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Age and law enforcement

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Posted almost 5 years ago

 

   I am 42 and thinking of making a career change.  I have a keen interest in law enforcement at the local or deputy sheriff level.  We have a police academy very close and they offer a "part time" evening academy ( 6 to 10 mon. through thurs. and every other sat.).  This is a year long academy and the only way I could attend due to job requirements, etc...     My BIG question in everyones opinion,  is 42 too old to get into law enforcement?  I'm in decent physical shape, and have an active job.  I was in the Marines for 6 years and love tactics and related topics.  I guess you could say I have the mindset.  I've done one ride along with the local sheriff's deputies and loved it.  What's your thoughts on age?  How old is too old?  Thanks.  

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

How old is too old? Gee, wait, I'm 56 and still doing this and love it. As long as you can do it mentally and physically go for it. Our regional academy also has both full and auxilliary terms. The oldest I have seen is 52.  I almost went with another dept. 3 years ago because I was asked to. I know a Sgt. there and they desparately needed "maturety" there. Seems all they were getting were 21-24 year olds who just wanted to kick ass. 


Be aware though, you say you love the tactics and have the mindset. I don't know if you REALLY know law enforcement or are in love with the idea of law enforcement. Its tedious, time consuming, full of complaints, standing in the rain/heat/cold, putting up with bad decisions by superiors, covering for your troops because you know they are right even when your superiors say they were wrong, etc etc etc. Get my drift. 


Its still the best job on the planet. 

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Rated +1 | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

There rally isn't too mny "too olds"  some states like Illinois hve  limit of I believe 36, but experience changes the age. 


I for one think under 25 is too young.

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

You are not too old, what state are you in, there are pt acadmies in Mo that run the hours you describe, i wonder if you are here.

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Reklaw says ...



There rally isn't too mny "too olds"  some states like Illinois hve  limit of I believe 36, but experience changes the age. 


I for one think under 25 is too young.



Very much in agreement, there are a few exceptions to any rule of course, but I definately think that the overwhelming majority of those under 25 will lack the maturity and life experience to be law enforcement officers...especially at the street level.

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Age is not a limit in many agencies....actually the older applicant brings a measure of maturity and life experiences.

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

I am in Missouri. The Academy is located at Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Mo..  So, Sgt 405 you have seen someone who is 52 go through the academy?  Man that is something else.  Shows you if you want something bad enough you can do it.  I know there are alot of typical job downfalls associated with police work.  It was that way in the Marines also.  I work at a Ford dealer and we service the local police's crown vics, and I usually chat with the officers as they are picking up or dropping off vehicles to see which academy they went to and how they like it, etc...  It would be a cut in pay, but the way the automotive world is going who knows....Its the only other thing I could see myself doing and liking. Kind of like on the list of things to accomplish,  Marine, Senior Master Ford Technician, Police Officer....hhmmmmm.    Hey Casscocop, where are you located in Mo. ?

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

well im 41 and still going strong(sorta) I dont know about the others but25 is a general bases, like you said 99% of the youth of America will never make the decesions you have made or had enough life experience. I was 18 when i went in the Army was 21 when i watched a man die who was on my team, when I came home from Iraq i had led men and buried them had seen the world and the evil men can do in it. But you average American will not have seen these things it is all based on the person. I have young men that work for me now that i would go into combat with and older men i wouldnt cross the street with.


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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Personally. I think you should be about 25-ish, or have military experience. You'll get into the academy if you work hard, marine42.


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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

shockusmc87 says ...



Reklaw says ...



There rally isn't too mny "too olds"  some states like Illinois hve  limit of I believe 36, but experience changes the age. 


I for one think under 25 is too young.



 


You think I should have to wait 3 years? .......I have led Marines in a combat zone, I have seen life and death first hand, I have had to make decisions that 99.9999 percent of americans never will...the list goes on. I think Im more mature than most 25 year olds.


Im respectfully asking if u think that EVERYONE should be 25 before entering LE?


 


OK guys, I was just wondering if 42 was too old.  Being too young is another topic.  I rode with a deputy who was 24 that impressed the hell out of me.  I think whoever commented above is right that it depends on the individual.  I guess thats true as far as am I too old, to generalize "too old" depends on the individual.   


