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Old 09-10-2018, 11:19 AM   #1
Bossassturtle
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20 years old looking for LEO career

Hello All,

As the title states it all Iím looking to a career in Law Enforcement. I have my written and physical test coming up on the 26th and looking for any advice any LEOís are willing to provide on how to prepare for written. If all goes as planned I will have 40 college units by summer which is when Iíll be 21 and all applicantions will start flying. Iím looking into SJ and Campbell as a possible home for this career I choose to persue but I understand you canít be picky since not everyone will give you a call back. Also if anyone may be willing to share what they personally see making people ďthe best candidateĒ for the job may be.. I find myself giving a lot of self doubt of who the hell is going to want to hire a 21 year old kid weighing ~135 pounds but thatís not stopping me from giving it a try! Iím from the San Jose and even if any would be willing to meet with me would be awesome too! I understand there coffee with a cop event but working retail ties that up for me and I personally would like a more 1 on 1 with someone that is willing to take time out of their day to maybe just give me advice from their experience and what they believe would be best for me to do in order to be prepared for what I may experience during my process of wanting to be a LEO. Thank you all in advance for any type of info you may have!

-Daniel
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Old 09-10-2018, 12:16 PM   #2
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Couple of points.

Stay in school. 40 college units isn't even an AA degree... that will disqualify you by almost all departments. Tons of applicants either have bachelor's degrees or military experience... or both.

Do your research. Go on ride alongs. Only apply to a handful of departments. On every application you'll have to list ALL the departments you've ever applied to. If they see that you've applied to 15 other departments, it's obvious you don't want to work there are are just looking for anywhere to hire you. In other words, red flag.

If you haven't already, look into the sheriff's department's other positions, particularly in corrections. This is a great in.

Look into putting yourself through an academy. This will make you a much stronger applicant, as a lot of departments aren't looking to hire non-academy grads/non laterals.

Start training for the academy now. If you can't get over the 6 foot wall, start practicing. If you can, great. Be able to run 3+ miles easily. Push ups are your friend.

Those are off the top of my head but the main points. If I'm going to be honest, you haven't a chance in hell at getting hired at 20 with no "ins" such as a parent or close relative in a high position (Lieutenant or higher). Nothing against you personally, but you have NO life experience, aren't even legally of age yet to carry a gun, no college experience, no military experience... in other words you have nothing going for you. Again, nothing personal, but each department may have only a select few spots they're looking to fill, and will have hundreds of applicants, many of whom will be extremely qualified. Bachelors degrees, sometimes even masters, aren't uncommon. Military experience as well.

So yeah, stay in school and get your AA AT MINIMUM. Bachelors is your best bet to even be on par with many of the other applicants. Look into another path into the department, such as parking enforcement, corrections, reserve officer program, etc.

Good luck.
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Old 09-10-2018, 12:51 PM   #3
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Getting BA/BS or higher degree will help you advance faster in this career(P.O.S.T Certificate-wise). Finish your college if you can. However, It is not a deal breaker. Keep in mind some departments do require specific numbers of college credits or degree.

SJPD has a volunteer program. Applicants go through similar, definitely less rigorous though, hiring process as PD. It gives you great opportunity to find out how the hiring process works and to mingle with cops who will give you insights, tips, etc.

http://www.sjpd.org/bfo/community/volt/

Putting yourself through academy is a plus. Shows dedication.

Do your homework and find out about department / city you are applying for. and figure out how you can be an asset to the city and the department.

There is a company out there who preps you for an interview. I can't think of the name.

start exercising and get in shape. It varies on academies - Expect to run 3+ miles everyday or every other day and running is the easy part.

Avoid drugs and getting arrested.

Good luck.
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Old 09-10-2018, 01:33 PM   #4
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What if he enlisted in to a Military Police MOS? Is that another path? Is it a good path? Does the specific service matter?
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Old 09-10-2018, 01:42 PM   #5
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What if he enlisted in to a Military Police MOS? Is that another path? Is it a good path? Does the specific service matter?
Not so much. The military experience is more of an indication they might be better suited for LEO work than Joe Schmoe off the street... but they could also be a terrible applicant. Some ex-military people may have PTSD, or tend to lean toward an aggressive outlook on things... both traits not conducive to the world of law enforcement. However, they may have skills that Joe Schmoe wouldn't have, such as facing life-threatening situations, tactical and weapons training, high-risk negotiations, etc.

So in a roundabout way of answering your question, it's more of an applicant by applicant basis. Military Police is very different from municipal LEO work, from what I've been told.
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Old 09-10-2018, 02:04 PM   #6
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Well, in that case he should try for Air Force Security Forces, as it's not, strictly speaking, a combat-arms MOS, so the likelihood of PTSD is lower.

https://www.airforce.com/careers/fea...ecurity-forces
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:10 PM   #7
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Stay in school. 40 college units isn't even an AA degree... that will disqualify you by almost all departments. Tons of applicants either have bachelor's degrees or military experience... or both.
That meets the requirements of both agencies he specifically stated he was interested in applying to.

To OP:
I just perused Campbell PD's recruiting website and they have a very helpful segment on their website that gives a good outline of everything you should consider, so I would Google that.

