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Starting a career in law enforcement as a certified security guard?

If i obtain my state's required guard card, and gain some work experience, would it be realistic to become a law enforcement officer? Possibly a City patrol officer or even a deputy sheriff with the right experience? Possibly even become a corrections officer or other federal position such as border patrol?

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Karim’s Answer

Hello David!

I cannot speak for all police departments, but most that I've seen have no work experience requirements as long as you have a high school diploma and around 30 years of college credits (a bachelor's would handle this requirement). For federal law enforcement, some agencies require not only a bachelors but some years of work experience with that degree you obtained. There are other disqualifications that can't be looked past with all security experience in the world, such as felony convictions, not paying taxes, etc. so I'd focus on educational requirements first before work experience, and of course the physical requirements as well. Best of luck!

-Karim

Karim recommends the following next steps:

Find the minimum educational requirements for city police, county sheriff, highway patrol, federal law enforcement.
If you don't meet those requirements, take classes at your local college/university to meet those requirements
Ensure you are in shape to meet the physical requirements
Thank you comment icon Thank you for sharing your perspective! i really appreciate your experience and point of view, thank you! David
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West’s Answer

I am not in law enforcement (lawyer), but my entire immediate family is.

In my opinion, being a security guard will have little to no bearing on your chances of becoming an officer. I would recommend, however, trying to get hired on as a civilian corrections officer.

Some agencies, even in CA, have civilian corrections positions. I know Orange County Sheriff's Dept. does. And they typically prefer to hire from there before hiring outside.

Also, some agencies, like Orange County Sheriff's Dept., run their own academy. Some don't. So I would also look into putting yourself through an academy on your own that a lot of agencies around you use.

Just my two cents. Best of luck!
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