T Nation

Question For Police Officers

I’ve thought about having a career in law enforcement for a long time now, and have finally decided to apply. I was just wondering if any of you police officers wouldn’t mind sharing the positives and negatives of police work, besides the obvious like getting killed. If I do get excepted, what can I expect in cadet training and on the job. In your opinion, was it worth it?Any information would really be appreciated. Thanks.

Seeing that you are in Canada, it may be a bit dfferent than other places. Here in Florida, it was fairly easy going through the academy except working full time and going to the academy at night. Plus, I had just gotten married a few months before i went.

Four years on the job now, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. As for what to expect, you never know…Always be prepared. I have been involved in a lot in the 4 short years I’ve been working. Some good, a lot bad. But you have to be willing to take the bad with the good.

The best advise I can give you is this…When in uniform, you are a cop. When out of a uniform you are not. Always divide your identity, it will help you in not burning out. I cant stand the guys who live with there radios on all the time so they can eat,sleep, and shit, cop. Your spouse will appreicate it too that you can shut the COP off.

Good luck. If I can be of any further assistance, PM me and I will continue.

Law Enforcement is a great career! That being said, the hours can suck. When you join on with a police department as a rookie fresh out of the academy, you’ll be on the bottom of seniority which may mean working midnight shifts and other odd hours. This is not that bad but it takes getting used to!

As a cop you are going to be dealing with a lot of people at there worst and most vulnerable states. You must prepare yourself mentally for the challenge. People look at the uniform and see authority and you have to be prepared to exude authority or it won’t be pretty.

Of course this takes time and experience to learn. To some guys it comes naturally, others it takes a few months. If you are on the job for a year and don’t feel it happening you might want to find a different career. All in all it can be very rewarding, its a true calling. I wish you the best in your endeavors!

Oh and it doesn’t hurt to be in top shape, of course if you are on T-Nation you probably knew that!

I’ve been on the job for 8 years. I would say the positives of the job are that you develop and mature more as a person, because you learn to be more confident and calm during stressful situations. and that can be anything from dealing somebody getting in your face to actual physical confrontations.

you either rise to occasion or sink to your level of training, and either way is good. the camaraderie with your fellow officers is what you keeps your spirits up.

the down sides are all of the things you didn’t expect, what Hollywood doesn’t show you. the bad things you expect are physical confrontations and possibly get killed. you expect that going into the job, so it doesn’t phase you.

what you don’t expect is the stress it can cause for those around you: family. the hours wear and tear on your marriage. you expect to arrest bad guys and those are done in an hour or two, but lawsuits can take years should you be unfortunate to get in any. you expect to get shot at, but you don’t expect to catch a bloodborne pathogen from handling a drug addict with hepatitis or HIV.

anyway some things to think about

Thanks for the replies, I will definetly keep the advice in mind.

I am very interested in becoming a police officer also and will be doing a ride along within the next couple of weeks. I do have a question though…

I have a clean record right now but I did smoke a lot of pot last year and tried mushrooms a couple of times. I no longer do anything and I have never dealt drugs or anything like that.

I know I have to go through a lie detector test and plan to be completely honest about everything. Out of your experience, will this keep me from becoming a cop? Thanks for any insight and sorry for the thread hijack.

Yeah, I just switched over to a CJ major this year. With a psychology minor, seemed like it would come in handy.

3 years till graduation and then the academy!

both of my parents are police officers and I’ll be going into the same line of work in about 3 years.

Other than working holidays, not much family time, and everyone hating you, its not a bad job.

[quote]MikeyKBiatch wrote:
I am very interested in becoming a police officer also and will be doing a ride along within the next couple of weeks. I do have a question though…

I have a clean record right now but I did smoke a lot of pot last year and tried mushrooms a couple of times. I no longer do anything and I have never dealt drugs or anything like that.

I know I have to go through a lie detector test and plan to be completely honest about everything. Out of your experience, will this keep me from becoming a cop? Thanks for any insight and sorry for the thread hijack.[/quote]

It might hurt your chances, but they do realise that people make mistakes, so it might not. I do know, at least in Canada, that you have to be three years clear of any detected or undetected crime, so it might hurt your chances on the fact that you may have to wait until you can apply, depending on where you live.

[quote]MikeyKBiatch wrote:
I am very interested in becoming a police officer also and will be doing a ride along within the next couple of weeks. I do have a question though…

I have a clean record right now but I did smoke a lot of pot last year and tried mushrooms a couple of times. I no longer do anything and I have never dealt drugs or anything like that.

I know I have to go through a lie detector test and plan to be completely honest about everything. Out of your experience, will this keep me from becoming a cop? Thanks for any insight and sorry for the thread hijack.[/quote]

Just about every person has tried some kind of drug. If they haven’t they were not livin’ it up like the rest of us. As for the lie detector test, you only answer the questions they ask of you.

