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LEO Acadamy Police

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#1 Thunder7

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 09:10 AM

Hey Guys,

 

My Wife and I have been discussing the possibility of joining the force in the near future. I know that's not a popular career nowadays, but that kind of part of the draw for me. 

 

One thing I'd like to hear from any LEOs out there: What was the Academy like? and what were the first few years like as a new guy on the force? 

 

Thank for the input up front, and thank you for your service!


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#2 EMSWxSAR

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 11:39 AM

I've also been considering the same thing.  Gonna watch this thread. 


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#3 SwatDawg335

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 05:41 PM

Answers to your questions are going to vary by location.  In Minnesota, you don't necessarily attend an "Academy."   Minnesota POST board (LEO governing board) requires a minimum of a two-year associated degree in Law Enforcement (actual accredited college curriculum) or higher (many colleges and universities offer four-year criminal justice degrees).  From there, you're required to take a Skills program if it's not already incorporated into you're college training.  After that you'll be eligible to take the POST test.  Passing the test makes you eligible for full time employment as a peace officer.  

 

Many larger departments have their own "training academy" which all of their newly hired officer's must complete.  However, the vast majority of the agencies in the state simple have an FTO (Field Training Officer) program that newly hired officer complete.  Newly hired officers would complete a department's FTO program regardless of what kind of previous work experience they have.  

 

For me personally, I went through a two year college and received an AAS Degree in Law Enforcement.  My skills program was baked right into the college curriculum, so I was ready for the POST test as soon as I graduated.  As such, I wouldn't really say that I had an "Academy" experience; unless you consider my two year of college "Academy."  

 

First couple years on the department are an eye opener.  You'll learn early on that despite what you've been taught in school, you don't know shit until you do it on the street.  It's really that simple.  Best thing you can do as a new guy is ask questions and be willing to learn.  There's nothing more important for a new guy that to understand that while they'll always have your back, many veteran officers aren't going to consider you a "peer" until you've seen, done, and learned a while for yourself.  The best of them will help you along and accelerate the learning process.


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#4 NLYE

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 06:44 PM

Answers to your questions are going to vary by location.  In Minnesota, you don't necessarily attend an "Academy."   Minnesota POST board (LEO governing board) requires a minimum of a two-year associated degree in Law Enforcement (actual accredited college curriculum) or higher (many colleges and universities offer four-year criminal justice degrees).  From there, you're required to take a Skills program if it's not already incorporated into you're college training.  After that you'll be eligible to take the POST test.  Passing the test makes you eligible for full time employment as a peace officer.  

 

Many larger departments have their own "training academy" which all of their newly hired officer's must complete.  However, the vast majority of the agencies in the state simple have an FTO (Field Training Officer) program that newly hired officer complete.  Newly hired officers would complete a department's FTO program regardless of what kind of previous work experience they have.  

 

For me personally, I went through a two year college and received an AAS Degree in Law Enforcement.  My skills program was baked right into the college curriculum, so I was ready for the POST test as soon as I graduated.  As such, I wouldn't really say that I had an "Academy" experience; unless you consider my two year of college "Academy."  

 

First couple years on the department are an eye opener.  You'll learn early on that despite what you've been taught in school, you don't know shit until you do it on the street.  It's really that simple.  Best thing you can do as a new guy is ask questions and be willing to learn.  There's nothing more important for a new guy that to understand that while they'll always have your back, many veteran officers aren't going to consider you a "peer" until you've seen, done, and learned a while for yourself.  The best of them will help you along and accelerate the learning process.

 

 

How easy is it to transfer to Minnesota from New York??


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#5 BrianTX

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Posted 11 January 2016 - 09:04 PM

Cool that you are giving this career some thought.  I had wanted to be in the FBI when I was young, and then in high school had aims to work as a police officer.  My parents steered me to college.  I did that for several years.  Got a B.A., and M.S.  but wound up working with criminals as a counselor, then worked in corrections for many years, and realized where I was heading so I started to apply for agencies.  I applied for one that I worked for twice, and word was, that was typical.  Acceptance on the second application.  Although I left the big agency and began working at a smaller agency.  The difference has been enjoyable, and I feel I've found a place for my career. 

 

I made sure to build skills that would help me in a law enforcement career, I'm not sure its necessary as I know one cadet in my class had sold video games before hiring on, although I don't know their outside interests.  Our field is made up of so many people, former navy seals, math teachers, former sports stars, musicians, third generation officers, etc.  I'd always liked shooting and such so that was easy.  I had verbal skills from my former jobs.  A lot of policing is customer service, and talking to people.  Couple years of krav maga rounded out physical skills.  I also had developed some professional interests and became active in dealing with them at work, as well as gained membership in related professional organizations.   

