LEOs and Military: Why did you join?


January 6, 2003, 07:52 PM
Why did you and others in your line of work join up?

Was it for noble ideals like wanting to defend our country and constitution, or for a more practical reason of wanting money (hard-earned, at that!) for college?

Are most LEOs interested in helping people or what?

Just curious....


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January 6, 2003, 07:56 PM
Meaningful work, rewarding, sense of excitement.

January 6, 2003, 07:58 PM
I really did have the noble ideals of protecting my nation... mixed with a healthy dose of getting to play soldier and shoot stuff! :D

That is why I went Army infantry... and on from there.

I have a sibling who is an LEO same reason; To protect and serve .... and to drive really fast and kick the stuffin' outta the bad guys.... So they say.

Why I got out?
A completely different story...


January 6, 2003, 07:58 PM
I originally joined the Navy partly out of patriotism, partly because it sounded like a cool job with lots of travel, and partly because I didn't know what the hell else to do as an unmotivated 17 year old fresh out of high school.

I went back into the reserves after 7 years of civilianhood after the 9/11 attacks. I didn't want to sit there on my thumbs while my civilization was being attacked, but do SOMETHING constructive.

I had considered reserves on and off for years, mainly because I missed the people and the esprit de corps, but always waffled on rejoining. Now I'm very glad to be back.

January 6, 2003, 07:59 PM
When I joined ('92, out in '97 - honorable discharge) I wasn't ready for college, and didn't know what I wanted to do...but I knew what I did NOT want to do. Namely, work at a McGrease for minimum wage. So, the Navy seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm undecided as to whether I liked it or not, but it was definitely good for me.

I guess it kind of boiled down to...nothing better to do.

January 6, 2003, 08:22 PM
For me is was a simple means of survival. Coming from a tourist town with relatively few industries either you worked seasonal, for the paper mill or for the Air Force Base.

The Army was a way of getting out. Did my time and when they offered me a medical out with a bit of disability it was time again to consider finances. I thought....get a small check monthly and see my children grow up or stick it out and miss life for bit more of a check. I chose out..

When I got out I joined Corrections because...yep..Finances. Best paying job around.

Patriotism isn't why I joined the military. It was something I learned while there.

Good Shooting

El Tejon
January 6, 2003, 08:23 PM
I joined to sit behind a desk and talk on the phone. I got my wish!:D

January 6, 2003, 08:26 PM
I joined the Navy and became a Corpsman because I had to get the hell outta the dead-end town I was in and turn around the dead-end life path I was treading. It worked.

January 6, 2003, 08:28 PM
The most difficult question asked. Why did you become a cop? I still don't know how to answer that without it sounding textbook. Some of it is giving back to the community through service, some of it is fulfilling a goal, some of it is having a dynamic career, part of it was that I was a concientious objector from 1992 to 2001 (status lost after last elections).
Still don't know how to answer that question.

4v50 Gary
January 6, 2003, 08:43 PM
Most guys I know (LE) needed a job and liked the idea of serving the community.

Average Guy
January 6, 2003, 08:45 PM
I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to be a cop, but knew that as middle-class white-bread boy, I was in no way prepared for it. When I got out, they weren't hiring people of my color and gender, so I went back to school.

Ten years later, I'm back to trying to get into law enforcement (my Filipino wife got fast-tracked). Why? Because my wife makes 30% more than I do. I figure, why not work where I'll get paid to do things I like? Where I can go home with maybe a sense of satisfaction on a good day. Plus, the variety of jobs/opportunities is very appealing to a guy like me, who gets distracted very easily. The "helping people" part, for me, is purely tangential.

January 7, 2003, 01:32 AM
Joined the Navy out of highschool due to lack of funds for college and they offered the best schools.

January 7, 2003, 04:54 AM
in my family service is, "the price you pay for citizenship."
if you are male and not disqualified from service, you are expected to serve one term.
i did mine 77 to 81

navy rules for a gunfight.
stay 3 miles offshore
send marines
drink coffee

January 7, 2003, 05:11 AM
Army 1983 to 1992. I farmed for a couple of years after I got married but couldn't make a go of it. I joined the Army because I needed a job and because of all the stories my dad told about his time in service. I loved my time in but I got out to be with my kids while they are growing up.

