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post #1 of 16 Old January 5th, 2015, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Question for LEO

So I've been deployed for about 3 months.
I have 8 months left until i get home. When I get back home I'll be off of active duty and be in the National Guard. Having talked to my buddy who is a sherrifs deputy and one of our plt sgts who is a police officer. I've decided I want to pursue a career in law enforcement. I have around 10 college credits, however by the end of this deployment I will have near 4 years of military service as an Infantrymen. I have State/Federal TA and my GI Bill to pay for school.

I've read that many of the departments in NC have there own academy and that community colleges have BLET. I would have to pay with GI Bill for BLET and acadamy would be payed for by the PD. Would using my GI Bill and doing BLET increase my odds? Or would being an Infantrymen for 4 years and 2 deployments be enough for a hire onto an academy. I have a clean driving record and no misdemeanors. I max my PT Test and am a expert with M4/sharpshooter M9.

Along with that, how do you enjoy life as a LEO? Is a police department better than a sherrifs department? Any tips?

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post #2 of 16 Old January 5th, 2015, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Alente View Post
So I've been deployed for about 3 months.
I have 8 months left until i get home. When I get back home I'll be off of active duty and be in the National Guard. Having talked to my buddy who is a sherrifs deputy and one of our plt sgts who is a police officer. I've decided I want to pursue a career in law enforcement. I have around 10 college credits, however by the end of this deployment I will have near 4 years of military service as an Infantrymen. I have State/Federal TA and my GI Bill to pay for school.

I've read that many of the departments in NC have there own academy and that community colleges have BLET. I would have to pay with GI Bill for BLET and acadamy would be payed for by the PD. Would using my GI Bill and doing BLET increase my odds? Or would being an Infantrymen for 4 years and 2 deployments be enough for a hire onto an academy. I have a clean driving record and no misdemeanors. I max my PT Test and am a expert with M4/sharpshooter M9.

Along with that, how do you enjoy life as a LEO? Is a police department better than a sherrifs department? Any tips?
No idea about the specific North Carolina academy situation. if it were me, I'd contact a department you want to apply for and ask them point blank if you'd have to go through a community college program before getting into one of the academies. That's the only way to know for sure.

I can only tell you what it was like for Nebraska. In Nebraska there are 4 academies... one for the Omaha Police Department, one for the Lincoln Police Department, one for the Nebraska State Patrol and one for everyone else. There was no college requirement to gain entry into any of those academies from what I know (I know Omaha and the State run Basic for everyone else didn't) but you did have to pass the entry requirements to get in.

I'm not military but several of my classmates were. They all used their GI bill while AT the academy. Got paid to be at the Academy by their departments and by the government to be there. From what they told me, they could continue to use the GI bill all the way through field training at a reduced rate. Lucky SOBs!

Life as a LEO is challenging, but not insurmountable. Smaller communities seem to be harder because everyone recognizes you off duty which is neither good or bad from my perspective. It just means you need to be more vigilant. Smaller communities tend to support their LEO's much more though which is nice. It is an extremely stressful job, the hours suck and the clientele rarely enjoy your presence but the job is extremely rewarding in other ways. The benefits usually kick ass and the job "pays out" in the long run. It will change who you are and you WILL lose friends because of it but you'll gain new ones, and have a huge family.

Me, personally, I was hired in November of 2013 and haven't "worked" a day since. I've busted my ass and done a shit ton of stuff that people would consider work, but I'm enjoying it so much right now that I can't say I would call it "work." It was never about the money for me, it was about being a part of the solution and not on the sidelines. It was about trading "consistent" work for something more dynamic. I've gotten every bit of that and more and I can't really complain about the pay either because it isn't that bad. Don't get me wrong, it isn't great and I would definitely take more!

Have you ever done any ride alongs before? I would suggest finding a department you want to work for and seeing if they offer them and then do a bunch. Don't rule out small departments either. Some of the best times can be had in smaller departments when things operate more like a family (for better or worse) and less like a corporation.

As a last piece of advice, because you are military, when you get to an interview, I'd not rely too heavily on your expertise in combat to carry you through an interview. With the current climate with regards to police work, those skillsets are going to be less and less appealing to city councils. I'm not saying you shouldn't be proud of being in the infantry and the time served in the US military, just don't make it the cornerstone of why you would be a good cop because use of force is less than 1% of all contacts you'll make and even fewer than that with any form of firearm or in lethal force situations. I would focus on how that experience has given you the opportunity to fine tune your interpersonal skills and problem solving skills and downplay the actual combat portion of it as much as possible.



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post #3 of 16 Old January 5th, 2015, 05:34 PM
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In N.H you go through the hiring process. Once hired your department pays you a 40/hour week for the 14 weeks you are in the academy. You get insurance, earn sick time, vacation, the whole nine yards.

Military experience goes a long way. When I got hired I was a construction worker with a 4 year degree in finance. Criminal Justice background is not required in most places. When I do hiring processes I actually find applicants who have CJ degrees tend not to fit in well. I want a person with some life experience, someone who has made mistakes etc. Many CJ Majors are straight edge and I can tell you they don't fit in with the jokesters it takes to make an enjoyable working environment, especially in this line me of work.