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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

While maturity generally comes with age, there are a few individuals who are mature enough to be LEO's at age nineteen, they are rare, but they do exist. Also there are individuals who are 35 and are still not mature enough to be LEO's and they probably outnumber the 19 yo's who could be LEO's

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Well like most have said, i don't believe that there is an age that is "too old". I went through the academy with a gentleman who was 50 years old, and he moved and did the techniques better than some of us younger felles in the class. Another example, I went through my FTO training with a guy who was also 50 years old and he is a darn good officer. Bottom line is, if you are in the state of mind physically and mentally then there is nothing that can stop you but yourself. Best of luck to ya!

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

NO, it is not. There are a lot of police department that are looking for the older individual, vs, the younger.  I loved getting an application for some one who was over 35, with prior military experience.  They totally understand  what dicipline is all about.  They make great officers. There uniforms are always, dress-right-dress, and they know how to follow orders. 


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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Its settlerd then chase it down and achieve your goals

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

OK   I and 4 other officer in my reserve unit are 60+. We work in a very small dept. total of 7 full time deputies including the Sheriff and undersheriff. 3 of us are sworn officers. We take shiffs, have case loads, The rule in our dept. is you catch it, you clean it. That includes major cases. One officer works more traffic than all the rest of us put together.  I will keep working as long has I have the physical and mental ability. I know I will be told it I am not up to the job and will not stay. Our boss send us to the same training the full time officers get. 3 have been to radar and intoxilizer schools. 2 of us are retired law enforcement LOL If you can do the job then do it.


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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

You are as young as you feel..!  You are a Marine as well?  I say you already have discipline and understanding of the combat mind set , but add lifes experience, and good physical health, as long as you are an overall mature and good person, I say GO FOR IT..!   I am in my thirties and I graduate as leader of our LEO block in the next two weeks.  I can honestly say I have never been more physically and mentally challenged in my life but I have achieved every goal they had set before me.  I hope you move forward and pursue this if you truly feel that it is what you desire to do.  You won't regret it.  I can testify to that..!  Good luck..!  ;-)

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

To the original poster, Id check to see what agencies are around you and see what their age cutoffs are.  Youre hovering around the age most agencies in my state cut you off at...usually somewhere from 41-45.  Now is definately the time for you to make a firm decision.


LE isnt the military, the physical demands of the military outweigh the physical demands for LE.  LE is more about mindset, education, and decision making process than the military is.


Good luck to you.


Now regarding the minimum age for Reklaw, Shock, and Sarge.......I also joined the Army in my 20s, and I have a firm opinion of what military service does for the individual who wants to move into civilian law enforcement.  A background in any 1 of the 5 branches of the U.S. Military is a benefit to the potential police officer.  Its not so much about combat mindset since the object in LE is to avoid conflict, whereas a Soldier trains FOR conflict and instilled with aggression from day one to the level that he WANTS conflict.  The LEO is a peacekeeper, the Soldier is really a peacemaker.  The benefit in the 21 year old who has been in the military is that he has been instilled and lived a life where he has had to use and understand the chain of command, has worn a uniform every day for at least 2 years, has had enforced grooming standards, has had to show command presence, is familar enough with weapons that he wont fear having to use them even if its only at the range, and has been delegated a certain level of leadership and decision making in his career.  No matter what level you have been in any of the 5 branches...at some time in your career you have had to take initiative, you have had to make decisions, that have in some shape or form had an effect on the safety of yourself, people around you, and national security. 


Military members dont stand out to become cops because of exposure and willingness to use violence.....at no time in your LE career are you going to have to hump 15 miles with an 80 lbs ruck, to assault an objective for example.  The things that will cross over to both careers....command presence, confidence, physical fitness, ability to operate mentally in high stress situations....etc etc.  Keep in mind people that the VAST majority of those in the military have never seen and will never see combat.  The military has its cooks, clerks, fuelers, haulers, veternary assistants, welders, mechanics, avionics experts, armorers, etc etc....and those support mos' and rates far outweight the infantrymen, the cav/armor guys, the artillerymen and tankers (who themselves support the infantry), special forces, and combat engineers.


Now having said all that......I also know that the average 22 year old Soldier or Marine works hard...and plays MUCH harder.  The Army is full of 22 year olds who simply dont have the maturity to be police officers.  Leading a small unit in combat is a whole different kettle of fish than walkin into a domestic dispute with an El Salvadorian family with a drunk father who has beaten the mother, and whos 5 children (2 adult age) may jump on you for taking their father away...espcially if you do it forcefully. Its a whole different kettle of fish than reconstructing a burglary of a habitation....a whole different kettle of fish than defending the arrest resulting from an SFST in court, being educated enough in your certifcation to make it stand before a defense attorney who has made a career out of getitng SFTS arrests thrown out.