January 7, 2003, 05:24 AM
I joined for two reasons. First, I have a liberal arts degree in history...um, hello, MceeDee's? Then there was the fact that my dad served in the National Guard, and it looked like a good experience for jobs in the civilian world. The only trouble is, where else can you get a job where you are expected to fire weapons frequently, go to the field (aka extreme camping) a lot, and be responsible for over 70 people, (both the good and the bad things)? :cool:

The patriotic feeling definitely came later..once I was in...

Plus they paid for some of my college and got me the hell out of the cold a** midwest!...that was a nice incentive..:D


January 7, 2003, 05:24 AM
Meaningful work, rewarding, sense of excitement.I guess it kind of boiled down to...nothing better to doPatriotism isn't why I joined the military. It was something I learned while there.
yup, that's me. I sucked horribly my first quarter at college, and hit it up because all of a sudden everything I had planned out for my life was gone, and I knew from my dad that you could get a sense of direction out of the army.

not knowing the details about it, I got into the ROTC program, ended up staying in college, and am in an 11B national guard company until I graduate, at which time I go immediate active duty.

January 7, 2003, 07:18 AM
Viet Nam, the draft.:)

Life is the greatest show on earth and cops have a front row seat. Besides, I didn`t want to work until 65 and drop dead 2 years later.
I retired at 47 and haven`t done anything for money I didn`t want to do. Of course that pesky heart attack slowed me down some. :cuss:

January 7, 2003, 07:33 AM
Joined the Navy to "see the world". Saw it from the deck of a Carrier.

Left, and vowed never to wear a uniform again.

Worked private industry, Dull

Became a LEO to help people, make a difference.

Wore a uniform, took orders, don't know if I made a difference.

Both the Naval service and LEO service invaluable in lifes trials and tribulations.

January 7, 2003, 07:59 AM
Ever since I was little I wanted to be a soldier. I like all things military so that is the way I wanted to go in life.

There was also a sense of family history and patriotism. All the males on my Dad's side of the family served our nation. My Dad was a WWII vet as was all of his brothers (except the youngest who became a Korean War vet). My grandad was a WWI vet.

When I was 5 or so, while at the county fair, my dad toke me into the USMC recruiters van, the Sergeant there sat down and filled out enlistment papers for me, I swore the oath and he gave me a lance corporals patch and bunch of brochures. I remember this well to this day.

January 7, 2003, 08:20 AM
Joined the Navy (75-79) because I didn't have anything else to do. Lived in a small town with no future working for my Dad in a gas station. Dad gave up the business and I didn't want to make a career of pumping gas & washing windshields (That's right, full service!).
Navy recruiter stopped in for gas quite often and he was a shooter. He'd sometimes leave guns with me to try out, pick them back up next time he came through. One day I said give me the papers, where do I sign.

Sleeping Dog
January 7, 2003, 08:28 AM
I was "personally invited" by President Johnson to report to Fort Wayne for induction.

I still think the draft is a good idea.


Monte Harrison
January 7, 2003, 09:17 AM
I really did have the noble ideals of protecting my nation... mixed with a healthy dose of getting to play soldier and shoot stuff! I had this too, along with the fact that I was on the verge of flunking out of college so I felt like a real failure and needed to prove something to myself.

Became a cop out of sheer idealism; thought I could make a difference.

January 7, 2003, 10:26 AM
Military service was obligatory in South Africa. I decided to volunteer for a longer enlistment in the Permanent Force, and choose where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, rather than be made into an Army cook (as the draft board wanted to do to me!). '75-'78, South African Navy, electronic warfare & communications. Learned a lot, got the youthful stubborn self-centered trip knocked out of me, helped to make me a man... also combat experience (on detachment to the guys in brown), which had a profound and life-changing impact on me. Further combat experience during the '80's and early '90's, on callup and as a civilian, in a civil war situation. All of that helped me to change my career direction entirely, and become a pastor.

