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I am interested in joining the law enforcement as a Patrol Officer. I would love to know how your experience has been doing the job or working towards it.

As I was growing up till now in 10th grade, I've heard about good and bad police and I would like to be a good cop and help protect people because the feeling that you get from helping others is truly exhilarating. I also like to handle guns, but not to kill other beings. I'm a little nervous about how dangerous it might be so if explanation on that would help a lot. #military #law-enforcement #police-officer

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Paul’s Answer

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I'm sure I will get some interesting comments, like "why is a fireman answering my question?" Like a good book, never judge it by the cover. When I was young I also wanted to be a police officer. Sitting behind a desk doing the same thing every day was not what I wanted to do. Getting into public safety, there are many variables, but in the Northeast it has been and continues to be very competitive. I kept my options open to many careers in public safety. My path led me to several internships in college that taught me that collecting information & data entry were important tools in police work. Professionalism and making contacts within LE are just as important. Along the way I was advised to get my EMT certificate. That class and license has helped me get every job in some way for the past 20 years. The next step was starting a position dispatching ambulances, which led to a position dispatching for police, fire and EMS for a Boston area community. This was a great job that exposed me to how patrol officers operate and deal with calls. If you ask around, some of the best cops and firemen started in dispatch where they could learn the job from the ground up. It can be a very stressful and thankless position, but that can teach you how to deal with those issues out on the street. From there I went on to become a FF/EMT the next town over. I've been there for almost 14 years, and I love that job. But I still had the bug to become a cop. Three years ago, my old dispatching job opened up part-time positions, and I was welcomed back after mantaining both personal & professional connections. Last year I was finally appointed as a reserve police officer and I am proud to be a part of both sides of public safety.
If you really want to become a police officer, here are my suggestions; First, continue to do well in school! Reading and writing and a strong command of the English language are a must. You will need to be able to have strong report writing skills. And learn/love the law. From our Constitutional rights to the local bylaws, they are the cornerstone of law enforcement. Second, keep your criminal record clean. Hang out with others who don't get into trouble and stay away from drugs and alcohol. If you can make good decisions early in life, it will be "easier" to do the right thing when you get older. Third, be a hard worker in what ever you do. Sports, homework, a job, chores. Do it with a sense of pride, and your hard work will get noticed. Be trusted to follow all directions, but be able to make quick and accurate decisions on your own. Fourth, take as many police exams (or any public safety job test) as you can. We all have to start somewhere, and you will build on those experiences. And lastly, my own personal mantra of P.P.R. Persistence=don't even quit, even when you think you don't have a chance. It can take a long time to get to your professional/personal goals. Perserverance=Keep a positive attitude, knowing it won't happen overnite. You keep going to make gains with education, certification, contacts, but know that sometimes you will fall or even fail. Resilience=the best man is the man who falls seven times, but gets back up eight times. Friends and family, heck the whole world might be against your career goals, but be able to bounce back after getting knocked down. There's a few loud groups who speak ill of police officers, but if you truly want to be a cop, learn to let that stuff roll off your back now. Become the trusted officer, set an example to your community, and do what the naysayers could never do.
Good luck, and let me know if there's anything else I can do.

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JD’s Answer

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Hello,


I have been involved in police work for over 30 years. I have worked for a variety of agencies and the federal government. It is a great job that can be very rewarding as well as a job you love to hate. I have had both good and bad experiences, but I will tell you that Police Patrol is what I have enjoyed the most. It is also one of the reasons I was slow to promote, because at a certain rank you don't patrol and work with the people.


Good cop/Bad cop: There are good and bad in every aspect of american life. the decision is up to you. Sometimes you have to be strong and do whats right because it is right. You have to rely on your partners and your immediate supervisor that is out there with you. I can tell you it doesn't take long to identify which group you want to be with.


You are correct that patrol can be dangerous, but there is training and tactics that you learn and develop that help.


I was in 8th grade when I decided I wanted to be a police officer. It was part of a class project and I had to go out and interview officers. In the end, I came up with a plan. for me, I went into the military, then came out and applied for the Border Patrol. It was several years later when I went to college and graduate school. In truth I should have gone to school sooner.


Today, most agencies require college. They may give credit for military service. What I would suggest is to check the web. Get an idea of what region you might want to work and what you might want to do. Specifically, is the area more rural or urban, what is there crime rate, have they had an upheaval like Ferguson, MO? You also have to consider your family.


I am from Florida originally. My parents were getting old when I had a chance to go to work in Alaska. Too far, I had to turn it down. Look at pay and benefits. Texas is better than Florida in many areas, especially pay and their method of certification. But don't just go to a big town. For example, Dallas, TX has some issues and is really under payed, but Ft. Worth, TX (right next door) has a really good program, pay and benefits.


Do your research, ask questions and try to relate the information to your situation and above all don't give up.


Good luck
JD

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Brad’s Answer

I've been in Law Enforcement for 41 years now. I retired in 2008 and have maintain my commission as a reserve officer. I was the coordinator for our departments explorer program. I would suggest you locate a police department in your area that has a law enforcement explorer program. You will get first hand experience and knowledge on being a police officer. Contact your local Boy Scouts of America Council for the nearest post to you.

Thank you comment icon Hey im an explorer with the Maxton Police department i would like to ask u some questions Diandre'
Thank you comment icon Fire away. Brad Johnson
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C’s Answer

Shawn did an excellent job of answering this question. There are only a few things I would like to add, which are things that have benefited me throughout my career.




  1. Make SURE you live a life beyond reproach. An officer should not engage in any activity, whether it be in public or private, that would incite any questions concerning his integrity.




