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  #1  
Old 09-24-2013, 12:23 PM
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Default Becoming LEO, Need HELP ASAP

Hello,

I'd like to start by saying that I never give up but I am starting to get discouraged here... Please help me figure out what it is that I am missing or doing wrong at the oral boards because after 6 or 7 I was never able to move further in the hiring process. These are the points I speak to and emphasize:

I started by loosing 30 lb down to 185-190. I am 5'11". I went back to being able to run 5+ miles, etc. I do Muay Thai, boxing, and had been doing martial arts for a few years now too. I quit smoking 2 years ago for good. I do not do any drugs. I have no arrests. I have good credit. I am diligent and decisive. I am turning 30 next month so I have good amount of life experience. I have strong morals and values, and I know why I want to be LEO. By the way, what I really want to do is graduate to Detective after I've proven myself as officer. I see it as a career. I went on ride-alongs. I received a certificate for CPR/AED/First aid. I got into and learned about weapons, bought, and learnt how to shoot well. [I am considering taking defensive courses but haven't yet].
In addition to speaking excellent English, I am fluent in Russian and Ukrainian. I came to the US at the age of 16 from Ukraine, so I am very much bi-cultural and don't fail to emphasize it during oral boards.

On the flip side, I have had many traffic violations when I was younger but that stopped at least 4 years ago (this never really came up as I never even proceeded to background). Also, while I am only 42 or so units away from BS in Business Administration, I haven't finished my degree.

My work experience may be working against me:
For the past 2 years I had been a Relationship Banker, although licensed by SEC, which has nothing to do with what's preferred. For like 6 years prior to that I did wireless sales, which, again, doesn't bring much to the table.

Personally, at 28 I've realized that I no longer want to have a corporate job and want to do something that's rewarding and not monotonous day-to-day, and where I can grow. I have an investigative mind and a passion for protecting those who can't, so LEO was an easy choice for me. By the way, this is the truth, not an answer I think they want to hear.

There is obviously something that I am doing wrong because the last 3 boards I've been to I feel that I've answered all the questions well. The first 2 or 3 were more like nervous practice but the latest ones were well-tuned IMHO.

Any help is appreciated.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:39 PM
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You might not be doing anything wrong but consider your competition. If you have any issues at all you are up against people that have none.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:41 PM
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You will be second choice to anyone with the same credentials but has military background. Know this going in.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:46 PM
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See if you can enroll in a Police Academy as pre-service. Get your Level 1 POST certificate and then hire on as a reserve at a department. Be patient and learn the job, hopefully you can complete field training and get on as a regular PO or lateral to another agency.

ETA: This is a long process...definitely no ASAPs in it...make your decision to go into this profession and persevere. Good Luck!
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  #5  
Old 09-24-2013, 1:43 PM
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You might not be doing anything wrong but consider your competition. If you have any issues at all you are up against people that have none.
That had been one of my rationalizations to keep on trying because I am in no way in control of that factor. Same goes for those with Military background.

However, this is how I see things: while I am not in control of what the other guy has got, I am in control of IMPROVING my responses and tailoring it to advance to the next step. Come backgrounds, my clean BG may beat out a stained one of the next guy, and my determination to succeed may be far greater making me a better candidate still..... Theoretically speaking, of course.

Thank all of you for quick responses btw!
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Old 09-24-2013, 1:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 1911su16b870 View Post
See if you can enroll in a Police Academy as pre-service. Get your Level 1 POST certificate and then hire on as a reserve at a department. Be patient and learn the job, hopefully you can complete field training and get on as a regular PO or lateral to another agency.

ETA: This is a long process...definitely no ASAPs in it...make your decision to go into this profession and persevere. Good Luck!

This ^^^^^ it worked for me... it's a long journey and I wish you luck.



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  #7  
Old 09-24-2013, 1:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 1911su16b870 View Post
See if you can enroll in a Police Academy as pre-service. Get your Level 1 POST certificate and then hire on as a reserve at a department. Be patient and learn the job, hopefully you can complete field training and get on as a regular PO or lateral to another agency.