I got into LE (specifically, prison work) as a chaplain after many years of trying. It seems that LEO's in general, and CO's in particular, are looked down upon by too many in the church. I've found quite a few of them to be men and women who genuinely want to make their world a better place to live. I've been associated with them as a Special Deputy in a Sheriff's Dept. for the past four years, as well as visiting chaplain at a couple of prisons. When the chance arose to go full-time with the BOP, I didn't hesitate, and I have no regrets about it today. CO's are great people to work with, and one can, indeed, make a difference in some inmates' lives (not many, alas... but that's their call, not mine).

January 7, 2003, 10:27 AM
1. Personal opinion: if you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Period. I decided to be part of the solution. *shrug*

2. What this guy said:Life is the greatest show on earth and cops have a front row seat.Where else can you hear the following conversation, between a cop responding to a domestic, and the male half (seated outside and sporting a massive lump on his head)?

Cop: What happened?

Male: She hit me inda head wit da smoothie.

Cop: The...what?

Male: Da smoothie.

Cop: what, was it frozen or something?

Male: Huh? No! What are you talkin 'bout?

Cop: OK...whats a smoothie?

Male: You know, a smoothie. That thing you use to smooth the clothes.

Cop: Heh...you mean an iron?

Male: Yeah...iron, smoothie, whatever, she hit me with it.

See what I mean? And you get paid to be there! How cool is that?


January 7, 2003, 10:44 AM
Joined the Navy (75-79) because I didn't have anything else to do.

Yep, thats why I did. Oh.....to be 18 again :(

Bob R
January 7, 2003, 11:16 AM
Fresh out of high school, bought the "see the world" slogan the Navy was using.

Did just that, 37 countries in 21 yrs. 1971-1992


H Romberg
January 7, 2003, 12:11 PM
I always knew I'd spend some time in the military. Everybody in our family does. At a more realistic level though, It made sense at the time. I was 19, a college drop-out, no real goals, serious need of self-discipline, etc. Turned out it was the right thing to do. It even topped the deal off by paying my way through the rest of college when I got out.

Shawn Dodson
January 7, 2003, 12:48 PM
Let's see...

I was a troublemaker in high school. I also cut classes because the classes I was required to take weren't challenging and bored the bejesus out of me. I was getting into so much trouble at school, plus I saw high school as a big waste of time, that I voluntarily disenrolled myself during my Junior year and enlisted in the USN. I wanted to be a missile tech aboard a ballistic missile submarine, which is what I became. I spent almost 9 years in the USN as a missile tech then got out and eventually became an engineer with the company that makes the missiles I used to work on as a sailor.

Spent a couple of years in the Maryland Army National Guard. Couldn't see wasting all that active duty time and thought I might as well make the time apply towards a military retirement.
Went to OCS.

Spent 3 years in the Washington Army National Guard in an armor company. "Four wheeling" in an M1 Abrams tank over in Yakima looked like (and was) a lot of fun. Got out because our training budget kept getting cut for "Bosnia," which was pretty frustrating.

Served for 7 years as a reserve law enforcement officer because I enjoyed serving my community and thought the experience would be great to help me develop military leadership skills.

January 7, 2003, 01:03 PM
1964, VietNam was heating up, and the Marine OSO promised me the chance to fight it from the air. Presto. It never seriously occurred to me not to fight my country's war. Still wouldn't. Agree or not, if there's war, I gotta help.
TFL Survivor

January 7, 2003, 01:04 PM
I received a personal invitation from the President of the United States. How ever could I have refused something like that? :D

Ala Dan
January 7, 2003, 02:19 PM
Hello All,

At the time it was something that I wanted to do; on
both account's. I don't regret the decision's one bit!
Would I do it all over again? YES, in a heart beat.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

January 7, 2003, 03:02 PM
Conscription. Did my year with the Finnish Defence Forces, got out as sergeant, went back a couple of times for updates, will be rotating in reserve until 60. Great experience that _everybody_ shares, good leadership training, good practical skills for everyday life. Wish my wife had gone too (the ladies still have to volunteer here... :p )

January 7, 2003, 08:00 PM
I joined the Marines because I felt that I wasn't ready for college. I had the intelligence to do well, but I didn't have the focus or willpower to buckle down and make use of the brains I had. I decided that I'd join the military. I checked with all the recruiters to see what they'd offer. The Army, Navy, and Air Force took 1 look at my ASVAB scores and bent over backwards telling me how great their services were and what wonderful things they could do for me. The Marine recruiter sat there and said he'd give me the toughest and worst 13 weeks of my life, followed by another 3.75 years of things that decent people wouldn't wish on a criminal. I figured at least he was honest. Since my grandfather and my father had both been Marines, I knew what I would be getting into with the Marines where as the other recruiters seemed to try and give me a song and dance.

