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Thread: Showing interest before I become eligible.

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    Showing interest before I become eligible.

    The quick backstory; I am a Canadian citizen, married to an American citizen with 10 year permanent residence status that I acquired in May of 2011 (I was able to skip the 2 year due to the length of time we've been married). It is another two years before I can apply for citizenship so I am incapable of currently applying for any of the agencies I am interested in. In case my profile doesn't show it publicly, we live in New Mexico.

    I am aware that because of this I pretty much have only one option; sit and wait. However I am enrolling in a 2 year Criminal Justice degree to occupy that time, while working as an assistant manager at a local auto parts store.

    I am wondering if there is any thing I can do to "show interest" in particular agencies that would put me on record with them. I am not under the impression that this will guarantee me a job once I become a citizen, but I would like to have a foot in the door and be able to demonstrate that the interest has been there for multiple years. I figure I have two years to build a rock solid application and would like to do everything in my power possible during that time to make it happen.

    Any advice or experience on the matter is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Lead P1 Forums Moderator TopSite's Avatar
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    I am wondering if there is any thing I can do to "show interest" in particular agencies that would put me on record with them. I am not under the impression that this will guarantee me a job once I become a citizen, but I would like to have a foot in the door and be able to demonstrate that the interest has been there for multiple years. I figure I have two years to build a rock solid application and would like to do everything in my power possible during that time to make it happen.
    mwaterous,

    You say you are looking for a way to get your foot in the door. I would advise you to wait until you are getting very close to becoming a U.S. citizen and then file applications with the departments that you are interested in. Filing an application several years before you become eligible is probably a waste of time for both you and the department.

    As for filling your time by getting a Criminal Justice degree, it may fill your time but it may also be a waste of time. A CJ degree is not a guaratee that you will get a job in LE and it is not required by law enforcement agencies to become employed.

    You have to ask yourself, "What happens if I don't get a job in law enforcement?" "What good is a Criminal Justice degree?" Those of us who have been around law enforcement for a million years are quick to tell you that you should get a degree that will provide you with other job opportunities in the event your goal of getting into law enforcement is not accomplished.

    Below are several links that discuss the CJ degree

    Criminal Justice Degree - Who needs it?

    Is a Criminal Justice degree necessary? (There are numerous links within the thread)

    And finally, you are invited to read "10 Common ways not to get hired"

    Good luck in your endeavor!!!!!
    Last edited by TopSite; 08-23-2012 at 09:12 PM.

    I have never learned anything while I was talking!!!


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    I actually read a few of those threads (the first one is not working) when I first discovered these forums. I don't have anything negative in my past, and with a ridiculously large student loan, car loan, and multiple credit cards I haven't got a single negative on my credit report... I don't spend my spare time in the gym, as I prefer to be outdoors with my wife or doing many other things, but I am nonetheless physically fit and have no fear of my ability to spend long durations encumbered with heavy gear. I'm also not entitled, and don't expect to gain a career simply because I desire it.

    More to the focus of my question; what can I do to use that time wisely? I don't plan on wasting any individuals time with an application that will only be rejected. Perhaps there are extra-curricular activities that an agency might run that would allow me to meet and greet with those already a part of the industry? Silly thought but that's just a starting point. I wish to find tasks that will help me gain that job in law enforcement, and just to clarify although I haven't decided on a particular agency I am not just referring to local. I have a strong interest in DHS and DEA. I have lost friends and seen the effects first hand of what gangs and drugs do, and part of my interest is in taking some part (no matter how small) in helping with that issue. Please don't construe this to be another "rambo" wanting to take down the "bad guys". I've got no problem with 90% of my job being paper work. I repeat; any part I can contribute to, in any capacity.

    I am not taking CJ because I think it will solidify my app. I'm taking it because I would prefer to know the laws I may be asked to enforce. I already have a good job with a future should I choose to stay there, so it wouldn't hurt me at all to walk away with a piece of paperwork that doesn't necessary guarantee me a job.

    Anything else that may help?

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    Lead P1 Forums Moderator TopSite's Avatar
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    I am not taking CJ because I think it will solidify my app. I'm taking it because I would prefer to know the laws I may be asked to enforce.
    If you are taking CJ courses to learn what laws you will enforce, then you are taking them for the wrong reasons. If you should get to the point that you are involved in an oral interview, the interview board could care less what laws you know. They don't expect you to know the laws. The laws you will enforce will be taught to you at the police academy that you attend, with further training after graduation.

    Again, if you don't get a job in law enforcement, the CJ degree and your knowledge of laws will not be any benefit to you in the real world.

    By the way, the broken link above is fixed.
    Last edited by TopSite; 08-23-2012 at 10:40 PM.

    I have never learned anything while I was talking!!!


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    So the best advice for how to spend my time over the next couple of years while I await being able to apply is to... do nothing? That seems like a lousy preface to something so important; I've never encountered a career where extra credit was frowned upon.

