Thinking of becoming a leo...

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Or should i say, thinking of taking the exam that is coming up to become a leo.

My problem is that i feel as if i am not 100% behind the idea... And obviously it is a serious decision and serious career path. I feel that becoming a leo would be a better career path then the one i am on, which is why i am considering it (taking exam)

Like most jobs, i am sure the first few years will be rough. I imagine a lot of 3rd shift details. But what is it like the first few years? What i am getting into?
 
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I'd imagine the pay would be shit, the hours would be on the least desireable shift, and you can expect to work every holiday. I'd also guess that things could vary considerably from town to town.

taking the exam doesn't bind you to anything so why not just take it one step at a time? Take the exam, see how it goes, and think more about it in the meantime.
 
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Or should i say, thinking of taking the exam that is coming up to become a leo.

My problem is that i feel as if i am not 100% behind the idea... And obviously it is a serious decision and serious career path. I feel that becoming a leo would be a better career path then the one i am on, which is why i am considering it (taking exam)

Like most jobs, i am sure the first few years will be rough. I imagine a lot of 3rd shift details. But what is it like the first few years? What i am getting into?

What makes you think you are even going to get hired? Thousands take exams, few are hired. Do you have relatives on the job? A preferred minority, a veteran, someone in power owes your family a favor?

A score of 98 or higher means nothing. Do you think you are going to waltz in take the exam and get hired? You know too you will be competing with people who have bachelor and master's degrees in criminal justice studies.

How old are you? Pretty young I'm guessing. Tell ya what, go enlist in the Armed Forces with the guarantee that you'll get into one of the law enforcement branches.
 

Chevy 2 65

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What makes you think you are even going to get hired? Thousands take exams, few are hired. Do you have relatives on the job? A preferred minority, a veteran, someone in power owes your family a favor?

A score of 98 or higher means nothing. Do you think you are going to waltz in take the exam and get hired? You know too you will be competing with people who have bachelor and master's degrees in criminal justice studies.

How old are you? Pretty young I'm guessing. Tell ya what, go enlist in the Armed Forces with the guarantee that you'll get into one of the law enforcement branches.
[rofl]
 

Rob Boudrie

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I worked my entire life in the tech field. One thing I never appreciated until my wife got into nursing was the concept of "bidding" for vacations, and rules like "you can only take one week of your vacation during the summer". In my business, I could almost always take vacation whenever I wanted (assuming I had the accrued days). My wife's vacation bidding procedures are strict enough that I went to my recent high school reunion alone because she could not get the day off.

So, in addition to shift and weekend work, you will deal with "vacation bidding".

Oh, and if you work your way up the seniority ladder and get promoted you'll find yourself "least senior command officer" and back to the night shift. A friend got promoted and spent the last years of his job running the night shift (fortunately, he learned to like those hours).

The plus side is this is the rare state when a cop with some experience and overtime can earn $140k + per year all while accruing a generous state pension. Rich benefits == significant barrier to entry. (Much easier to become a cop in a state where the job does not pay a professional level salary).

Probably not something to do unless it is your calling and you are willing to make the sacrifices.
 
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slap shot

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What makes you think you are even going to get hired? Thousands take exams, few are hired. Do you have relatives on the job? A preferred minority, a veteran, someone in power owes your family a favor?

A score of 98 or higher means nothing. Do you think you are going to waltz in take the exam and get hired? You know too you will be competing with people who have bachelor and master's degrees in criminal justice studies.

How old are you? Pretty young I'm guessing. Tell ya what, go enlist in the Armed Forces with the guarantee that you'll get into one of the law enforcement branches.

funsucker!
 
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Good advice but abrasive delivery.
What makes you think you are even going to get hired? Thousands take exams, few are hired. Do you have relatives on the job? A preferred minority, a veteran, someone in power owes your family a favor?

A score of 98 or higher means nothing. Do you think you are going to waltz in take the exam and get hired? You know too you will be competing with people who have bachelor and master's degrees in criminal justice studies.

How old are you? Pretty young I'm guessing. Tell ya what, go enlist in the Armed Forces with the guarantee that you'll get into one of the law enforcement branches.
 