I even ended up extending a year while I was in.

January 7, 2003, 08:17 PM
I had a pretty good job working for a wireless company for 4 1/2 years when 9-11 happened. I was no longer married, was not in a serious relationship, and had no children. I waited long enough to see if Bush was going to just pull a Clinton and fire some cruise missiles, then enlisted in the Army a month before my 30th birthday. I figured it would be hypocritical to send others off to fight and die if I was not willing to go.

11C: Death and Destruction from Above!

January 7, 2003, 09:09 PM
I have served my entire adult life in the armed forces of this country. I would still be there if my body were up to the rigors of the airborne infantry. The doctors say it is not. I, and the young men I served with saw it as an honor, and a sacred duty, to go where others would not , to do what others were unwilling to do.
There are sheep, and there are sheepdogs. I do not resent the sheep, and would not like to see them forced to do the job of a sheepdog.
" And that's all I've got to say about that."

Bob A
January 7, 2003, 09:27 PM
I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to be a cop, but knew that as middle-class white-bread boy, I was in no way prepared for it. When I got out, they weren't hiring people of my color and gender, so I went back to school.

Pretty much the same, but I wasn't 21 yet, and the chief told me that an enlistment made the civil service people feel easier about hiring a white male in the current state of affairs. Of course, that chief retired, and things changed a lot, and the effort was to actively recruit women and minorities.

I also worked as an Auxiliary Deputy Sheriff for 4 years. It was an eye opening experience. I just put an application in for the PD in my city. I'm sure one of the questions will be "Why do you want a career in LE, and I could make an asnwer they will love, but the simple truth is that is just what I want to do.

USMC 1986-1992, USMCR 1992-1997

Auxiliary Deputy 1997-2001

Think about the darkest, scariest alley in your town.

You wouldn't go in there for a million bucks.

A cop does it every day for a lot less.

An auxiliary cop does it free.

Robby from Long Island
January 7, 2003, 09:32 PM
When I graduated high school in l960, most of my buddies either went to college or joined the service. I chose the navy and never regretted it.

A lot of it had to do with patriotism but the chance to see the world played a big part too.

First duty station was an airborn early warning squadron in Patuxent River, MD. and then spent the last 2 years on an attack carrier.

It's amazing how many times in life you have to show your discharge papers to someone for whatever reason, and being able to have that "Honorable Discharge" gives you a very good feeling.

It was one of the things the Suffolk County PD wanted when I applied for a pistol license.

Spent a total of 8 years active and active reserve and regret not doing another 12.

Safe shooting.

January 7, 2003, 09:42 PM
I got into LE because I had the idealistic notion that I can make a difference.

It's ended up being making a difference for one or two folks, so I suppose that its been worth it so far.

January 7, 2003, 10:46 PM
cop because I originally got a charge with dude with authority aspect (which I theorize is the true motivation for the vast majority of cops), with a dose of seems like a noble endeavor, and a pinch of I don't know what else I would like to do at this stage in my like mentality

January 7, 2003, 11:34 PM
My immigrant Dad born in Poland to parents who were escaping the Russian communists did his time in the Army Air Corps in World War II.

My Father-in-Law, who was from Guam and was considered only fit to serve officers in the officers' mess, did his time in the Navy in WW II and had two ships shot out from under him. He never talked about his service and we did not discover that he was bonafide war hero until he died and we obtained his DD214.

My wife and I both owe a lot to this country. We both served in the Navy and are retired now.

I've been all over the world and-believe this-there is no place on earth I'd rather live than the US. With all its faults and its problems, it's the most free country in the world, with the best political system, the best Constitution and the best people from all walks of life. We love our country.

I'm now in law enforcement for the same reason I joined the service. I like the sense of serving, of giving back to the community for the freedoms I enjoy and I like to do my part to help and protect the weak and helpless.

Military and law enforcement work is not glamorous like the TV shows depict. Much of it is repetitive, dangerous, difficult and vexing. Who said life was easy?