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    Mwaterous,

    I would look into the agencies you are wanting to apply at in the future and see if they have any sort of volunteer program you may be eligible to participate in. My agency only currently accepts senior volunteers but that is specific to my agency, everywhere is different. I agree with Topsite that a Criminal Justice degree is not the "Be all, End all" consideration for agencies when accepting applications. However I disagree in the sense that I believe you will gain knowledge useful to a career in law enforcement. Additionally, once your degree is obtained, a large portion of your general education units will be satisfied and you can add other courses to obtain a degree in another field if you so choose. Any education is good education and in my own personal opinion should not be discouraged. It appears you are interested in specific forms of law enforcement, please be aware that those assignments rarely start at entry level, and you will most likely have to put in quiet a few years on the street in order to gain enough experience to be a good canidate in those fields. In the mean time in addition to your CJ classes, if you are able to find trainings available to the public that are Drug/Gang related it might help build your knowledge in these fields. Be aware as to not make yourself a "pest" to your future application agencies. Don't go on excessive ride alongs, don't email the Recruiting Officer or other department figures expressing your interest. Complete your citizenship, maintain your physical fitness, work on your oral interview skills and apply when you are able. Best of luck to you in reaching your goals!

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    Twiddling your thumbs is a very hard thing to do for a year knowing there's two more to go, but I don't intend on becoming a pest either. I hadn't even thought of a ride along, and will probably continue along without. I'm starting a little later on in life, having just left my 20's behind, so I was simply trying to be as efficient as possible without being annoying. Thank you for the advice Sarah!

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    Verified LEO eljefe241's Avatar
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    I'm sensing some push-back because you're not getting the responses you wanted. Okay, fine ... And, with all due respect to Sarah's comments, I must agree with TopSite about the CJ degree. If you have time to prepare, use it productively.

    You can major in Business (for example) and take a few CJ classes like Intro to CJ, Intro to Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, etc, and those can be useful regardless of a career path. It's a waste of time to take criminal investigations, drug law, and such unless you're an active officer. Most info will be ancient history by the time you get hired.As we keep harping on, the reality is the degree is not a sure thing for getting hired. And, even with a degree and getting hired, you won't be working detectives, CSI, K9s, motors or SWAT just because you have the piece of paper. Lots of damned fine cops have a GED or HS diploma ...

    Sarah's suggestion to get time as a volunteer or, perhaps, as a Community Service Officer (that may not require citizenship; it's non-sworn), or just activities within various community organizations all help. The job is often more about contacts and ability to effectively interact than "legal knowledge" ... In the interim, get in top shape, learn to shoot and perhaps some skills in Akido, etc.

    It's well worth contacting local agencies to confirm what the hiring standards are rather than guessing. Keep in mind the jobs are getting scarce and vets will be filling many positions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eljefe241 View Post
    I'm sensing some push-back because you're not getting the responses you wanted. Okay, fine ... And, with all due respect to Sarah's comments, I must agree with TopSite about the CJ degree. If you have time to prepare, use it productively.
    No push back, in fact it's actually you guys who have been more focused on the CJ degree than myself. I mentioned it as an avenue I was exploring to get prepared, and I in no way shape or form suggested it was my hope that it would a) guarantee me a job, or b) prepare me completely for what I was getting in to. I'd be more than happy to stop discussing it actually.

    As for using my time productively, that was what had me taken aback with TopSite's response. There was no suggestion of how to use that time productively, just negative viewpoints on those items I have entertained on my own.

    I am imploring help from those who are experienced, I fully expect that I haven't got a clue. Maybe if I rephrased the question? If you were a rookie again, in fact if you had time before becoming a rookie to fill up, what do you think would have been most beneficial a use of that time?

    I'm not looking for things to do that will help me if I don't get this career; I already have two careers I can fall back on. So I'm already prepared for that possibility, in fact I'm already living that possibility. I am however asking what options I have for improving my chances of making this a long term career.

    So far all I've heard is that my choices for improving that possibility are bad choices, and almost a hint of "why are you even bothering". Alright, what are my good choices? Top shape, I can work on improving that, no doubt about it. I'm not a bad shot, but I can always improve that and am at the range quite frequently to do just that. It's great you mention Aikido, I had two years of that when I was a teenager... all but forgotten now, other than that I was definitely impressed by the capabilities of our teacher and the overall focus. That's something I hadn't thought of, and signing up for classes would be fun even if it never benefits me career wise.

    I don't know if your second statement was due to thinking I was trying to infer something? I know it doesn't take a degree to make a good officer, infantrymen, detective... anything. It takes being the right person more than anything else. I just have the time on my hands, so I figured if it would help I would do it.

    In the end, all I'm trying to say is that I'm willing to work hard just for the possibility. Not sure how that's come across wrong.

  10. #10
    Verified LEO eljefe241's Avatar
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    Let's start with the Top 2 Reasons Trainees fail: Report Writing and Officer Safety. Your writing skills appear pretty solid, far better than the average poster. Taking a LE college report writing class can help, as the style and content aren't the same as those for books or technical articles.

    Officer safety issues generally arise from lack of legal knowledge, poor observation skills, fear of getting hurt (unable/unwilling to fight, getting stuck with needles, catching diseases, etc), fear of making contacts (see above), and - too often - being naive.