ETA: This is a long process...definitely no ASAPs in it...make your decision to go into this profession and persevere. Good Luck!
This is the logical way to go, but I don't have the means to quit working for 6 months and at the same time pay $6K for the academy. Otherwise, I would. It IS the right way.
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Old 09-24-2013, 1:54 PM
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Maybe you just suck at oral boards? Oral board testing is, interesting... Many people are not good at this form of testing.

Buy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Oral-Interview.../dp/1930466242
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Old 09-24-2013, 2:02 PM
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Maybe you just suck at oral boards? Oral board testing is, interesting... Many people are not good at this form of testing.

Buy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Oral-Interview.../dp/1930466242
I am actually good at interviewing in general. But I wonder if my answers do not coincide with what the departments want to hear?
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Old 09-24-2013, 2:04 PM
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CHP academy? I've seen some go through it and at the end, with high marks, go off to another agency, even to another state PD / SO job.
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  #11  
Old 09-24-2013, 2:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Patrick Aherne View Post
Maybe you just suck at oral boards? Oral board testing is, interesting... Many people are not good at this form of testing.

Buy this book: http://www.amazon.com/Oral-Interview.../dp/1930466242
P.S. Buying the book
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Old 09-24-2013, 2:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rollaspeed1 View Post
This is the logical way to go, but I don't have the means to quit working for 6 months and at the same time pay $6K for the academy. Otherwise, I would. It IS the right way.
Keep in mind, you can do the academy in the modular part time format. Itd about the same cost but can work around a full time schedule.

But as a level 1 grad, only 4 out of 22 of us were hired as reserves or full time. Also, I was put on waiting lists as agencies ran academies ahead of academy grads to maintain their post cert as an academy.

A post cert puts you a little ahead of non-grads but is not a guaranteed job.
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Old 09-24-2013, 2:29 PM
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Competition for LEO jobs these days is scary. I see people with military experience, Master's degrees and very squared away vying for positions and getting DQ'd. You've got to get an edge or at least EXCEED minimally qualifying standards. Finish that degree and if you really want it, consider a leave of absence from work and if you have to, BORROW the 6K for the Academy.

Don't look around 10 years from now in a dead end job and regret you never took the chance. If it's really what you want then make it yours.
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Old 09-24-2013, 2:31 PM
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Keep in mind, you can do the academy in the modular part time format. Itd about the same cost but can work around a full time schedule.

A post cert puts you a little ahead of non-grads but is not a guaranteed job.

That's what I've been hearing. Appreciate the input!
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Old 09-24-2013, 2:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rollaspeed1 View Post
I am actually good at interviewing in general. But I wonder if my answers do not coincide with what the departments want to hear?
Just remember, the people who do the oral boards have heard the same cliches and answers over and over from other applicants. Be original in your answers, for example: "Why do you want to be a police officer", Everyone, and I mean everyone answers the same way "because I want to do good for the community". They get tired of hearing that crap. They know the draw to L.E. is primarily the stability of the job and the benefits offered.

Try answering "I believe law enforcement is an admirable profession which offers numerous benefits and personal growth to those who wish to succeed as an officer as I do, while working with the community as a whole to maintain a safe, enjoyable place to reside, work, or visit." Sounds a bit different right?

Try to go back and think of the most common questions you were asked and come up with some creative answers so you can stand out from the other applicants.

I remember one question in the scenario portion: you are off duty, in plainclothes, concealed weapon on you, inside a bank, in line, when a guy goes up to the counter and announces a holdup, what do you do?

Most answers would be to draw your weapon and badge announce yourself as a police officer. Wrong....Correct answer is do nothing until the guy leaves the bank then with caution follow to observe a getaway vehicle and direction of escape, engaging is the last action you should take.

This happened in Michigan where the officer drew his gun to thwart the robbery, unknown to him there was another bad guy covering the door and he walked up and shot the officer in the head, then once again in the head while he was on the floor. His eight year old son got to watch the entire thing.

This scenario was the downfall to a lot of applicants who appeared to be to gung ho during the oral boards.

