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Getting Serious About Joining the Force

Richard Weinblatt

It’s a New Year and you want to fulfill your dream of landing that cop job. Now that the initial flurry of silly New Year’s Resolutions have fallen by the wayside, let’s get serious. In order to help you on that quest, this Cop Career Counselor column is geared towards helping you shape your New Year’s resolutions towards that goal.

Around 80% of Police Departments and Sheriff’s Offices across the country are experiencing a crisis in recruiting. Some departments have altered their standards in response. The Dallas Police Department just revamped their prior drug usage history for applicants (A one-time, experimental usage of a harder drug such as cocaine is now okay with a ten year or older window).

Be that as it may, the standards are still high in most agencies. Only the most determined of applicants will make it in. The time to alter habits is today (if not years ago). Here are some useful New Year’s Resolutions to replace the initial silly ones.

Have a fitness program- This is an age-old New Year’s resolution. Health club memberships skyrocket this time of year reflective of many people’s desire to better their physique. Be wise. Do your research and start the program under the guidance of medical and fitness professionals.

Toss the Tobacco- Some agencies have enacted tobacco-free policies. As cities in particular have been squeezed by soaring health insurance costs, administrators see the requirement of police applicants to have been tobacco free for a year as a move towards lowered costs.

Clean up the Credit- Do as the financial gurus advise and take stock of your money situation. If you have outstanding bills, contact those creditors and set up a payment plan. Put those high interest credit cards at the top of your list.

Slow Down on the Driving- Police chiefs and sheriffs recognize the high liability they have from their law enforcers driving 6,000 pound weapons. A ticket-laden pre-hire driving record will make any on-duty crash situations into a negligent hiring lawsuit against the employing agency. Try to put some distance between your application and your tickets.

Get New Friends- Don’t be the guy who gets caught on surveillance cameras bailing out bad guys from the county jail. Prospective law enforcers are judged in part by their choice in friends and associates.

Quit Clubbin’- Hanging out at downtown clubs and other places of adult distractions are not conducive to a healthy police career. You don’t want to be the person who ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets caught in the net. Your explanations as to why you are on the police report will be lost to a background investigator who is wondering why you were in such a place to begin with.

Bag the Baggy Pants- In order to be perceived positively as a future professional law enforcer, you need to dress the part all the time. Putting on the suit and tie when you go to the oral board is not enough. Donning baggy pants for your stroll in the mall will not go over well when you run into the local captain or major doing some shopping with the family. Present yourself professionally at all times as you do not know who will bump into around town.

The time to live the clean police lifestyle is not when you pin on the badge. The answer is actually to the contrary. The time to conduct yourself at the higher standard is now (and really yesterday). Much like the motto “dress for success,” you have “behave better for success” as a police applicant.

  • Police_car_max50


    about 3 years ago


    Thanks for the helpful information!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 4 years ago


    This is an extremely important issue that you have addressed. If you are planning a career in law enforcement, not only do you have to dress, but you must never lose sight that you are in the capacity to serve and protect. We are a whole different breed, and the majority of us look at each other as one big happy family, we share all activities and festivities together. Either you love law enforcement or you hate it, there's no in betweens. May God Bless all of our fallen officers and their families. Please watch your six!

  • Seo-baba_max50


    over 4 years ago


    Thanks for writing in such an encouraging post. I had a glimpse of it and couldn’t stop reading till I finished.

    Seo Firm India

  • Jack-sparrow-pirates-of-the-caribbean_max50


    almost 5 years ago


    My physical fitness tests for the county jail start tomorrow, I'm still nervous but I still can't wait to start them. I still need to work on muscle gain, although I am much more prepared now than I was a month ago. If I do get hired at the jail, I would use that as a stepping stone towards a police career or towards the patrol division of the sheriff's dept I'd be working at.
    I'm not sure what I should wear to look as professional as possible, since I have a citizens academy coming up next month, I'll ask some current and retired officers for their opinion on what to wear.

  • Asdfghjkl__max50


    almost 5 years ago


    I pretty much do all this already, save for the committed fitness program. But if anything I'm UNDERweight. I'm only five pounds above the minimum hight-weight requirements for FHP lol. I need to put on some muscle, for sure. But it looks like I'm off to a great start!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago

    The only thing I need to work on is my fitness. I'm a little overweight for my height. The rest of the items I have taken care of years ago. Thank you for the advice. =)

  • Parkview_01_003_max600_max50


    about 5 years ago


    Appreciate the support!!!

  • White_shirt_max50


    about 5 years ago


    I need the baggy pants to get over the depends.

  • Img_3265_max50


    about 5 years ago


    Thanks for the reminder, I am trying to get ready....Academy starts in August!

  • Blue_crop380w_max50


    about 5 years ago


    Excellent Advice!

  • Pisilhouette_max50


    about 5 years ago


    good tips, got learn to live by them myself LOL =) But thanx for the info

  • 9_11_01_max600_max50


    about 5 years ago


    VERY very helpfull!. thank you

  • Dsc_0030_max50


    about 5 years ago


    You made several good points. I am a current law enforcement student and am starting to take these types of advice more serious. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    Thanks for the advice it is really helpful to know these steps

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 5 years ago


    All these are excellent suggestions for anyone. Your absolutely correct. You always have to put your best foot forward and do the right thing. Representing yourself and your agency in the best light, because you never know who's path you'll cross.

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