I have 13 years on and still love it. I don't find the job(calls for service, paperwork, court, dangerous situations) itself stressful. That is what I like, I do find the time away from home and some people I work with cause me stress. There are always those within a department who don't fit in with the group. Every department has "Cops", who never strap up body armor, take calls, or put there asses on the line. They cause me stress, those are the guys who Monday morning quarterback while wearing khakies and a shirt and tie. I have really grown to distance myself from them.

If you want to be a cop, be a COP. Don't become one of the day weenies nobody respects or likes.
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post #4 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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My biggest worry is getting hired without any degree. Ive considered reclassing to combat medic for the associates it gives.

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post #5 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 05:30 AM
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My biggest worry is getting hired without any degree. Ive considered reclassing to combat medic for the associates it gives.
You know if I had a "reset button" on life, I'd probably join the military and stay in until you could retire then go to LEO work. Military retirement + LEO retirement = good retirement!

As for the degree... ehhh... It isn't a bad idea but it isn't necessary for most departments.



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post #6 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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Ive done 2 years active duty, when i get home im going to the reserves and finishing my 20.

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post #7 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 08:42 AM
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I can honestly tell you that joining the reserves and having that commitment and possibility of getting called to duty can hurt your chances with some police departments. By law it shouldn't but trust me it is a deciding factor. A PD would never come out and say they won't hire you because you're in the reserves but they may simply send you a blanket letter saying you were not selected. Some PD's are great about it and don't care if guys are in the reserves, others are not and can't financially handle paying out OT if an officer is called to duty and may not even be able to staff the department properly. Just food for thought. You would be better off working in a city or larger department if you plan on doing the reserves.
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post #8 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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I plan on applying to Charlotte, raleigh, fayetteville, whilmington, greensville, and a sherrifs DP my fiances mom is a head dispatch for.
All are rather large. I know the fayetteville dp doesnt hire 82nd veterans due yo aggression issues. I was 3rd ID though.

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post #9 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 10:47 AM
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We gave a conditional offer to 82nd Veteran but he had an issue with the psycholgical test. Nothing major, but the Doctor just wanted him to seek out some treatment because apparently he hadn't. He was the real deal, his military paperwork was very impressive, he did 4 tours in Afghanistan if I recall correctly. He was a great kid, I hope he comes back to test again.
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post #10 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 12:23 PM
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I can honestly tell you that joining the reserves and having that commitment and possibility of getting called to duty can hurt your chances with some police departments. By law it shouldn't but trust me it is a deciding factor. A PD would never come out and say they won't hire you because you're in the reserves but they may simply send you a blanket letter saying you were not selected. Some PD's are great about it and don't care if guys are in the reserves, others are not and can't financially handle paying out OT if an officer is called to duty and may not even be able to staff the department properly. Just food for thought. You would be better off working in a city or larger department if you plan on doing the reserves.
A lot of companies as a whole will do that, and not just Police Departments. They will simply not hire you and say you didn't have the credentials, or didn't feel you'd fit in, etc. They don't need a reason not to hire in, they can simply not hire just because. Especially when there is 20 other people that apply.

So I completely agree. Being in the reserves hurts your chances in getting hired into a lot of positions. Not just Police work though. I honestly dont think the minimal pay for month while being in the reserves is worth the possible harm to a career. You can't actually come out and say you're not hiring them because they're in the reserves. But you can do exactly as you've said. Not too many bosses in a real career want their employee's leaving to be deployed every so often, and leaving for weeks at a time here and there for training. They want them there when they need them, which is generally for 40 hours a week or more. There is obviously many exceptions, but your chances of landing a career type job while being in the reserves are a lot lower than not being in the reserves.

If you want my opinion I would say to either finish your contract as active, get out and then go to a Police Department. If you stayed with reserves you'd actually lose money on deployments and while drilling because you'd make more money as a Police officer than you would under Army pay.
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post #11 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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A lot of companies as a whole will do that, and not just Police Departments. They will simply not hire you and say you didn't have the credentials, or didn't feel you'd fit in, etc. They don't need a reason not to hire in, they can simply not hire just because. Especially when there is 20 other people that apply.

So I completely agree. Being in the reserves hurts your chances in getting hired into a lot of positions. Not just Police work though. I honestly dont think the minimal pay for month while being in the reserves is worth the possible harm to a career. You can't actually come out and say you're not hiring them because they're in the reserves. But you can do exactly as you've said. Not too many bosses in a real career want their employee's leaving to be deployed every so often, and leaving for weeks at a time here and there for training. They want them there when they need them, which is generally for 40 hours a week or more. There is obviously many exceptions, but your chances of landing a career type job while being in the reserves are a lot lower than not being in the reserves.