Good luck, and as it was written earlier, if you can afford it, enter an academy on your dime, get certified and be one step up on a lot others. Or look into other localities or states.
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Old 09-24-2013, 2:54 PM
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Just remember, the people who do the oral boards have heard the same cliches and answers over and over from other applicants. Be original in your answers, for example: "Why do you want to be a police officer", Everyone, and I mean everyone answers the same way "because I want to do good for the community". They get tired of hearing that crap. They know the draw to L.E. is primarily the stability of the job and the benefits offered.

Try answering "I believe law enforcement is an admirable profession which offers numerous benefits and personal growth to those who wish to succeed as an officer as I do, while working with the community as a whole to maintain a safe, enjoyable place to reside, work, or visit." Sounds a bit different right?

I remember one question in the scenario portion: you are off duty, in plainclothes, concealed weapon on you, inside a bank, in line, when a guy goes up to the counter and announces a holdup, what do you do?

Most answers would be to draw your weapon and badge announce yourself as a police officer. Wrong....Correct answer is do nothing until the guy leaves the bank then with caution follow to observe a getaway vehicle and direction of escape, engaging is the last action you should take.

Good luck, and as it was written earlier, if you can afford it, enter an academy on your dime, get certified and be one step up on a lot others. Or look into other localities or states.

GREAT INPUT! I'll start using this on the upcoming board!
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Old 09-24-2013, 2:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rollaspeed1 View Post
This is the logical way to go, but I don't have the means to quit working for 6 months and at the same time pay $6K for the academy. Otherwise, I would. It IS the right way.
Look into an extended reserve academy that goes for a year but is 2 to 3 days a week at night and weekends. You will have gearing up costs and even when you are with a PD, you still buy your own gear. Do not be discouraged, where there is a will, there is a way...find your way.
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Old 09-24-2013, 4:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Hot Holster View Post
Just remember, the people who do the oral boards have heard the same cliches and answers over and over from other applicants. Be original in your answers, for example: "Why do you want to be a police officer", Everyone, and I mean everyone answers the same way "because I want to do good for the community". They get tired of hearing that crap. They know the draw to L.E. is primarily the stability of the job and the benefits offered.

Try answering "I believe law enforcement is an admirable profession which offers numerous benefits and personal growth to those who wish to succeed as an officer as I do, while working with the community as a whole to maintain a safe, enjoyable place to reside, work, or visit." Sounds a bit different right?

Try to go back and think of the most common questions you were asked and come up with some creative answers so you can stand out from the other applicants.

I remember one question in the scenario portion: you are off duty, in plainclothes, concealed weapon on you, inside a bank, in line, when a guy goes up to the counter and announces a holdup, what do you do?

Most answers would be to draw your weapon and badge announce yourself as a police officer. Wrong....Correct answer is do nothing until the guy leaves the bank then with caution follow to observe a getaway vehicle and direction of escape, engaging is the last action you should take.

This happened in Michigan where the officer drew his gun to thwart the robbery, unknown to him there was another bad guy covering the door and he walked up and shot the officer in the head, then once again in the head while he was on the floor. His eight year old son got to watch the entire thing.

This scenario was the downfall to a lot of applicants who appeared to be to gung ho during the oral boards.

Good luck, and as it was written earlier, if you can afford it, enter an academy on your dime, get certified and be one step up on a lot others. Or look into other localities or states.
I think your scenario question illustrates the point that those on the oral board frequently choose questions/answers based on what THEY want to hear. They can frequently become much more subjective based on the board member's opinions of the answer as opposed to an objective answer. I seriously disagree (if true) that the only correct answer to your scenario is "do nothing" until the holdup portion of the crime is over. Buuut, whether or not I agree is irrelevant because I was not on that oral board and my thoughts are not the "correct" answer to those asking the questions.

To the OP, I think you are on the right track by buying resources to help you improve your skills. You may be pretty good at interviewing, but I'm sure you can improve (we all can) and maybe this time you'll have the slight edge you need to land a job. If this is the career you really want, keep at it and soon enough you will have the job.
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Old 09-24-2013, 5:04 PM
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I think your scenario question illustrates the point that those on the oral board frequently choose questions/answers based on what THEY want to hear. They can frequently become much more subjective based on the board member's opinions of the answer as opposed to an objective answer. I seriously disagree (if true) that the only correct answer to your scenario is "do nothing" until the holdup portion of the crime is over. Buuut, whether or not I agree is irrelevant because I was not on that oral board and my thoughts are not the "correct" answer to those asking the questions.

