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Best Route to Become a Correctional Officer or Sheriff

As my senior year in high school is coming to an end, I have decided that I want to graduate early and get started on my college basic classes (general classes like math, English, electives, etc..) I have decided that I would like to go to Csun and major into Criminology and Justice but sadly I do not have an older sibling role model who has gone to college or university because I am a first gen student. Am I in the right pathway or is there something else that I can do in order to put my name out there and get hired as soon as possible. thank you in advance.
#police #police-officer #law-enforcement #california #lasd #csun

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Subject: Career question for you

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Divita’s Answer

Daniel, research your local police and sheriff recruiting divisions. Each department will be different. Some will accept high school volunteers. My department we actually hire kids from 17-20 as Cadets. These positions are for students who want to become Maryland State Police-Troopers. It's like our feeder pool for the police academy when they turn 21.
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James’s Answer

There are many paths to these jobs and career fields. The best advice I can give is work on your degree and apply to become a cadet. Police departments will typically favor those that have worked in the department as cadets. Another option would be to get some law enforcement experience to make you a more attractive hire. Something like Loss Prevention can help you develop skills as well as relationships with local police. The last option I will mention is to enlist in the military. This is a drastic measure, but it does make you almost shoe in to get a job.
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Josh’s Answer

Hello Daniel,

There are many avenues to becoming a police officer. Most agencies will have a way to get involved before you are 18, in some states these are called "Explorers". Police Explorers get exposure to the department and important networked connections. Law enforcement is a tight knit community, and knowing some people inside the job can really help with references and recognition.

The second avenue (as I did), was to prepare myself with not only high school grades, but also behavior. While it is slightly less strict than when I got in, one night of loss of control can prohibit you from entering a career in law enforcement. Be very careful what decisions you're making in life, inside and outside of school. While you keep your nose clean, take classes in college not only focused on law enforcement, but seek out something extra that may help. I elected to take a minor in English Writing, as I heard time-and-time again how many reports would be written. Agencies appreciated my foresight and focus on those types of things. Don't hesitate to get involved in extra-curricular clubs, as that will provide extra networking opportunities, and also create some important life-long friendships.

Lastly, when you begin looking into agencies to apply to, research them, do "ride-alongs" with them (if they allow), and generally have a good base of knowledge so you know where you want to land. Where you think might be your "dream department" could end up being nothing like what you originally thought. I fell in love with the career when I went on my first ride-along - so I think this is a great step towards discovering the same about yourself.

Lastly, don't be discouraged about any possible rejection. Despite the national downward trend in applications, law enforcement and corrections are fiercely competitive fields to get into. Try and try again - add more education and preparation, then throw that application back on the stack.

Josh
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