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Old 12-08-2012, 4:17 PM
10101100 10101100 is offline
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Arrow Graduating in the Spring and considering law enforcement - Questions

I graduating from Sac State with a bachelors degree in geography (concentration in GIS or human geog). I am a paralegal specialist in the CA Army National Guard. Because GIS jobs are becoming harder to get, and because I easily get bored with it. I have been considering the CHP or the local PD. Am I qualified for the position? I heard the CHP has a huge rate of people quitting. Why is that? Are there positions other than being a law enforcement officer within the organizations where I can use my degree?

Thanks!
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Old 12-08-2012, 4:40 PM
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If you want chp you're in luck as they will be opening up hiring for 1 weekend in January's after not taking applications since 2009. I haven't met a chp officer yet who doesn't love it, so I'm not sure about a high rate of quitting. And your degree (well any bachelor's degree) gets you a 5% pay bump.

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Old 12-08-2012, 5:16 PM
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Because of hiring booms in the late 70's and early 80's there are a lot of retirements right now, especially with all the attacks on pension benefits. People who have reached that magic age are bailing out before they lose benefits.

I doubt there are a lot of people just quitting. Some agencies laid people off or had hiring freezes, but they are starting to hire again.

Your degree gets you a POST bonus with most departments, and allows you to earn your Intermediate POST certificate two years sooner than with an Associates Degree.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:27 AM
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I think you might be referring to the high numbers that quit while in the academy, correct? There are probably several reasons why, but from what I understand most CHP love their job. There are some others in LE that would consider them "Triple A with a badge" or "Can't Handle Policework." I don't particularly share those same sentiments

A degree always helps, but you have to have interpersonal skills in LE.
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Old 12-09-2012, 1:17 AM
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I think you might be referring to the high numbers that quit while in the academy, correct? There are probably several reasons why, but from what I understand most CHP love their job. There are some others in LE that would consider them "Triple A with a badge" or "Can't Handle Policework." I don't particularly share those same sentiments

A degree always helps, but you have to have interpersonal skills in LE.
I only share that sentiment when I have the CHP in front of me and it's meant in good fun . Actually, you will get superb training with them. I remember using their forensic guys for a case I had once and the info we got was tremendous. Bottom line, there are a lot of opportunities with that agency.
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Old 12-09-2012, 7:34 AM
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Are you qualified? That question has much more to it than military service and college education (credit, drug use, driving record, criminal record,...). But a BA and prior service is a great start. Take a look at some of the stickies at the top of the page.

Not sure why you think there are many people quitting CHP. Retiring is much more likely. I run into very few laterals from CHP at other agencies. It is a large state-wide agency with a variety of assignments and possible duty stations. Plenty of benefits in that light.

Can't really comment on any pro/con argument between CHP and local dept without knowing what local dept. There is a huge variability between local PDs and SDs even when they are adjacent. Example: Orange County SD is a full service agency that provides police services to about half the county, the airport, courts and harbors. Just about anything you want to do in LE, you can do at OCSD (investigations, undercover, K9, full time SWAT, bomb squad, pilot, motors,...). There are several depts in the county with around 30 sworn with a very limited number of 'special assignments' that are typically on rotation (3-5 years on assignment then back to patrol). Then you have larger agencies (200-500 sworn) that are somewhere in between. Plus and minus to both depends on what you want out of this career.

As for using your geography degree, that comes down to your articulation and application. I don't know of any "geography" positions in local state agencies. Closest maybe be in crime mapping/analysis but they don't post for geographers. You can always spin the degree to meet the needs of positions. I know a collision reconstruction guy that has a science degree. He positions it as having years of advanced math and physics being applicable to the assignment.
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Old 12-09-2012, 7:34 AM
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Are you qualified? That question has much more to it than military service and college education (credit, drug use, driving record, criminal record,...). But a BA and prior service is a great start. Take a look at some of the stickies at the top of the page.

Not sure why you think there are many people quitting CHP. Retiring is much more likely. I run into very few laterals from CHP at other agencies. It is a large state-wide agency with a variety of assignments and possible duty stations. Plenty of benefits in that light.

Can't really comment on any pro/con argument between CHP and local dept without knowing what local dept. There is a huge variability between local PDs and SDs even when they are adjacent. Example: Orange County SD is a full service agency that provides police services to about half the county, the airport, courts and harbors. Just about anything you want to do in LE, you can do at OCSD (investigations, undercover, K9, full time SWAT, bomb squad, pilot, motors,...). There are several depts in the county with around 30 sworn with a very limited number of 'special assignments' that are typically on rotation (3-5 years on assignment then back to patrol). Then you have larger agencies (200-500 sworn) that are somewhere in between. Plus and minus to both depends on what you want out of this career.

As for using your geography degree, that comes down to your articulation and application. I don't know of any "geography" positions in local state agencies. Closest maybe be in crime mapping/analysis but they don't post for geographers. You can always spin the degree to meet the needs of positions. I know a collision reconstruction guy that has a science degree. He positions it as having years of advanced math and physics being applicable to the assignment.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:21 AM
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I see. Yeah I don't know where I got that many people quit. Must be my imagination. In terms of background, I'm sure I'm qualified in that regard since I have a Top Secret clearance. In any case, I'm pretty sure I will take this opportunity and apply. Although I won't be in the country when I do, so I hope things work out.