I am a proponent of all young men and women serving their country in some fashion. It helps you appreciate what you have, learn some discipline and realize that you can do a lot more than you thought you could.

Sorry, that went on longer than I thought.

TFL# 8032

January 8, 2003, 01:05 AM
Military and LE...

Seemed like the thing to do at the time. Good/bad aspects to both. No regrets.

January 8, 2003, 02:15 AM
Didn't realize there were so many squids here.

I joined the Navy a couple years out of high school. I was working part time and going to school part time, sort of. Neither really held any interest.

I'd toyed with the idea of joining the military since junior high or earlier, even took some tours of ships, NSWC-BUD/s, and submarines with the Navy recuiter, who by the way, never lied to me.

One day, I realized that I'd never forgive myself if I didn't go and do, so I did. I had some of the best times of my life while in the Nav. Telling stories, about my Navy buddies and I, inspired a friend of mine to get into LE for the sense of comraderie as much as a decent living.

My reasons for getting out are less nebulous, but also less sound. That's life, though.

HM3(FMF) Thomas (1991-1995)

who me
January 8, 2003, 02:49 AM
I'm in the Air National Guard along with my dad, uncle, and cousin. One grandpa was in the Marines and the other was in the Army so I guess it kinda runs in the family. The money for college isn't bad either. :)

January 8, 2003, 06:56 AM
I joined the Air Force so I could do my part in keeping the country that I live in free. To ensure that my children will be able to grow up with the same freedoms that I had. Also to travel and see the world. And that I have. Been all over. From Kuwait to Korea and everywhere in between.

What will I miss most when I retire? All the people that I have served with from all over the U.S. that I wouldnt have had the opportunity to meet had I not joined. I have brothers and sisters from all over the U.S.

For example, I remember sitting around a table in Kuwait eating Christmas dinner with 12 others from my shift. These are guys and gals from all walks of life. Small town, Big city, ghetto or mountains. Didnt matter where they came from. You look at them like your family cause in essence they are. I will miss them and all the good and bad times we had together.

But the best thing about being Air Force. I get to work on these cool jets:D http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid46/p9e8d9b8c35b9cf652df5f4b4691931b2/fcce13c3.jpg

Steve in PA
January 8, 2003, 08:38 AM
Military - United States Marine Corps!!! Why?? Because of who and what they are. I had no desrire to go to college, and thought the experience would do me good. Plus I thought it would help me later in life (see second part of response). None of the other branches interested me and I am 110% glad that I joined the Corps. I got a bonus for going in Combat Infantry, primary MOS was 0351 Anti-tank Assault. I spent very little time in the US....going on 3 Med Cruises and spending several months in Beirut, Lebanon. I was there when they car bombed the US Embassy, however I was home and discharged when the blew up the Marine Barracks. I've recently joined several Marine Corps/Beirut Memorial web sites.

LEO - Because I always wanted to. Its hard to describe. Its like a dull ache.......pulling you a certain way. I didn't become a LEO until I was 37.......and again I'm glad I did. I guess some people would call it.......a calling I guess. I'm 110% glad I became a cop, I wouldn't trade this job for anything.

January 8, 2003, 08:50 AM
Navy recuiter, who by the way, never lied to me.

I think my recruiter got a job selling used cars when he retired. The guy might have had some nice guns to share but obviously had a quota to meet!

January 8, 2003, 09:30 AM
Very simple.

I wanted to be a Marine.

January 8, 2003, 02:42 PM
If you folks responding to this thread can serve as an example for today's service men and women, Saddam and his troops don't have a prayer.

By the way, I joined the Army because there was a war on (Korean) and I must say I really got to shoot a lot of guns (and get shot at, too).

It was the infantry for me (Seventh Division).

Sean Smith
January 8, 2003, 03:12 PM
I felt like I had to, even though nobody told me any such thing. Also, the fact that if I went to West Point then mom & dad wouldn't have to triple-mortgage the house to pay for college was a factor. Finally, I had no clue what to do with myself anyway.

January 8, 2003, 10:07 PM
cdbeaver, from what I've seen of the current crop of military folks, I think we have nothing to worry about.

But Sadam and UBL do.