  2. Have your own mind. Many of your peers may come from different backgrounds, and have different beliefs regarding how people should be treated. Don't allow your work relationship to influence you to lower your standard.




  3. Wrong is wrong, no matter whose doing it. Regardless of a person's societal position, they should all be held to the same standard, and likewise, treated with the same respect.




  4. The reward outweighs the risk. Law enforcement work can be dangerous, and requires sacrifices of those who do it right. Even so, I cannot think of employment one can undertake that places them in a better position protect the rights and liberties of those that they serve.




  5. Be passionate about the people. It's ALLLLLLLLL about the people. Serve them faithfully, and give them all you got on your tours of duty. Be a father to the fatherless, and a brother to all the rest. Have them view you as a member of the community, and not an occupying force. Work SMART, and SAFE, but always be empathetic.




  6. Embrace the support of your family and loved ones, and stay in shape. There is a significant amount of stress that comes with being a problem solver, and you will need the ones you love to make it through trying times. Keeping a healthy diet, and working out will also help you keep stress levels low, and reduce the risks of injuries and illnesses associated with police work.




Hope you decide to join us, and hope for the best in your career when/if you do.

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Shawn J’s Answer

Just remember that every profession has people who are "bad." The media likes to portray police as amoral murdering thugs, which isn't the case. Like any other profession, the overwhelming majority would be in the "good" category. Just remember that it is a dangerous profession for many reasons. Most people think the danger coming from a gun battle with an armed offender. But police also spend large amounts of time behind the wheel of car for many hours a day. So driving carefully in all situations is important because police are injured or killed because of vehicle crashes than at the hands of an offender. So just remember that law enforcement is a noble profession and it definitely not like the nonsense that is shown on television shows and movies.

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Mike’s Answer

It is a dangerous job, but with training, experience, and by always doing the right thing it becomes that much safer. By doing the right thing, making good decisions, using good judgement you can be a good officer.

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Ron’s Answer

I agree with Shawn. As a former Chief, I interviewed many people wanting to go to work for the agencies I headed. When asked why they wanted to get into Law Enforcement, the number one answer was "I want to help people". I don't want to bust your bubble, but some of what Shawn has already said is very true. Think about this - Who likes getting a traffic ticket? Who's happy when their home or business gets broken into or damaged through malicious actions? Who's happy to get arrested and who's happy when you have to call or go by their home to inform them that a relative or loved one is deceased? There will be days and sometimes weeks that you have to deal with some of the worst society has to offer and you will be accused of not doing you job or receive other derogatory comments about your capabilities, mentality, etc., and yet you must forge ahead maintaining a positive attitude. Most assuredly all law enforcement officers help their community by doing their jobs to arrest the criminals, deter crime and many other prevention efforts. You're going to encounter a lot of verbal abuse and have to deal with people and groups that do not like you or your profession. Their are roughly one-million police officer across the United States. Consider that one-third of them are on-duty at any one time. Now consider the few that commit crimes or violate their authority, but are the main focus of the media and other organizations. My career was immensely rewarding, and as Shawn said, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Good luck in your career choices and if its law enforcement, you will not regret it.

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Kyle’s Answer

I've been in law enforcement for approximately 13 years. I was recruited to the Department of Homeland Security Immigration Customs Enforcement as a federal agent and then after seven years I transferred to my current position. Being a police officer is like the stock market, you have your high's and low's. Being a police officer is something that enabled me to do something for my community and to get the people that were committing crimes off the street. the job has given me 13 wonderful years of assisting people, going after illegal aliens who cross the boarder, arrest people that smuggle people over the boarder for their own profit and try to make a difference each and every day in someones life. I have been on calls where I assisted domestic violence victims to calls that required a delicate hand in assisting a women giving birth. I would not trade it for anything. In the "police world" we call it "the greatest show on earth" meaning each and every day will never be like the next, "that I can promise you"

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John Randall’s Answer

I'm retired Chicago PD 35 years, k9 handler for 25 years. Listen to your inner voice at all times. Being afraid is part of being smart because you recognize the danger in the job you're doing. Police follow the preservation of life policy, in which we shoot as a last resort. Knowing what the state law allows is only part of it. You must also know the restrictions of your city laws and police department policy restrictions. Being a good police officer means you're going to be fair to all in all situations. Most people can only complain about life because the human condition is to complain. You as the police officer must make decisions based on knowledge, fairness and the law. Most are not able to be a good police officer. Remember, when you hear gunshots, it's your job to run toward them, not away. If you feel that you can solve problems and not run away from them, then your on your way to a great career. JRL .

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Shawn’s Answer

My experience as a police Officer was one of the best I have had. The day are sometimes long and you see the best and the worst that people can do to each other. But I wouldn't trade it for the world. I have always wanted to be a Police Officer, ever since I was about 6. When I became one, in Washington D.C., I went through culture shock. I thought this was strange because I grew up in D.C., but once you become a Officer things change. People treat you differently. You may lose some friends, but gain others. Your integrity is one of the most important intangible thing you can have. It will guide you to do the right thing all of the time. Trust is also important while being a Officer. Whether it is trusting your partner or gaining the trust of the public, it is important.
There are bad Officers in Police Departments. It is like any other job that you may have. You have good and bad employees. The first question you must ask yourself is, why do you want to be a Police Officer? Really get to the core of your being and answer honestly. If you want to help people that is fine. But what if they don't want help, but it is your job to direct them to safety? Go on a 'Ride along' program. It will give you the insight of what it is like being a Police Officer. Do your research before you make you final decision. See of your local police department has a program for young people that allows you to work for them. I hope this has help you with your question. Please feel free to ask questions and I will reply.

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