Police officers come inside.


July 18, 2003, 11:42 PM
I am a criminal justice student and want to persue law enforcement. K9 officer is what i would really like to do.

i am just looking for good tips of any kind, to make me stand above the crowd when recruitment time comes.

weight training and marathon training start August 25th.

but any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Classes to take, not to take, anything at all.

Thanks everyone

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July 19, 2003, 01:07 AM
I'd recommend taking lots of english grammar classes and anything to help you with report writing. I'm not downing what you've written so far. I'm just warning you that when you arrest someone and take them to court, how you write it up is vital to getting convictions. Creative writing and grammar will benefit you in any career choice, but especially in law enforcement.


Sylvilagus Aquaticus
July 19, 2003, 01:18 AM
I'm not a LEO nor have I ever been, but I'm pretty practical and realistic. If you live in or near a large urban center or in the Southwest, I'd strongly consider taking conversational foreign language classes. Here in Dallas you need to have at least a comprehension of Spanish; in fact our Dallas PD pays a bonus ( a meager one) to officers who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, Laotian, or Chinese. I'd go so far as to add Arabic, Pashtun, and Urdu to that list, depending on the ethnicity breakdown where you want to live and work.

We are a nation of immigrants, and that's not going to change. Legislating English as a national language will not change the realities that we're an incompletely molten pot these days.

I speak Spanish, Finnish, and some Russian. I can get by ok with German and French, but I'm teaching myself Arabic and for grins, Gaelic.


July 19, 2003, 02:10 AM
Black92LX, finish up the course you're doing then think university/college. Do a degree. Degrees open doors that are closed to a guy with a community college certificate.
A phone call or a trip to the local constabulary will tell you more than anything you'll pick up here. Go talk to the local Dept. Ask them. They really aren't bad guys.

July 19, 2003, 05:11 AM
Learn to speak Spanish or another language that will come in handy where you go to work at.


Mark Tyson
July 19, 2003, 08:42 AM
Think about an EMT (emergency medical technician) course at your local college.

July 19, 2003, 09:44 AM
Pursue the degree and while you are doing that, join a police explorer post or department reserve program in your area.

another okie
July 19, 2003, 10:23 AM
Accounting, Spanish, computers. Anything that makes you write, such as English, history or social science.

July 19, 2003, 10:28 AM

Do everything you can do to become a good writer. In my experience most of the probationary police officers who fail to complete probation do so because they can't write. The good police academies have come to realize this and are now placing heavy emphasis on the report writing area of training.

Don't rely on the police academy to teach you how to write. By then it is too late, plus all your examples of report writing are on display for any background investigating officer who chooses to look at them. My academy kept all of my training reports in my file.

You can help yourself to learn to write well by just reading. Don't just read for entertainment. Don't just read for information. Study how the author formed his thoughts and put them down on paper. Books from established publishing houses are carefully screened by proof readers whose job consists of ensuring the rules of grammar, syntax, and spelling are adhered to.

Buy yourself a best friend, a dictionary, and use it frequently. If in your readings you come across a word you don't understand or recognize, look it up. In many cases you can guess what a word means in the way it is used, but every once in awhile you can be fooled. You don't want to be embarrassed by using a word in a report that has a completely different meaning from what you thought it meant.

Find a report writing instructor who is good and take courses from him, even if he has a reputation for being tough on his students. I taught a report writing class one semester and I was tough on my students. I drove some off, but the ones who stuck with it benefitted from the experience. My proudest moments were when my former students came to me and told me the class helped them in their jobs or in the academy. One former student told me he was third in his academy class, and it was his report writing skills that put him there. Another student told me his newly acquired report writing skills caught the attention of his supervisors and he was promoted early as a result.

Another subject to excel in and will certainly catch the attention of your instructors and potential employers is the area of arrest, search, and seizure. You need to become an expert in this field of study and stay on top of the subject. You don't ever want to become identified with a case where a criminal walks free because you unlawfully arrested him and unlawfully searched his belongings for evidence of the crime.