Our folks are highly motivated, well-trained, well-equipped and protecting the interests of our country. I am confidant that when it comes down, they will flat take care of business...

TFL# 8032

January 8, 2003, 10:08 PM
One other thing.

Thanks to all vets who have served or are serving.

Thanks to all LEOs who are out there on the very, very thin blue line.

Remember absent friends.


January 9, 2003, 05:43 AM
Military: Why did you join? Seemed like the most sensible way to celebrate the 17th anniversary of my being born in the greatest county that this planet of ours has ever seen.

To serve in the greatest Navy on Earth was a priviledge and an honor.

To those that still serve, we are infinitely obliged to you for the liberty that we all cherish.

God bless America, and be sure to come home safe.

As to the enemies of this country, (foreign and domestic) you really must be clueless. Say your prayers varmints, you're gonna need them.:fire: :cuss: :fire:

January 9, 2003, 12:45 PM
I joined Le, because I had dreams of making a difference.
In spite of a legal system that works against doing so, I actually do make a difference now and then.
I love my job, but hate my dept. :banghead:

January 9, 2003, 03:52 PM
I enlisted in the military to serve my country. I selected the Infantry as my first MOS so that I could shoot things and blow stuff up. I selected JAG as my second MOS so that I could go swimming in Florida.:evil: (I had other reasons as well, but that one sealed the deal.;) )

January 9, 2003, 06:20 PM
and I joined because:

1) They pay me to be there
2) I get to shoot guns allot
3) Free ammunition
4) I forgot what else ???

January 9, 2003, 10:50 PM
Well, eary spring of 1965 and I'm graduating from high school. Vietnam is hot & heavy, I'm to poor to go to college. The draft is running hot, I'll be 18 in Sept. I just know I'd get sucked-up in the draft, so I go shopping to make my choice. I talked to them all.
Only the Marines told me the truth.
The recruiter told me that he could only "guarantee me a rifle, a pack and a hard f*****g time". He didn't lie.
1965-1985, two trips to RVN, 1/9, 9th Eng. Bn. and then.....
Twenty years & 2 days later, retired.

July 1985, got into LE on a dare, (but that's another story), and coming up on 18 years. It's a great job and you get paid too.

Autolite said it all.

January 10, 2003, 12:35 AM
After six months of the 6PM to 6AM shift in a diner as short order cook helper, a year of bowling alley pinsetting at a nickel a line (before machines) and realizing that WWII vets were still looking for work, I went USN in early 1949.

Best thing to ever happen to me workforce-wise. I'm still here, not laying in some mud on Pork Chop hill. I found a home and did twenty. Learned a lot - including a real heart thump when it comes to country.


January 10, 2003, 12:45 AM
Patriotism. My father retired from the USAF in 88. My first wife finally talked me into doing what I wanted and I joined up in 96. Did four years active and then joined the Texas Air National Guard. I still start to miss AD sometimes, but then another 90-day stint in the desert (or worse) takes it right out of me. I do love the education benefits and the fact that I am DOING SOMETHING. But I would do it for free if asked.

Freedom in theSkies
January 10, 2003, 01:18 AM
Not to be a bummer, but the reasons that I joined simply don't exist any more....
The Canadian Forces... There's no life like it....

January 10, 2003, 01:23 AM
‘Cause there are some things that need to be taken care of. Don’t like to ask others to shoulder my responsibilities. Sides, all my heroes as a kid were.

January 10, 2003, 01:27 AM
LEOs and Military: Why did you join?

It was the right thing to do.. ;)

January 10, 2003, 02:27 AM
I proudly signed up with the US Army in 1984 to become a highly sucessfull aircraft mechanic................mission accomplished!!

I re-upped for an extra 4 years to get the NAS Barbers Pt Hawaii assingment and had a total blast for the 7 years of so I spent as a CH 47 mechanic & crewchief.

January 10, 2003, 02:27 AM
I spent two years in the US Army, just to try it. I don't really think I appreciated it until I got out. When I went in I was 27 (I start most things late) and bored with my microelctronics job. Now I am working at getting into law enforcement at 43 (see what I mean by late) because...I am bored with my microelctronics job. Yeah, I might have made it to supervisor, but I need more of a challenge, and I'd like a real career.

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