    You could certainly take course work in human behavior, criminal behavior, and sociology; all are useful.

    But, as noted, some actual volunteer/paid time within an agency as non-sworn does several things. First, you learn a bit about the culture, the actual work and the community. Second, they learn a bit about you before considering you as an employee. Third, you can decide if the job - and the agency - are a 'good fit' for you and them ...

    You may discover, as many folks do, this isn't what you thought it would be. For example, many think police work is about "helping people"; nice thought but wrong profession. Too many think it's like TV/movies and involves high-speed chases, fights and gun battles. It's all glamor and romance. Yeah, occassionally a naked woman will answer the door and try to hop your bones but they were commonly 250 pounds, 85 years old and butt-ugly.

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    Verified LEO Spike126's Avatar
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    For the umpteenth time (see many other posts) let me respond as to why we are not in favor of the CJ degree. Statistics show us, and since I taught at my state's academy I have first hand knowledge, that 45% of all recruits to the police field are out of policing within 2 years. Either they voluntarily separated because they discovered it wasn't what they believed it was going to be, they failed the FTO Program and were terminated, or they were injured and received a disability off of the job. So when nearly HALF of all recruits aren't making it and they come onto the job armed with a CJ degree, which is applicable nowhere else, they have just wasted over 2 years of their life and are back at step 1. The problem lies in that many, not all, CJ Programs come from paper mills. The curriculum is questionable, the majority of staff have NEVER worked in the LE field, and the degree itself is really only of benefit if you already are on the job. Since you already possess a 'fall-back' degree in another area you are pretty much set as far as degrees go. Its the staying in shape, improving your people and physical skills, doing volunteer or paid CSO jobs with a local or state agency, doing ride alongs, looking into a possible internship, that will best serve you in your endeavor.

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    Verified LEO eljefe241's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spike126 View Post
    The problem lies in that many, not all, CJ Programs come from paper mills. The curriculum is questionable, the majority of staff have NEVER worked in the LE field, and the degree itself is really only of benefit if you already are on the job. .
    In CA, many of these AA/AS degrees/certificates come via community colleges. The faculty is commonly retired or, as adjunct, active duty LEOs. Some may have 10 years of experience and some have one year of experience ten times. I've seen program directors who worked for the equivilent of Mayberry get Masters degrees and be running a college CJ program without truly having much (any?) patrol or investigative time.

    The Big Problems are (a) the curriculums are usually out-dated from Day One; (b) most the classes aren't relevant to actual police work or, sadly, even to practical research; (c) the number of actual graduates is miniscule and -worse - very, very few graduates ever get hired.

    My long-time observation is the majority of CJ students are Badge Bunnies, weirdos, gang-bangers trying to 'get over', jocks too dumb to have a useful major and retain eligibility, and guys that like camo hats and use Hoppe's #9 as aftershave ... Maybe one out of a hundred shows any promise.

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    Lead P1 Forums Moderator TopSite's Avatar
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    mwaterous,

    I am curious. Have you ever been arrested for anything in Canada or the U.S.?? Have you ever been placed in a jail in either country??

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    Verified LEO co809's Avatar
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    One more issue here, weapons qual. I am seeing an increase in cadets failing the weapons portion because of societies attitudes towards weapons. I have had numerous cadets show up without ever having fired a weapon, and expecting us to get them to the level they need to be at in 3-4 months. You may want to go down to your local shooting club and send some lead downrange. You can never practice too much with your tools. Other than that I agree with my esteemed fellow posters.
    Don't waste your time with the CJ degree. It teaches you little of what you will need. If you want to learn the local laws, go down to the courthouse and check out the law library; or go on-line and start familiarizing yourself with the basics. I will join the choir here and tell you the CJ degree is a waste of time and money in 99.99% of cases. If your prospective employer requires it, that is different; but as of right now I don't know of any agency that requires it. Enhance your communication skills and continue to hone your writing skills. Good luck!
    Last edited by co809; 08-26-2012 at 05:02 PM.

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    Verified LEO co809's Avatar
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    Now I am not happy...I did some research on out friend mwaterous.... here is what he posted on a site called Club4g.org:

    Yeah, those police officers who are assigned to traffic to fight traffic crime, they should be out... fighting... something else. The nerve!
    OP, where's the video?! Where's your GoPro? Where's your smart phone?! I thought it was a mandatory purchase with the gt?


    Then in the forums at forums.opencarry.org he posted this when asked if a citizen needs to show a serial # on a weapon when asked by police, and if he can stop the officer from doing so:

    Is this a trick question? Because... yes, you're damn right I'd stop him (unless this is a trick question wherein police officer is theoretically drawing down on me, in which case he'll be stopped later on in court, hopefully shortly after becoming jobless).

    Mwaterous, your background investigator will find these comments as I have. This attitude is not professional or in line with what most departments are looking for. I think you have a lot of growing up to do before anyone puts a gun in your hands and a badge on your chest.
    Last edited by co809; 08-26-2012 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Toned down the frustration a little
    rangersgt and delzo70 like this.

 

 
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