 

I attended the academy of a large department here in Texas.  It is held to be one of the best in the nation.  I do feel that the training was excellent.  It was detailed, expansive, thorough, and grueling.  I recall marines in my cadet class getting peeved with all the PT, as we not only had gym sessions for fitness, but we had a vast amount of smoke sessions for various foul ups.  It was tough, but it teaches you how far you can go, and that you can get through whatever.  If you like action and you like school then you will like the academy.

 

As far as first year(s) you are going to see a lot of things you may not be used to.  Domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault victims, psychos, gang members, juveniles in need of serious supervision.  Transients that can stink up a cell block by taking off their socks, drugs coming out of places you don't normally put things.  You might get hurt, the people you know might get hurt.  A feeling of jadedness, but also an awareness of the part of life most don't really like to dwell in.  As well as the people who appreciate what you do.  The victims of assault, of robbery, and of theft who you helped when they really needed someone most.  You're going to calm down hysterical people who just had motor vehicle collisions, who are feeling suicidal, or who might be losing touch with reality.  You might get the smile on the child's face who was so happy to meet a cop, and you might give a homeless person a bottled water or bag of chips or whatever and got a smile from that.  You're going to work with great people and I hope you gain lasting friendships.  It might be hard to get out of cop mode, but keep your hobbies, keep your friends, kindle that non cop life.  You're always a cop, always on duty, but don't forget yourself, your family and your community, be there for them as a person as well as an officer. 

 

As for academies.  The area I'm in has several options.  The larger agencies have their own academies.  Some are held more frequently than others.  If you have a Peace Officer license and have policing experience, there usually are shorter academy or "modified" options.  There are a few private outfits which provide training, and smaller departments might send an applicant to those.  Our local collages also have degree plans, or professional vocational training for law enforcement.  You spend a few years, and get a degree and a license.  The license isn't any good until you are picked up or "commissioned" by a law enforcement agency in the state.  Texas has a state specific licensing agency, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement; TCOLE.

 

You might see if there are any free licensing exams available for your state.  A university in my area has practice exams.  I took them to help study and prepare even before hiring on.  Also gives you an idea of the material you will study, and can help you get a feel for wanting to do this or not. 

 

Before the academy and everything there might also be exam prep books for you.  I had one years ago which featured a little self eval, and had a score associated with your fit for the job.  I thought that was neat, although it just confirmed what I wanted to do.

 

Best of luck to everyone. 


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#6 Thunder7

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 06:51 AM

This is all great info guys! Thanks! Where I'm looking it is a rather large agency with their own Academy. I'm pretty sure it's 18wks. The nice part is I'd be hires before that and already draw a salary as they send me there. I'm kind of on the fence though with looking at a City PD or a county Sheriff. I think I'm leaning more towards the Sheriff's deputy side, but there aren't any open positions right now.
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#7 SwatDawg335

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Posted 12 January 2016 - 09:47 AM

How easy is it to transfer to Minnesota from New York??

 

https://dps.mn.gov/e...ocity-exam.aspx

 

This should help.


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#8 PSDRyan

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 01:50 AM

I would not suggest self sponsoring the academy. People who do have a higher failure rate, and it may not even be an Academy the agency you end up hiring on with approves, and you could have to do it again. Get hired, then go. You'll probably be getting paid to go then, and you can treat it like your full time job, because it is.

The academy experience doesn't really matter, and they're all different. Some are relaxed, some are militaristic. Either way, the time you're there is a drop in the bucket as far as your career.

You may or may not have heard "forget everything you learned at the academy". It's obviously not true, but there's a lot you can forget, and a lot you absolutely must remember. From my own experiences and watching other officers, the most important part to pay attention to and study is (in TX) the Code of Criminal Procedure. No clue what it's called elsewhere, but it's what defines your legal authority and how you're allowed to utilize your powers and duties. You do not want to make an illegal search or arrest. You do not want a case law named after you. There is not usually time to sort that thing out. It's an on the fly decision. Everything else can be sorted out later. You'll see something and know it's illegal. You can look up exactly what law later if you don't know. Make an illegal detention and everything you do after is thrown out. You've got your whole career to brush up on penal code, traffic code, health and safety, and city ordinance.

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Your first year (and beyond really) out of FTO, go back up the veterans on their calls and watch how they handle things. Ask questions and learn. When you're standing with suspects while primary conducts a search, talk to them and build up those chatting skills. The more you talk to scrotes, the better you'll get at it, and the more you can get out of them on your own calls.

Figure out what kind of cop you want to be and work toward it. Try all of it before picking something. Don't be ashamed to like working something your peers don't. If you love running speed, run speed. If you love taking accidents, do that. If you love DWIs, focus on them and get great at SFSTs. If you love dope, work with other dope cops and learn all the techniques and tactics. Whatever you choose, do it because you enjoy working it, and because it makes you feel like you're doing good in your community. Don't do it for the "glory". Nobody gets high fives in the briefing room for bringing in a DWI or writing 10 20mph over tickets in a night. People are gonna get it for hauling in big dope busts, but if you don't enjoy working dope, that's no reason to do it.