If you want my opinion I would say to either finish your contract as active, get out and then go to a Police Department. If you stayed with reserves you'd actually lose money on deployments and while drilling because you'd make more money as a Police officer than you would under Army pay.
even with the combat pay and things like that? Im an e4 making roughly 40k for 10 months. I dont have the option to terminate my contract, I did 2 active, 4 reserves.
I've had 1 job pull the card on me being reserves, I was fired for no reason.
I'll apply to alot of departments and hope for the best. Everyone in my unit thats police have stated their departments have no problem with it. I could see a smaller department having an issue with it. I probably wont reup and our unit will be on a cooldown for 5 years. Unless shit hits the fan, we have 2 other brigades up for deployment after us. Then it cycles to SC and TN.

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post #12 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 02:28 PM
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Possibly when you're deployed. You only make combat pay then though. When you go to training, or on a drill weekend you're not making combat pay are you? Considering how you're only deployed every so often, you're not going to be making that money when you're drilling and at training. And if you're not, you'd be losing money when you're away.

---------- Post added at 01:25 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:21 PM ----------

The revised payscale for 2015 lists an E4 with greater than 4 years and less than 6 at $2351.40 per month. That's 28k per year. So when you're drilling and not deployed, you'd definitely be losing money.

---------- Post added at 01:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:25 PM ----------

I'm not saying you won't get on being reserves. It might even help you. I'm just saying that unless you just love every minute of it and don't mind losing money when youre on active duty and not deployed, then it's not financially beneficial and to either pick active for 2p years and do what whiskey said, or to just get out when you're contract is up and go full time LEO. Obviously that's up to you though. Just thought I'd offer the financial angle for you.
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post #13 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 02:55 PM
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It's not a deal breaker but say you have three candidates suitable for the position and one of them is in the reserves chances are they aren't getting the job. If I was running the show I wouldn't even give hiring a guy in the reserves a second thought if I liked them and they were qualified. I'm a Sergeant though, when your the Lt. or Chief you start to think about that stuff. You work to cut budgets.

Another thing to remember just because somebody was in the military it doesn't mean they are in for a cake walk in the Academy. You have to study and even things like firearms can give military veterans problems. I can tell you first hand we had a 4 year Marine Veteran who failed out of the Academy because of academics and he also had issues with the qualifications course for handgun.
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post #14 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 04:53 PM
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It's not a deal breaker but say you have three candidates suitable for the position and one of them is in the reserves chances are they aren't getting the job. If I was running the show I wouldn't even give hiring a guy in the reserves a second thought if I liked them and they were qualified. I'm a Sergeant though, when your the Lt. or Chief you start to think about that stuff. You work to cut budgets.

Another thing to remember just because somebody was in the military it doesn't mean they are in for a cake walk in the Academy. You have to study and even things like firearms can give military veterans problems. I can tell you first hand we had a 4 year Marine Veteran who failed out of the Academy because of academics and he also had issues with the qualifications course for handgun.
This.

We have a Guardsmen in our department who is here for 6 months and then gets deployed or sent to training. Been that way since he started. He does great work when he is here but he is rarely here. He's a helicopter medic now and just got back from that training at the end of November and already has deployment orders for May. My department is incredibly small and it is a hell of an inconvenience not having him here all the time. It forces one of our swing shift guys down to days and forces the other to go from every other weekend off to working weekends every weekend. To say it is a sore spot with some officers would be an understatement. The impression we get is that he doesn't enjoy being a LEO but keeps the job because it pays when he gets back.

As for the academy. You do have to do some leg work in the studying department and the physical department. It isn't difficult if you have a strong grounding in common sense and the desire to be there. Where most have issues is the Field Training Program. There is NOTHING I can think of that reaches the level of stress a well run FTO program will induce. One of the guys I went to the academy with was the head of maintenance for Offutt AFB's large aircraft. He told me he hasn't been run so ragged in his entire life and never been under this much stress.

If you don't handle stress well, FTO will NOT be a pleasant experience but it is a necessary experience and I'm GLAD I'm done with it and on my own. Only thing I miss is having someone else in the car to BS with to pass the potential hours of boredom with between calls and traffic stops.



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post #15 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not some crazy MOS. I'm a grunt, leg in the national guard. Our unit does AT once a year. From the looks of it, I can volunteer for more days to work. If im working police, I wouldn't due to financial reasons. I've done my 2 years of active and am on my 3rd year this deployment, I'll be close to 4 when I get home.
I understand the financial aspect, out of combat pay I don't make a lot. I'm not worried about stress of academy, can't be worse than my first deployment and I had a 3.7 gap in HS/the college I did.
My finances mom mentioned a shortage of LEO in NC. All I can do is cross my fingers. I only drill once a month so I won't be gone a lot. 2 days a month, 2 weeks a year.

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post #16 of 16 Old January 6th, 2015, 05:49 PM
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Well this stuff about the national guard is good to know in regards to being a cop
. I have to agree with fox the criminal justice part. A lot of people in my major which happens to be criminal justice they are really straight edge. I still go out to parties but I stay away from drugs. My roomate is a big stoner and I was for my freshman year but once I figured out that law enforcement was for me I stopped doing that. I still hang out with people that do but I just choose not to smoke.

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