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10 Tricks For Picking the Right Department

Dr. Richard Weinblatt

1) Philosophy. This is harder to nail down, but is ultimately more important than all of the other things discussed. While mission statements and organizational values are posted on their website, they don’t always reflect the reality that rolls out on the streets. A combination of the above should give you a good indicator.

The reason this is important is because your budding philosophy of how the art of policing should be practiced may be at odds with an agency that employs you. It is not a situation that lends itself to your success in the field training officer (FTO) program, nor will it be fulfilling.

For example, if you are a community minded prospective public servant, working for an agency that in reality sees the public as the enemy and practices an “us vs. them” mentality will result in a the philosophical clash that will undermine your view of the profession and career success.

I caution new entrants in the field from bypassing one agency for another for a two thousand dollar salary differential. That is not such an important deciding factor. The difference between agencies spread out over a year and after taxes is minimal. What will make more of a difference in your daily life is your happiness and philosophical compatibility with the employing law enforcement agency.

It is important for you, within the acknowledged context of a tighter job market, to pick your employing law enforcement agency as carefully as they pick you. Much like a marriage, it is a big step reflecting a commitment of a lifetime and a shared value and philosophical system. Take the time reflective of such a serious responsibility so you can best serve yourself, your family, and your community.

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