GPP

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Posts #3 and #6 hold some great weight, and this is from a guy who has over 28 years as an LEO, and I am currently badge numero uno on my PD.
Some things to consider;
Becoming a full time LEO isnt something you want to "try out" for a bit. If you get hired, the academy alone is 6 months, then you have a years probation, and when all that is said and done, youre at the bottom of the totem pole. I dont know how old you are, but I can tell you this, the guys on my job under the age of 30 are the loudest complainers about what they feel they "deserve" after putting in 8 or 9 years on the job, they feel theyve paid their dues. They havent. These guys never swept a floor, roofed a house, cleaned a shitter, been told theyre useless and wont amount to anything by a parent, teacher, boss, drill instructor, etc etc etc. Their first full time job has been LEO. Sure, you can make $150k in your first year OUT of the academy, but that involves a constant flow of 90 hour work weeks.

Christmas, weekends, honeymoons, ? Always just a possibility, nothing is a given. Getting "forced" to work a last half, or a day tour on the day you were leaving on your week long singles cruise? Its going to happen. Though not nearly as bad as the military, you have no choice but to grasp the concept of "my time isnt really my time anymore", if you dont, then you wont keep your job. Working for guys that are morons, bullies, suckasses etc and not being able to do a thing about it? Check. Missing your kids birthdays, baseball games, anniversaries etc? Check. I could go on, and on, and on, but I wont.


These are the basics, we are barely even scratching the surface. I have a great retirement yes, I make $30 an hour on straight time with zero college, awesome, I have awesome health benefits for my family, mint! I make a difference in some poor bastards life every now and again, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. There are exponentially more cons than pros to the job though, that I promise.

Heres a hint, if post #3 offended you, look elsewhere.. Mark offerred information that was very accurate, but if his delivery made you buttsad, walk away.

Glen
 

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Agree with # 3, 6, & 9

Here are some ideas to see if it is really what you want to do:

- Arrange to go on some ride-alongs,
- Sign up as a Auxiliary or Special/Reserve PO and do it actively.

It will give you a flavor of the job. It certainly isn't all peaches and cream.

I only did it part-time (17 years in my town, ~7-8 years at Boston College Police Dept) and was very active. The job has changed drastically since I left, but here's what I can tell you from my personal experience.

- The town used us like cannon fodder, we were expendable (no benefits, no insurance if hurt on the job, no legal coverage if we got sued, etc.).
- Required to work all town events, 17 years with no way to enjoy the 4th of July since I had to work ~16 hrs (unpaid) due to town events! Wife enjoyed the fireworks while I manned a barricade and dealt with angry drivers who wanted to enter or directing traffic, couldn't attend BBQs with friends as I had to work (not optional).
- Got treated like crap by the FT POs. Took a paid detail at an election, worked a straight 8 hours with no lunch (lunch was provided to all workers by Town Clerk's office . . . except the PT PO) and no time off from directing traffic. Asked to work a detail for a private party at a Veteran's hall, when I went to the PD to pick up a radio I'm told that a gang intends to raid the party . . . great! So I stayed outside all the time (~6 hours) to be a visible presence and deter trouble instead of being comfortable inside the hall. In all my time I was only thanked for my volunteer work twice by senior officers, that's life.
- At BCPD eventually they turned scheduling over to a FT Sgt who tried to treat us as GPP stated above, like they owned us (we were PT and worked Fri and Sat from 7PM to 3AM in the dorms). He decided to schedule us without our input and told us it was our responsibility to find a replacement if we couldn't make it!
- I was dumped at BCPD because I took a 2 week vacation and told them I would be missing one of the football games. When I returned, I tried calling the FT Sgt who scheduled us all week to see if I was on the schedule for the upcoming football game and if so what time to show up. I heard nothing from the messages I left him. At 1PM on Saturday (about kick-off time) I get a call from the dispatcher asking why I wasn't there, I explained and that was the end of that job. The Sgt was pissed that I took vacation and dropped me from future schedules.

Now for some good:

- I learned a lot of what the job entailed.
- As much as I dealt with some real dirtbags, I really enjoyed working for the PD.
- Wrt to BCPD, I really enjoyed working with the students, most were very decent folks and I really like the college environment.
- For those that worked as PT POs, some that wanted on FT were given the opportunity, bumped up in preference as the PD already knew them.