Being an expert on arrest, search, and seizure means you will not ever have to become an expert on what cops and lawyers call "creative" probable cause. Making up probable cause after the fact is unprofessional, often illegal, and can get you fired or even worse. It can put you in jail.

I taught a course on criminal justice procedure last semester and the textbook was outstanding. If you give me a couple of days to get back home, I can give you the title, author, and publisher of the book. It is a book I wish I had when I started in law enforcement many years ago.

Good luck in your studies. Remember, it is impressive to be able to benchpress 300+ pounds, but it is the power of your mind that will get you promotions in law enforcement.

July 19, 2003, 10:38 AM
Black92LX, finish up the course you're doing then think university/college. Do a degree. Degrees open doors that are closed to a guy with a community college certificate.

I am already there I attened Xavier University, it's a Division I school in Cincinnati Ohio. Thanks for all the suggesttions everyone. Keep them coming. I have taken spanish for 6 years i can get around but not the best at it. Though I know sign language. wouldn,t say fluant but i know it a lot better than spanish.

Jeff White
July 19, 2003, 10:47 AM
Don't want to disappoint you, but a criminal justice degree isn't as valuable as a regular BA or BS in any area. In many places hiring is done by a board or a police and fire commission. You are usually awarded points for your written test score, a physical agility test score and those awarded at the interview. Many places will then add points based on your veterans status.

In this situation education and training above what the minimum standards usually don't have much bearing on getting you hired. It will help later on for promotion and assignment though.


4v50 Gary
July 19, 2003, 01:13 PM
Good writing skills and what Jeff White says. Skip the degree in criminology. Get yourself a real job skill like computers or accounting. Even learn grant writing if you're in college. Agencies need folks who can bring in the bucks to make things happen. BTW, as mentioned above, creative writing is a plus. I once wrote a death report and nobody even noticed that not once did I mention that I wasn't there. Covered the Dept. and that was all they cared about. :D

BTW there's no glory in grunt work. Depending on what part of town you're working in, folks either love you or they hate you. It's almost surreal. And are you sure you want to work graveyard with lousy days off?

Ala Dan
July 19, 2003, 01:17 PM
Greeting's All-

Some mighty good suggestions so far. I agree with my
friend Deputy Vaughn as to the English/Grammar
courses; especially the writing aspect. I've seen
a few LEO's that absolutely could not write complete
sentences!:uhoh: Also, if your LEO desires carry you
to "The Deep South"; it wouldn't hurt to brush up on
your Spanish, as we are starting to get a lot
of Amigos* in our locale.

*FootNote- No offense intended towards our Spanish
speaking friends.

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

July 19, 2003, 02:44 PM
Good luck in your studies. Remember, it is impressive to be able to benchpress 300+ pounds, but it is the power of your mind that will get you promotions in law enforcement.

I'll second that.

4 yrs. ago I was going through the application process for the Federal Border Police. I was 19 yrs. old, just having come straight out of high-school. I was reasonably fit (enough to pass the physicall test without problems), but didn't really excel.

All the other guys around me were far fitter and probably tougher than me, too. Lots of military types, ex-airborne, infantry officers, pilots, one state-level boxing champion and so on. Needless to say, I was less optimistic about my chance of success.

Guess what? It didn't really matter. As soon as we had passed the physical stuff they started to only concentrate on brains. It was all about logical thinking, written and oral expression, debating, interacting with new people in different social environments, showing leadership qualities and so on.

And they did take a close look at those skills and qualifications we listed in our application forms. I still suspect that my success had at least something to do with me knowing some foreign languages.

In the end I and some former tank platoon leader were the only ones who got hired from that group. All the tough, athletic specopscombatswimmerparatroopercommandoSEELS were dismissed.

However, it's a good idea to get in shape beforehand nonetheless. The better you do at the academy the less stress you will have (obviously!).