Do not voluntarily give all your secrets away. If they ask if you ever tried drugs, you say yes! If they ask when the last time you took drugs was, you answer: I do not remember, there has been no use this year for sure. Good luck!!

I was a police officer for 21 years. When I started, I was the very lowest person in seniority in the department. When I retired, I was 4th, and held the rank of Lieutenant.

While training varies from state to state, you should understand that the academy teaches the BASICS for law enforcement. The department has it’s own policies as to how they want you to apply what you have learned and it may not be exactly as you were taught. Our academy was for the entire state. You departments policies and procedures will dictate a lot of you actions.

Be prepared for a lot of paper work. You really don’t know how much, until you do the job. Technology varies from department to department, so a lot of the hand written reports I did, were headed for being imputed on a computer.

In 21 years, I never regretted having to put on the uniform and go to work.
Each day of each week brought the un-expected. Never become complacent, it will get you hurt. CYA (cover you ass) is the first thing they taught us. Document all the facts.

Taking off the uniform does not relieve you of the responsibility of being a police office and to uphold the oath you take. That being said, do not handle every little thing that comes across your path. If it’s not life threatening or a felony, call it in or let it go. Have a life outside of policing.

You will find it hard on a marriage. It takes a special person to be married to a police officer. The various hours (it is a 24/7/365 days per year job.) You will miss out on family functions, holidays. Jealousy can come into play (If one person on your department cheats on their spouse, you all do, many believe.) You will work in all types of weather environments. You will find some friends shy away from you and no longer hang out with you. You will have a new family, the law enforcement family of all those in your department as well as other agencies you deal with.

You will see man’s inhumanity to man.
You will experience a satisfaction few experience when you are involved in a case that dramatically effects someone’s life, be it a life saving incident, a case being solved, an arrest of a violent criminal, are a few examples.

Good luck, it won’t make you rich, but I would not have traded any other job for it.

I am currently enrolled at SUNY Canton for the Bachelors in Criminal Investigations. I am also looking forward to a career in law enforcement.

Luckily for me this program is very hands on we get 60 hours of training in interviews and interrogations, forensic photography, fingerprints, narcotics investigation, ethics, homicide investigation, and crime scene analysis. That’s 60 hours for each topic.
I just recently finished the narcotics investigation class. For about 10 minutes spent buying fake drugs, our team of 5 had 44 hours of paper work.

We have to build cases, and then defend them in a mock trial defended and prosecuted by professors who have their J.D. Interesting stuff, I’m not saying it is perfect, but it gives a lot of pre-exposure before the academy.

[quote]MikeyKBiatch wrote:
I am very interested in becoming a police officer also and will be doing a ride along within the next couple of weeks. I do have a question though…

I have a clean record right now but I did smoke a lot of pot last year and tried mushrooms a couple of times. I no longer do anything and I have never dealt drugs or anything like that.

I know I have to go through a lie detector test and plan to be completely honest about everything. Out of your experience, will this keep me from becoming a cop? Thanks for any insight and sorry for the thread hijack.[/quote]

Well I would look into the Vermont State Police. They only require that you are drug free for a year, have a high school diploma, and pass the pt test. But don’t take my word for it, look up their site and then decide.

[quote]Irish Muscle wrote:
You just want to be a cop so you can eat donuts and drink coffee.

[/quote]

Totally. How dumb is he not tto realise that he can eat those as a civilian and have them taste just as sweet.

[quote]Irish Muscle wrote:
You just want to be a cop so you can eat donuts and drink coffee.

[/quote]

This brought to mind an important and often overlooked side effect of being a cop. When you work midnights, pack your own meals cause there isn’t any place open at those hours that serves anything remotely healthy!

A buddy of mine from a neighboring department was complaining that he put on 10 pounds in the month since he switched to midnights cause not only was he not working out like he used to, he was taking his meal at the 24 hour Coney Island joint! Cops are in the donut and coffee shops cause nothing else is open at 4 am! D’oh!

How about the extra bonus of getting to use illegal gear (anabolics) with no consequences (you know Ronnie Coleman’s a cop, right?)

Yes, that’s right. Just because the Arlington, TX Police Department let Ronnie get away with it, that means we’re all using juice. Heck, we, even get discounts!

That’s one of the few things that I actually DON’T love about this job. Everything you do is scrutinized by people who have NO FREAKING CLUE what your job, or your life, is like.

These same people would never dream of telling a firefighter how to put out a fire, or tell a paramedic how to save a life. But ANYONE can tell a cop how to do our job.

Please…

Fucking pigs.

Wow, how orginal.

[quote]DanErickson wrote:
Fucking pigs.[/quote]

6 ft. 184 pounds. guess this is the safest place for you to say that.