To the OP, I think you are on the right track by buying resources to help you improve your skills. You may be pretty good at interviewing, but I'm sure you can improve (we all can) and maybe this time you'll have the slight edge you need to land a job. If this is the career you really want, keep at it and soon enough you will have the job.
Not to derail the thread, but the reason that question has been asked many times to applicants, was to weed out those who would fail to assess the entire situation before jumping into action, aka the gung ho type.

Had the officer who was killed, waited until the bad guys left the bank to take action, or at the point he or others were in danger of their lives, he might still be alive and still be a father to his son. Monday morning quarterbacking perhaps but a reality.
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Old 09-24-2013, 5:19 PM
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Not to derail the thread, but the reason that Monday morning quarterbacking perhaps but a reality.
Both of you have a point. And you are NOT DERAILING the thread because the only way we (or I) can learn is through the differences of opinions.

Now I am contemplating paying my way through the academy... Looked it up, $5K + no job for 6 months.
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Old 09-24-2013, 9:13 PM
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Originally Posted by 1911su16b870 View Post
Look into an extended reserve academy that goes for a year but is 2 to 3 days a week at night and weekends. You will have gearing up costs and even when you are with a PD, you still buy your own gear. Do not be discouraged, where there is a will, there is a way...find your way.
This worked for me while holding a full-time job. I was unaffiliated and paid for my own one year extended academy. It was very challenging and exhausting with keeping up with the academy while meeting the demands of life in general. Extended academies are great, but do a modular academy if you can. We had some academy mates who failed out four weeks short of graduating after attending 11 months with nothing to show for.

Getting in this profession isn't easy, but it is well worth the effort, blood, sweat, and tears; then you have FTO; and then you have probation to pass.....well, you get the picture. Good luck to you!

Last edited by NineteenElev3n; 09-24-2013 at 9:16 PM..
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Old 09-24-2013, 9:19 PM
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Finish your degree
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Old 09-24-2013, 9:57 PM
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Failing oral boards or not being selected is part of the process for some. When applying research the department and get a good idea of it as well as how many guys they are looking to pick up.

You have to realize that most departments in California have not been hiring in big quanities for at least 5 years. I know of some departments who are hiring 1 guy and have 80+ applications. They may interview you but they also got 20 other guys interviewing for the position that have 10 years experience. You are not getting selected no matter how good your answers are.

There are also a ton of academy graduates out there ready for FTO. That means the dept has a shorter time to get an officer on the street as opposed to a trainee who spends 12 months in the hiring process, 6 months academy and then FTO. 2 years vs 6 months.

My advice is to keep up the good work. Best bet is to go for big metro PDs or larger Sheriff's depts if you are looking to get sponsored through.

Look on the POST website for openings.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:43 PM
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FIrst,, Regarding oral boards,, remember to tell them what they want to hear. If you catch the neighboring Chief drunk driving you will arrest him.. etc..

Second,, The fact you speak Russian is huge. If you can read or write it, all the better. If you make it to an oral board make sure you sell yourself.

Third, take practice tests, and do research on what type of questions are asked at oral boards, many Departments ask similiar questions, many are scenario based, others want to know what you know about their Dept, City and or County.

I heard a Stat years ago that said out of all the people who take LE tests, 1 out of 70 will make it thru and pass FTO.

Good luck.
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollaspeed1 View Post
I am actually good at interviewing in general. But I wonder if my answers do not coincide with what the departments want to hear?
Like it was said earlier you may have the right answers but the competition is tough. You might want to consider Oakland, LA or another large dept. and look to lateral 5 years down the road.