Read this post here. It's 12 years old and still holds up. As for the written test, go to your local library, check out the law enforcement practice booklets, and practice with some scratch paper. If you miss one, read the analysis on the answer for why you missed it. That's the route I did, and I scored higher on the written exam for my agency than anyone I've ever encountered.

Military helps big time. My agency (CHP) gives preferential hiring to veterans (or did when I applied). Even reserves or national guard are solid choices while you're still so young. They give you life experience, which is what agencies want.

Supposedly self sponsoring is good, but everyone I know who self sponsored never got picked up by any agency, so I can't say it makes a big difference. You're fortunate that right now, practically every major department is hurting for qualified people. What I would urge you to consider is applying at departments that you know need people, even if it's not your dream department, and transferring later on. For example, I have a friend who works at the Vallejo PD and they're looking for recruits. It's still a Bay Area department with solid pay and benefits, and within commute distance to the south bay.

I tell everyone this: consider the CHP. You get paid to go through the academy, you can transfer anywhere in the state, and we are always hiring. The San Jose office is also a location that many cadets get sent to straight out of the academy. We're currently negotiating a new contract, but our last one gave a guaranteed 5% raise every year for your first 5 years. We also get cost of living adjustments (as determined by some mildly complicated formula). The end result for me this year meant I got over a 10% raise, which isn't something you see often in the private sector or with many other departments.

Keep your nose clean. Be the designated driver if you go out with friends so you can avoid bar fights or the risk of a DUI. Marijuana is legal in California (once you turn 21), but still illegal federally, and still violates nearly all if not all department's' drug use policies. Steer clear of it. Don't associate with people who use it. If you're at a party and it's being used, leave.

Finally, don't be disappointed if you're not picked up right away. I decided I wanted to join the CHP when I was 18, and I didn't get my badge pinned on until I was 25. I went through college and four other career fields in that time. If you're really committed, be prepared to be patient.

Last edited by TheRiddler; 09-11-2018 at 10:23 PM.. Reason: Added more detail.
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Old 09-12-2018, 04:49 AM   #8
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I tell everyone this: consider the CHP.
Worst advice ever!
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Old 09-12-2018, 06:17 AM   #9
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Worst advice ever!
Can't Handle Policework ?
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Old 09-13-2018, 07:31 AM   #10
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I was 20 in the academy and 21 when I was sworn in.

I'm not exactly sure what's on the written tests now, but 7 years ago, it was pretty easy stuff. If you're still in school now, you'll have no problems with the written- in my opinion.

I think I was hired on early because I set my mind to being a cop and nothing else which showed during the interviews. I was denied by a few agencies because they assumed I didn't have life experience based on my age. I think it's hard to tell what someone has gone through by age.

Anyways, if you are capable and you believe in yourself, I think you'll get hired. Oh, and I never had self doubt. Stop doubting yourself.

Last edited by caideN; 09-13-2018 at 07:34 AM..
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Old 09-13-2018, 08:25 AM   #11
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CHP has done some recruiting at moto events I have attended.
I wonder how you find those folks. The ones I have talked to have been great.
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Old 09-14-2018, 11:23 AM   #12
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Worst advice ever!
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Can't Handle Policework ?

Last edited by TheRiddler; 09-14-2018 at 11:24 AM..
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Old 09-14-2018, 10:33 PM   #13
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Not sure where 29566 gets his info, but a majority of agencies hire with no college credits needed. Just about every agency is hiring right now as there is a major shortage of qualified candidates and many don’t make it through training. If you’re qualified and a good candidate , I know many officers hired lately at 21-23 years old. Check out San Jose, Oakland, Fremont, Livermore, any Sheriffs Dept and the CHP.

It will help to have a college degree or military experience as well as life experience, but lacking any of these will not disqualify you. Good luck
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Old 09-15-2018, 06:56 AM   #14
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Not sure where 29566 gets his info, but a majority of agencies hire with no college credits needed. Just about every agency is hiring right now as there is a major shortage of qualified candidates and many don’t make it through training. If you’re qualified and a good candidate , I know many officers hired lately at 21-23 years old. Check out San Jose, Oakland, Fremont, Livermore, any Sheriffs Dept and the CHP.

It will help to have a college degree or military experience as well as life experience, but lacking any of these will not disqualify you. Good luck
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Old 09-17-2018, 06:35 AM   #15
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Not sure where 29566 gets his info, but a majority of agencies hire with no college credits needed. Just about every agency is hiring right now as there is a major shortage of qualified candidates and many donít make it through training. If youíre qualified and a good candidate , I know many officers hired lately at 21-23 years old. Check out San Jose, Oakland, Fremont, Livermore, any Sheriffs Dept and the CHP.

It will help to have a college degree or military experience as well as life experience, but lacking any of these will not disqualify you. Good luck
Personal experience speaking with both an academy coordinator who's been running that particular academy for close to 10 years now. He said every class he gets is 90% or higher bachelor's degree graduates.

Additionally, speaking with hiring officers, who have told me they get hundreds of applicants for a single opening. When 2/3 or more have bachelor's degrees, those without a college degree or military experience, or both, are almost always tossed out without a further look.

Maybe things have changed, but a college degree is only going to help, especially if he wants to do anything except beat work for 30 years.
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