It's a great job that let's you mostly work the way you like to, with no deadlines. Everything is fresh the next day (as long as you're patrol). It can be stressful. It can sometimes be boring. It's rewarding and a ton of fun too.
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#9 David Hamilton

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 01:52 PM

Hey , I am currently a police officer with the largest city in Illinois. I'm sure You can assume which one.
Coming from the Marine Corps Infantry , the police academy was a joke. Show up early, get yelled at by out of shape college kids with guns, take some tests, go home. The biggest stress was (although) confident, having that 1 % doubt that you may not graduate for some fluke.
I have heard of several academies in the country that were actually "hard". Many state and county academies are usually the hardest.
Imo. And I stress my opinion, (although half my dept would agree), is that the married couples that are both police officers usually have a rough, rocky, and even suspicious relationship. Both parties working different hours, in possibly different areas, with different policing ambitions, only to go home and try to not talk about work. Plus, you will struggle when you see several officers hitting on your wife.

As for the job, I have a permanent partner that I got to pick. Another combat veteran. I have a hard time working and getting along with non military and non combat mos officers. Seems their entire mindset and lifestyles are different.
Since myself and my partner can't stand court and endless paperwork only to get sued , written up etc anyways, we show up , get coffee and answer jobs in the ghetto we work in. We love assisting in other officers chases etc, cause they have to do the paper and spend countless hours in court, and I get to have 2 min of "fun".

There a a few proactive police in my district. They try to save the world and truly get offended at anyone breaking the "law" within their presence.
Learn what you can from competent senior officers and be the police you wanna be. Just be aware that this day and age, the police you wanna be is becoming harder and harder to be.
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#10 David Hamilton

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Posted 13 January 2016 - 02:00 PM

Also, are you prior military ? If not no worries, if so you will notice a wanna be alpha male complex with officers around you if they know you are military. Arrogance amongst senior officers rival that of Infantry battalions. Lmao. Several guys I work with were in fallujah, phantom fury, etc. And they all have had words with senior guys that thought they rated to beat their chests over how many domestics they have answered or how many times they got the guy with weed.

#11 BrianTX

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 10:42 PM

"Out of shape college kids with guns, take some tests, go home."  Hilarious review.  Sadly true, but a good laugh.  Thanks David Hamilton!


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#12 David Hamilton

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 04:36 PM

Lol. Just my experience. It pays well, only good thing about the job.

#13 ArkansasFan

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 06:27 PM

Arkansas was a bit of a farse - a lot of instructors trying to be really tough and reveling in the dozen or more deparents they'd each worked for. Academically, it was too easy. Tactically, it wasn't inclusive enough. Practically, it gave 12 weeks of paid holiday in the classroom. We lived in a dorm like environment and most of the guys in attendance were psychologically and emotionally similar to a middle schooler. I won the class marksmanship award and was fourth in academics spiralling to that low after making something like a 96% on the juvenile justice exam. I turned 25 after graduating there and thought it was a load of fun.

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#14 ArkansasFan

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 08:32 PM

I agree with a lot of PSDRyan mentioned. Learn and be open minded about police duties. We all have skills and abilities (as well as character traits) that make varying parts of police work easier or more enriching.

I was a die hard criminal code and criminal procedure student and meticulous report writer. I went to great lengths to remain abreast of the challenging legal environment officers work in, and I had quite the knack for doing the job safely despite the tactical or aggressive nature of the situation.

I was not a drug guy. It wasn't something I wanted to get bogged down in although when I was in my traffic and DWI phase (which I got a total kick out of) I became quite good at finding drugs. My weaknesses were definitely communication with the ghetto dwellers and driving, lol. In my last years of patrol, I did tend to stay on the south (ghetto) side of town and wound up with the highest arrest record as it seemed I could not cross the street without a crime falling in my lap.

I always found departments to have officers who were sort of defacto police for the affluent as some officers are intimidated by the highly educated, wealthy, or politically connected. For whatever reason, I seemed to always be the guy sent to communicate in those circles.

I could not have been a SRO or a dog handler, and I could not have been attached to code enforcement either. I spent a little time in SWAT, did some admin work, but mostly spent time in patrol. Initially, I wanted to end up in CID, but I realized I wanted to check out at the end of shift - something investigators don't always get to do. I actually left LE and became a prescribing nurse practitioner. I have a solo psychiatry practice now, work four days a week, make six times what I made as a cop, and no longer miss it - for a long time I did. Psychologically, I am not the guy I used to be. Professionally, I make daily use of the soft skills I learned as a police officer.

Don't enter the department "knowing" you'll be a sergeant in three years and retired in 25. Don't assume you'll be assigned to a cool task force or daydream about walking around in plate carriers and 5.11 gear. Don't fall into fantasies of taking police actions off the clock. Just go, learn, and be a new guy. The academy is by far neither anywhere near the top of either a most difficult or simplest life chore list.

Edited by ArkansasFan, 31 January 2016 - 09:29 AM.

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