I stumbled for a while on oral boards. For a correctional officer position I was asked if I would turn a fellow officer in for taking an apple or a roll of TP home. I said no to these but would turn in for something bigger....WRONG ANSWER...Turn the guy in for anything and everything was the answer they wanted. (I found out from a deputy who personally knew one of the interviewers and was told that's why I failed) If you pick and choose what is important and what is not it can be used against you. Start turning your back to small stuff and them slowly turning your back to bigger stuff.

The bank robber scenario is another reason people fail, the answer they give put the public in danger makes the recruit look like he wants to be Rambo. Dept don't want that. One officer can put more people at risk doing the "FREEZE POLICE" Many banks don't allow employees to hit the alarm until the robbers have left the building for the safety reasons. The money is insured.

If you know any LEO's personally they may be able to help you with questions from the oral boards. Take the questions that have been asked and try to find out what that dept policy is for that scenario might be and learn from it.

Don't give up, it takes time...
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Keep in mind If you get stopped by a game warden or other LEO and you say "well so and so on CalGuns said that this was ok and legal" That warden or LEO is gonna laugh at you and cite you.
Advice here is mostly good advice but its best to familiarize yourself with the laws & if needed contact DFW. or local Law Enforcement

Always confirm it for yourself. Ignorance is no excuse.

Contact the Governor now
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Old 09-24-2013, 10:57 PM
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Another thing I was told by a sgt who conducted interviews was he didn't look at the suit worn, he looked at the shoes. Many people will buy a new suit and not shoes. He also said to get a manicure even for men. It told him how your personal hygiene was and what to expect as an officer.

I don't agree with everything he said but buffed and polished shoes aren't hard to do. A manicure for $15, hey if that's what it takes then its worth it to score extra points with people like him and move on to the next phase then its worth it.
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Keep in mind If you get stopped by a game warden or other LEO and you say "well so and so on CalGuns said that this was ok and legal" That warden or LEO is gonna laugh at you and cite you.
Advice here is mostly good advice but its best to familiarize yourself with the laws & if needed contact DFW. or local Law Enforcement

Always confirm it for yourself. Ignorance is no excuse.

Contact the Governor now
http://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php
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Old 09-25-2013, 4:41 AM
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Which part of California are you in and how big are the agencies you interviewed with?
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Old 09-25-2013, 7:32 AM
jrock jrock is offline
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Your still young enough for the army...even the cutoff for seals is 27 or 28, with waivers beyond.
My cousin became a seal at 27, still on the teams and he's over 40!
border patrol hiring will be huge if republicans take the wh ('16).
I passed oral boards for bp...same stuff, theyre lookin to weed out the gun ho but at same time u gta show that you'd have your mates back BEFORE any regulations.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:48 AM
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Which part of California are you in and how big are the agencies you interviewed with?
I am in SF Bay Area. I've applied to a number of smaller agencies hiring 1-5 candidates. Santa Clara, Mountain View, Fremont, Alameda, Pleasant Hill, Plus like 2 more I can't remember. I am waiting for SF to open recruitment sometime in November. Due to personal choice, I excluded San Jose and Oakland.

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Another thing I was told by a sgt who conducted interviews was he didn't look at the suit worn, he looked at the shoes. Many people will buy a new suit and not shoes. He also said to get a manicure even for men.
I do all that. Without looking 100% why would one bother to expect anything? But I know they are out there...

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Your still young enough for the army...
I passed oral boards for bp...same stuff, theyre lookin to weed out the gun ho but at same time u gta show that you'd have your mates back BEFORE any regulations.
Thought about it, can't do army.

Btw, just reading and answering these clears up the picture for me. Thanks
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Old 09-25-2013, 4:02 PM
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So it seems that since joining the military its not an option for me, the only REAL advantage I can get is to put myself through the academy. I'm leaning that way now. Any other suggestions?
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Old 09-25-2013, 5:44 PM
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While I got nothing but respect for our soldiers, that's one thing I don't want to do.
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Old 09-25-2013, 8:49 PM
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You want to be a cop but not a soldier? PD's are paramilitary organizations. Both professions put their lives on the line even though they wear different uniforms. I suggest you look real hard at what you really want. IMO you will never be a cop thinking how you think.
I am well aware of and in peace with the similarities between the professions. Its the differences that make me choose. I want to be local, not global. I am more about protecting the community then the country. Reasons along those lines made me want to join police over military. No offence, its just personal preference.
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Old 09-25-2013, 9:51 PM
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All the agencies you've interviewed with are being VERY selective right now with their hiring. those cities are affluent and they attract highly qualified applicants and most of them are probably already cops looking to lateral to greener pastures. Honestly your chance of getting hired and sponsored through an academy by agencies that size is almost zero when there is such a large pool of laterals and academy grads.

