Thread: Second career
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Old July 31, 2007, 03:49 AM   #5
Jeff22
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 15, 2004
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Posts: 577
Law Enforcement as a career?

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Everything in law enforcement depends on where you live and what agency you work for.

When shopping for an agency:
(1.) Find out what they pay. Do they have a defined pay progression based on years of service? How long does it take to hit top pay?
(2.) How much VOLUNTARY overtime is available?
(3.) How often might you be ordered in or held over? It happens to all of us sometimes, and in some places, because of the staffing level and the amount of calls for service they get, it happens A LOT. That makes it difficult to plan anything outside of work and can interfere with daycare.
(4.) Do they rotate shifts or do they work straight shifts? Some places have you rotate from days to evenings to midnights. Some places may have you rotate in relief between two shifts, and others just have straight shifts. (Rotating around the clock has been proven to take years off your life, and is less common than it used to be)
(5.) How does the days off rotation work?
(6.) How easy is it to get time off and how much notice do you have to give?
(7.) Do shifts get picked on an annual basis, or do you get hired and put into a spot and don't have an opportunity to move until their is a vacancy?
(8.) Do you have a union? How detailed is your contract?
(9.) How much leave time do you get in a year? How much sick time? Does sick time accumulate?
(10.) Being a cop means nights, weekends, and holidays. Depending on circumstance and your expectations, that can be really hard on family life.
Or not that big a deal.
(11.) Rookies in most places start on the midnight shift. If you can't get accustomed to working the late shift, being awake at night and sleeping during the day, maybe being the police is NOT a good idea for you.
(12.) If you work the evening shift you won't see your wife & kids much.
(13.) What kind of arrangements can you make for child care?
(14.) How well is the agency staffed? How well are they equipped? Do you have a reasonable opportunity for specialized training? Do they pay education incentive for your degrees?
(15.) How is the retirement program? Is there a state-wide retirement program or is the program agency specific?
(16.) If you are considering going to work for a Sheriff's Department, it may well be that you will start out assigned to the jail. You may be in the jail for a LONG TIME. If you don't like this idea, don't go to the Sheriff's Office.

It's hard to make any kind of blanket statement about police work as a career because there are WAY too many variables from agency to agency and from one part of the country to another.
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