Personally I enjoyed it as an avocation. What I know of today's police work, I don't think that I'd want to do it FT. We had a lot of discretion dealing with minor offenses (mostly MV) largely because we were the only officer present in most cases, but today when 2 or 3 officers show up, you're forced to follow the sharp letter of the law with little or no discretion allowed.
 
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Lots of great advice. Almost a Leo here myself. But I wanted nights weekends and holidays off. And don't think it will be gunfights and tearing up the city. You are always on camera now. Even if you shoot to defend yourself-desk duty for the rest of your career. And you have to be a veteran for a civil service department.

Be an electrician. Ever seen one driving a crappy truck? Mine makes $85 and hour and owns his own shop. Loves it.
 
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What makes you think you are even going to get hired? Thousands take exams, few are hired. Do you have relatives on the job? A preferred minority, a veteran, someone in power owes your family a favor?

A score of 98 or higher means nothing. Do you think you are going to waltz in take the exam and get hired? You know too you will be competing with people who have bachelor and master's degrees in criminal justice studies.

How old are you? Pretty young I'm guessing. Tell ya what, go enlist in the Armed Forces with the guarantee that you'll get into one of the law enforcement branches.

English comprehansion fail
 

GPP

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Lots of great advice. Almost a Leo here myself. But I wanted nights weekends and holidays off. And don't think it will be gunfights and tearing up the city. You are always on camera now. Even if you shoot to defend yourself-desk duty for the rest of your career. And you have to be a veteran for a civil service department.

Be an electrician. Ever seen one driving a crappy truck? Mine makes $85 and hour and owns his own shop. Loves it.


"Almost" an LEO, yet you barf out the last 2 sentences in the first paragraph of your post like a salty old timer who has been walking a beat for 30 years, and is so deeply ensconced in the department that any spoken word is hoisted above the rank and file like some golden holy nugget, to be savored and reiterated by all.

I have no problem telling you though, that you are incorrect on those 2 particular statements, and that your last paragraph contained declaritive statements that were extremely accurate; and personally I acknowledged them to be excellent advice.
 
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I love the job. Worked as a mechanic for 15 years and was lucky to get on the job the last interview I was allowed due to age. It has its shitty moments like any job, but I think the few pros far outweigh all the cons.
 

lowbuckbob

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Just do it. Take the exam and see what happens. If you make it, fine. If you don't - oh well. It's not a bad job and the benefits are ok. I did 31 yrs (27 FT, 4 PT). I'm enjoying the pension...
 
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Wickedcoolname

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I would take every test. DOC, MSP, etc. Also, you might consider the reserve/intermittent academy if you can get sponsored by a PD.
I did a little over 20 years with the DOC and retired at the rank of lieutenant. Like every job there are some parts that suck and some that dont. I was was a tactical team squad leader for 14 years and got to train with some very talented guys, and got to do some stuff I would never have been able to do outside of the military. I made good money, very good the last few years, and I was able to retire with a decent pension when I was 49.
But, I don't think I ever had Christmas day off and very few other holidays, and I pretty much never had weekends off. I worked 2nd shift for most of my career. Just when I had enough seniority to win a day shift bid I took promotion and had to start as the bottom sergeant and again when I took lieutenant.
There can be hours of intense boredom puntuated by moments of violence and blood, so it's definitely not for everyone. But it was a great career for me.
Many officers who work 2nd or 3rd shift have second jobs, as I did. I was able to pay off my mortgage and send my son to college with no debt.
Don't let people talk you away from a public service job. It's not easy getting hired, and it takes an understanding family put up with your shift and days off, and to understand what kind of stuff you may have gone through at work. But all and all its not a bad way to make a living.
 
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I was referring to USBP and ERO.

Why limit the choices. Go Feds. Lots of promotional opportunities. Apply one and all. Ton of Leo stuff you never heard of-federal police, park police, Air Marshals....

But my original advice stands. Go military and get a trade. Then if LEO does not work out then you have a solid backup plan. Or even better, become a fireman and work trade job on the side.
 
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