SFPD hiring will be just as competitive but at least you won't be competing against laterals. If you reconsider OPD and SJPD those two agencies will probably be your easiest way to get your foot in the door. Good luck.
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Old 09-25-2013, 9:54 PM
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Mason McDuffie Mason McDuffie is offline
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So it seems that since joining the military its not an option for me, the only REAL advantage I can get is to put myself through the academy. I'm leaning that way now. Any other suggestions?
Bro, it took me years to get a job even after putting myself through the academy. And I am a veteran. It's just a rough rough time for applicants. Putting yourself through the academy makes you more marketable but will definitely put you in a financial bind.

If I counted the oral boards "I was not selected to continue" with I would go insane. But what I did was refine my oral board skills with each one. As another poster said, the answers are cliché and scripted, but its how you deliver them and your own personal touches that set you apart from you peers.

Try volunteering in the county. I known that most major counties have a volunteer search and rescue program. Put in for it. Hell, even the SPCA has a volunteer animal rescue program. Pad you community resume. What they don't show on TV and they don't teach you in the academy, a police officer's primary job is to be an agent of the community. That is my opinion at least.

Don't look at those oral boards you weren't selected to continue with as failures. You didn't learn how to ride your bike the first try.
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Old 09-25-2013, 9:58 PM
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Originally Posted by RedVines View Post
All the agencies you've interviewed with are being VERY selective right now with their hiring. those cities are affluent and they attract highly qualified applicants and most of them are probably already cops looking to lateral to greener pastures. Honestly your chance of getting hired and sponsored through an academy by agencies that size is almost zero when there is such a large pool of laterals and academy grads.

SFPD hiring will be just as competitive but at least you won't be competing against laterals. If you reconsider OPD and SJPD those two agencies will probably be your easiest way to get your foot in the door. Good luck.
OPD and SJPD because they are less desirable?
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mason McDuffie View Post
Bro, it took me years to get a job even after putting myself through the academy. And I am a veteran. It's just a rough rough time for applicants. Putting yourself through the academy makes you more marketable but will definitely put you in a financial bind.

If I counted the oral boards "I was not selected to continue" with I would go insane. But what I did was refine my oral board skills with each one. As another poster said, the answers are cliché and scripted, but its how you deliver them and your own personal touches that set you apart from you peers.

Try volunteering in the county. I known that most major counties have a volunteer search and rescue program. Put in for it. Hell, even the SPCA has a volunteer animal rescue program. Pad you community resume. What they don't show on TV and they don't teach you in the academy, a police officer's primary job is to be an agent of the community. That is my opinion at least.

Don't look at those oral boards you weren't selected to continue with as failures. You didn't learn how to ride your bike the first try.
Congrats on finally getting in and thanks for your service and for advice!
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:07 PM
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Both dept's are going through a huge hiring spree.
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  #38  
Old 09-25-2013, 10:15 PM
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Law enforcement jobs (and promotions) are all about being in the right place at the right time. If you really want it, keep trying and it will work out eventually.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:21 PM
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If you want to get sponsored through an academy an agency like OPD or SJPD is the way to go. The other agencies you are talking about don't run their own academies and are probably only sponsoring 1 or 2 guys each academy. OPD or SJPD run academies every 6 months and send 50 ppl thru at at time. I went through the process with OPD and it was smooth. Budget issues came up in 08 so I never started (look up OPD 166th basic academy) but it is a good dept to start at and you learn a lot quick.
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:56 PM
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Like others have stated, I suggest that you go to the academy and try to get hired on as a reserve someone to get your foot in the door.
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