is offering one for residents only, but the department isn't known for hiring off the streets, only lateral transfers. Would it be a good way to network and learn more about what life as an officer is like, or is that not the design of the program.

neomentat
04-16-2009, 9:09 AM
major in anything but criminal justice, just get a minor in CJ and you're good. this way if you get hurt on the job (medical retirement BS happens quit a bit due to legal liability considerations) or after a couple of years and decide that law enforcement is not for you then you still have options. If you major in CJ then it'll be hard to find a job outside the LE circle.

Ratgin
04-16-2009, 12:26 PM
What all does the background check entail? Also wondering why it takes so long. I once had a job that required a FBI background check and that was done in less then 2 weeks.

ilbob
04-16-2009, 1:20 PM
learn a second language. spanish would seem like a good choice in CA.

BigDogatPlay
04-17-2009, 12:01 AM
What all does the background check entail? Also wondering why it takes so long. I once had a job that required a FBI background check and that was done in less then 2 weeks.

Have a look at the POST background form and that pretty much tells you what it entails, which is just about everything. A good background investigation can be done in 40-60 man hours, plus report writing time, bearing in mind that yours is very likely not the only background the investigator is working on. The FBI "backgorund check" was running your prints and maybe a few phone calls. If it was a full on, pre-employment or heightened security clearance for the bureau or another federal agency they'd have been at it longer.

Local agencies tend to drag the backgrounds out. I think it is, in part, to weed out the impatient. I am acquainted with working LEOs who spent anywhere from 6-14 months waiting on an agency to get the background done and make up their mind. My last LEO job took only a month for everything, but it was for a tiny agency and the chief knew me.

Wildman
04-19-2009, 1:29 PM
Remember is not just a job it is a life style.

tyrist
04-19-2009, 4:17 PM
I would recommend you take college classes. Foreign language and English classes will be of great assistance. I recommend you try and get 60 semester units at least.

You can also do some time in the military but I would recommend you stay away from infantry, armor, and artillery.

kermit315
04-19-2009, 6:34 PM
curious, why? I am an Avionics Tech, but it seems to me that anybody with military experience would be good, because (mostly) they are conditioned to follow orders as issued instead of questioning every little thing.

tyrist
04-19-2009, 7:47 PM
curious, why? I am an Avionics Tech, but it seems to me that anybody with military experience would be good, because (mostly) they are conditioned to follow orders as issued instead of questioning every little thing.

They don't seem to get hired. Outside of special forces there are not many who were infantry that make it. Maybe it has more to do with how the military selects people.

Does'nt mean the ones who were hired were not in combat because many were.

VtotheZ
04-20-2009, 5:15 PM
Not going to discourage you from going to school. BUT I didn't have the chance to nor the money to go to school. The department did not care about me not having any college experience. Once you get hired and get through FTO, start school, online, nights whatever it takes. Its the ONLY way to promote. :thumbsup:

JohnnyC
04-20-2009, 9:25 PM
Cops and Firemen have one thing in common. They both want to be Firemen. Both are honorable, good luck.

kermit315
04-20-2009, 9:36 PM
haha, but I am already a fireman, and want to be a cop.....

every Sailor is a Firefighter, just like every Marine is a Rifleman.

Mr. Joshua
04-23-2009, 4:04 AM
Cops and Firemen have one thing in common. They both want to be Firemen. Both are honorable, good luck.

Actually the Lord made cops so firefighters would have someone to look up to. Eheheheh...... :D

scr83jp
04-23-2009, 2:07 PM
A heck of a lot of my le friends were in military service before seeking LE employment:usmc,usaf,usa,cg or usn.When I worked in 29 palms many marines were involved as reserve deputies,search and rescue or posse members who completed their enlistments or retired from pmo or nis were hired by several le agencies:san bernardino county sheriffs dept,chp,rr police,city police,marshalls office,fire depts,etc.

sgtbuck
04-23-2009, 2:44 PM
Actually the Lord made cops so firefighters would have someone to look up to. Eheheheh...... :D

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

ilbob
04-23-2009, 3:03 PM
Remember is not just a job it is a life style.
Its a job.