My last question is:
So the academy is 27 weeks long. I live in Sacramento/Elk Grove. Do I have to live at the Academy the whole 27 weeks?
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by 10101100 View Post
I see. Yeah I don't know where I got that many people quit. Must be my imagination. In terms of background, I'm sure I'm qualified in that regard since I have a Top Secret clearance. In any case, I'm pretty sure I will take this opportunity and apply. Although I won't be in the country when I do, so I hope things work out.

My last question is:
So the academy is 27 weeks long. I live in Sacramento/Elk Grove. Do I have to live at the Academy the whole 27 weeks?
Yup. But the room and board is all paid for. You can leave on the weekend most of the time as long as you aren't retaking a test that you failed or there isn't a project going on.

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Last edited by Baconator; 12-09-2012 at 11:33 AM..
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:01 PM
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Yup. But the room and board is all paid for. You can leave on the weekend most of the time as long as you aren't retaking a test that you failed or there isn't a project going on.

Sent from Obama's Mind

Darn. I suppose that would be the only downside then. Hmm. I'd just rather live at my own place :/. I already kind of experienced the whole intense environment drill sergeant stuff but I suppose it shouldn't be too bad. Especially with that great pay! And it's not like I'm in a different state , or city for that matter. 6 months is long.... :/

Do you get to choose where you work? Like once you graduate, can you choose to work in Sacramento? Or is it more like the military where they just tell you where you're going? Is there a type of contract like the military where you serve an amount of years?
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Old 12-09-2012, 1:20 PM
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Do you get to choose where you work? Like once you graduate, can you choose to work in Sacramento? Or is it more like the military where they just tell you where you're going? Is there a type of contract like the military where you serve an amount of years?
near the end of the academy cadets are given a list of area offices taking new officers out of the academy. Cadets make a list of which offices they would like. Decisions on where each cadet goes are based mostly on needs of the department and the last 4 numbers in your social.

Btw don't count on any offices in the Sacramento area being open, those are very senior offices and they do not take cadets.
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Old 12-09-2012, 1:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 10101100 View Post
I graduating from Sac State with a bachelors degree in geography (concentration in GIS or human geog). I am a paralegal specialist in the CA Army National Guard. Because GIS jobs are becoming harder to get, and because I easily get bored with it. I have been considering the CHP or the local PD. Am I qualified for the position? I heard the CHP has a huge rate of people quitting. Why is that? Are there positions other than being a law enforcement officer within the organizations where I can use my degree?

Thanks!
It depends on your style. CHP's main functions are mostly traffic/highway related. The bulk of your work day would be writing tickets, handling vehicle collisions, and arresting drunk drivers.

City and county LEO's do not just that, but also handle criminal matters.

If you want a diversity of law enforcement related opportunities, a large sheriff's department is best. Los Angeles County Sheriff's will offer the most to you. Their retirement is among the best as well. It is a private retirement system, not a government system like most agencies.

L.A. County sheriff's handle the jails, courts, colleges, over 40 contract cities for patrol, they also patrol all unincorporated areas of L.A. county and the trasnsit systems. Aside from the above listed opportunities, you can also work transportation bureau, aero bureau, Special Enforcement Bureau (swat), K9, and a plethora of specialized investigative details and bureaus.

L.A. Sheriff's Dept is huge and we have never laid off deputies.

Do your homework before you choose, because the state is in horrible shape and recently, there have been some law enforcement agencies laying off.
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Old 12-09-2012, 1:35 PM
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Originally Posted by 10101100 View Post
Darn. I suppose that would be the only downside then. Hmm. I'd just rather live at my own place :/. I already kind of experienced the whole intense environment drill sergeant stuff but I suppose it shouldn't be too bad. Especially with that great pay! And it's not like I'm in a different state , or city for that matter. 6 months is long.... :/

Do you get to choose where you work? Like once you graduate, can you choose to work in Sacramento? Or is it more like the military where they just tell you where you're going? Is there a type of contract like the military where you serve an amount of years?
One of the nice things about chp is you can move around the state a lot. You will likely get stuck in San Francisco at first but after a year on you can typically request a transfer. There are things that can give your need for a certain area more priority, like home ownership or school aged children. But at the end of the day they can stuck you where they want to.

The live in academy isn't run 8-5. So it wouldn't be reasonable to let cadets go home. There are night scenarios and the always fun 4 am pt. You should call and talk to a recruiter and see what they think and see if it's a fit for you. But like I said, they stopped taking aps in 2009 and are only taking them Jan 3-5 next year, so they aren't hurting for applications.

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Old 01-04-2013, 5:19 AM
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I'll add another thought to this...

Go to radioreference.com and look up the live audio feed for CHP. They have it all over the state in different counties, so you will be able to hear what kind of calls they are responding to and things of that nature. It would help to learn a few of their radio codes as well.

I listen to the SF Bay Area/Golden Gate feed every now and then. It has helped me with avoiding traffic incidents and also you get to hear a pursuit every now and then. I believe they still have one of the least restrictive pursuit policies in the state, as most departments are tightening up severely on your ability to pursue.
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