One thing you should avoid is to claim qualities you don't have. While everybody tries to present himself in a favorable way, you should only claim things you can back up with something. They sometimes do have some experts on even the strangest, most remote subjects on the recruitment board.

Hope this helps a bit.



July 19, 2003, 05:42 PM
When I was taking classes, I heard that the common crimianal justice classes weren't really what depts. were looking for. I went and got my degree in "law enforcement" technology instead. One of the classes I thought at the time to be off topic was public speaking. Well, if given the chance, take it. Helped in many aspects. Also, you'll hear it time after time after time. Police work is 99% bordum and 1% shear terror. It's got a glamorous job and the hours can and at times will really suck. Pay isn't the greatest and most people will not be happy to see you.
It can be rewarding though and I encourage your decision. At least unless you're one of those that wants the badge simply sp you can wear a gun also. Those people have no business in the position.
I also applaud you going towards canine. A class or two in the veterinanry field would likely boost your chances there.

July 19, 2003, 05:54 PM
Find out what the state requirements are in the state you live or plan to work in. You cannot be a LEO w/out those requirements. As an example mine requires a minimum of a 2 year college Law Enforcement degree and a critical skills course, CPR, basic 1st aid. Some states have what is called a P.O.S.T. board (Peace Officer Standars and Training) who set the requirements. These are revised every so often so check to see what is currently needed. Things I recommend in addition to the state requirments are; Advanced First Aid/1st Responder/EMT, Advanced Psychology ( you most likely will have to take a couple classes in this area anyway, might as well take them all). Report writing should be covered in your LE degree, but it is important enough to bring up again, pay attention to that class.
Volunteer work helps on your resume too. Good luck.

All the best

July 19, 2003, 11:15 PM
our depts here look at volunteer activities on your application also. i'm a volunteer ff so hopefully i can get some extra points there when i apply

July 19, 2003, 11:20 PM
if you are going to college now intern with a PD or SO
it can help you get your foot in the door and you can make sure you really like the job
my .02

July 19, 2003, 11:59 PM
Get a degree. Any BA or BS will do. Along the way, make sure you can write and speek in public.

Learn Spanish. While any second language is valuable, Spanish is particularly valuable to LEOs in the US. Conversational Spanish courses are a good place to start.

Get in shape. Stay in shape. Don't forget the cardio.

Shotgun out resumes. Too many folks place all their eggs in one basket and wait a long time when they could have already been on the job had they widened their scope of search.

IMO you'll land a K9 job with the a federal agency sooner than a state or local one.

Good luck.

July 20, 2003, 08:54 AM
Some good tips here by all.

The biggest thing ?

Learn how to communicate.

As already stated,report writing skills will make your life easier, but Ive seen guys that could write great reports and still not communicate.

Communication is where it is at.

If you have the gift of gab, it will go along way to talking people in and out of things that they dont want to do.

I have averted several potential ??? whoopings by simply communicating, something that the younger officers dont seem to have much patience with.

Just the other day I assisted a state police officer that had been in a fight for his life. Luckily he won, be he was physically exhausted when I got to him, he couldnt talk for catching his breath and he couldnt stand up. The suspect was cuffed and bleeding form knots popped all over his head. Upon being place in the troopers car, he squirmed out of the back seat,got into the front and tried to take off in the troopers vehicle. Fortunatley, we got him and threw him in my vehicle,it had a cage in the back whereas the trooper had a new vehicle and his hadnt been put in yet. The guy told me that he wasnt going to jail and was very combative. Did I mention he was higher than a kite? I figure he didnt feel much in the way of pain. He had been sprayed with liitle effect.

I articulated the fact to him that it was within his best interests to behave as I has no interest in hurting him, I just wanted to make sure he made it safely to the ER without further damage to him. I also explained the fact that no matter what happened, he was going to go to jail one way or the other. The two or thee minutes that I spent communicating my intentions to him were well spent. I had no problem with him talking him the the ER to get stitched up and eventually to the county detention center. I had a state police vehicle in front and back of me escorting me both ways, they were afraid he'd try to kick out the window and jump out .

Like I said, it calmed him down and he complied with every command I gave him. It turned out to be no problem for me at all.

FWIW, we soon found out that he had warrants in 5 states, had done time in jail for assaulting a police officer, stealing a police vehicle, assault with a deadly weapon , had a rap sheet as long as his arm for various drug charges and was a known mule. He had violated his parole. He is looking at least 10 years in jail now, without chance of parole.

Of course, there a few percentage of people that dont understand anything but pain and thats what it takes to get the point across but you never know until youve tried everything else.

If you have the ability to communicate effectively, your life as a cop will be SO much easier.

Trooper hit the nail on the head when he said:

As soon as we had passed the physical stuff they started to only concentrate on brains. It was all about logical thinking, written and oral expression, debating, interacting with new people in different social environments, showing leadership qualities and so on.

In short, communicating skills. When you are being interviewed for selection, that will have the biggest bearing of all. Big macho types that cant communicate arent worth much in todays world. Police depatments will look at two main things, in the future will you be a liability to them or an asset ? Can you do your job safely without being sued once a week ?

Eye Contact. Be assertive, but proffesional and courteous but not to the point of appearing less than human. Act like you care about a problem,even if you dont. Remeber that YOU might be the only interaction that a person has ever had with the dept and that the first impression goes a long way as to how that person may veiw law enforcement for the rest of their life. Remeber the Golden rule...treat others as you would like to be treated.

Do that, and everything else will fall into place.

4v50 Gary
July 20, 2003, 12:37 PM
BTW, skip any reserve program. If they don't like you as a reserve, they won't hire you as a full timer.

El Tejon
July 20, 2003, 01:20 PM
Black, lots of good advice here already. I give you this from my perspective who worked with many officers, deputies, troopers, agents, etc., et al as as ex-deputy prosecuting attorney. Please understand that I tell you this as someone observing from a far, the current and former officers can tell you much, much more and as a pogue I intend no offense:

1. learn the English language, in both written and oral forms. Being able to communicate will save you trouble on the street and time away from depositions and trials;

2. learn Spanish, immigration trends will continue for the next couple of decades. Learning Spanish will help you professionally;

3. learn to wrestle and to fight on the ground. Of the thousands of police reports I read, when there was a fight, pushing match, or a crack dealer running from the po-po, it went to the ground. I have and do study several martial arts, mainly forms of Chinese boxing; however, in police work you have to be close to people to arrest them or separate people. Fights usually take place at "ramming speed";

4. Find an activity that you can stick with to stay in shape. Here, oddly [:rolleyes:] it is basketball (euchre at lunch does not count). The agencies in my county have intramural teams that play one another. IMHO, martial arts are great for this--Hapkido, forms of karate, jujitsu, boxing, etc. As a LEO I attempted to teach boxing and shooting to my fellows if so interested;

5. Find an strong, understanding woman. As you can imagine the life of the police officer is devasting to partners who do not understand going in what the life is like. Just dealing with prosecutors (court delays, witless conferences, trials) is enough to make most spouses cry.:p Find a strong woman who understands what police life is like. This is vital for all walks of life--a good partner will help you more than anything else you do;

6. Make friends outside your line of work--gun clubs, Kiwanis/Lions or church/temple/mosque are excellent for this. LEOs hang out with other LEOs and like "worms in a jar" (no offense, phrase of Uncle Jeff's) feed off the vibe given out by others;

7. Lastly, make sure that this is want you want to do. If not, do something else. If you get into the job and hate it, you will be unhappy and others could be hurt because of your internalize anger at your job choice.

That's what I know from my years dealing with "line officers." I never walked in their shoes, I never endured the frustration and boredom of a 10pm-6am Tuesday night in February shift. Take it for what that is worth.

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