....for example. I could go on and on. Ive said it before and Ill say it again....military will always be an asset to the military member who applies to become a police officer...but it certainly doesnt say if that individual will make a better police officer than the person who doesnt have it. It simply gives the officer tools for the toolbox that others may not have.  Those others may have tools in the toolbox that the military member doesnt have, depending on what they have in their background.  If you give me a candidate that is an EMT-B and spent time as a jailer or detention officer, compared to the applicant who has 2 years service in the Navy as a clerk....who is really the better applicant?

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Sounds like excellent advise and encouragement from everyone.  Lindy3791- I was in the marines from 86 to 92.  They say once a marine always a marine and that is true.  Its the mental conditioning and training.  You guys are correct in saying military experience is good but you have to be careful with it and not over emphasize it during the interview process (So I was told).  You don't want them thinking you are fixing bayonets and ready to kill.  I would rely on my military experience for resume filler to show reliability, discipline, and experience with a uniformed service with high expectations and accountability.  Bottom line isn't the military experience, it's what they see and hear you do everyday and what your FTO thinks of it all.  Just my opinion.  Thanks for all the input, and I look forward to everyones opinions on this topic of age and any input on do's and don'ts as far as interviews go would be appreciated.  Real world experience is the best textbook.  Thanks.

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

You've been given good advise from solid people, Mr. 'Ford'.


My suggestion? Get off your canyon and get moving. Although age is generally not a factor, you do start paying for it the older you get.


As a noob, your first assignment will be probably 'dark-thirty' hours? Can you hang with staying up all night and sleeping through the day with the phone ringing, leaf blowers, kids, etc. ? Will Mrs. Ford be happy with you being gone all night?


And, lastly, it is imperative to get a buy-in from your family. If they cringe at the thought of you being a LEO, you'd better find out why. It could be a tough road. Many on this site can tell you the law enforcement is not necessarily friendly toward families. No one at work cares if you have family or childcare issues. Go to work and make it happen.


 


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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

I have to echo what the Sarge is saying. I am 32 and going through my second divorce. You had best make sure the family is on board before you take the plunge or be prepared to deal with the fallout. If you decide to make this a career than get started now. I have been an academy instructor for the last 3 years and the older recruits bring alot to the table.


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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

That is solid advice.  I am ok with the hours, my wife of 22 years supports me, my son is 20 and moving out to transfer to Southeast Missouri State University ( criminology none the less!) and I have a 13 year old daughter that would have to be the focus of any adverse effects this choice may bring.  I would love to get through the academy and get on as a reserve officer in one of the smaller municipalities we have in this area.  What role do the reserve officers in your department have,  how are they utilized,  how many hours a week, etc...?

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Almost every sheriff's dept in this end of the state has reserves. Most require about 16 hrs./month, however they will let you do more time if you so desire. Also many of the smaller Police dept's have reserves and have a similiar setup. Some depts have reserve/part timer positons where you actually get paid for some or all of your work. The agency I work for does not have reserves as the chief doesn't care for them, but several others in Cass county have reserves, in the past i have reserved for Freeman, Garden City, and Creaton in Cass county.

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

As for duties, initially reserves usually ride with a full time officer, and once they have demonstrated an ability to work on their own, they are allowed to take a car and go on patrol just like a paid officer (answer calls/ work traffic/ patrol an area/do the necessary paperwork,/ etc.), that is the role I usually did as a reserve.

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

That sounds like a good deal.  I'd like to thank everyone for their input.   

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

well to be honest im a little offened i tried to join the millitary and i scored a 59 on the azvab and i got dissqualified b/c of my two knee surgeries that i had in 06 and yet some people think that i should be 25 to do the only job that i want to do thats a load of crap im one of the best dog trainers that anybody will ever see and i do bleave that life ex. holds a big roll in law enforcement i was in the explorers for 2 years and iv studied law in my own personal time to be the best that anyone has ever seen.im more capable than half of the officers out their are i live to do my job and thats that so what you all think is under me but to the question asked yea man go for it persue what you want befor you cant you got my vote


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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Ouch...


#1 Work on the grammer. Just for fun, throw in some periods to break up the monotony.


#2 If you are better then half of us out here, then I expect to see you in the field shortly. Until then, I'm going to stop trying to make sense of what you're saying, because my head hurts.


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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Hmmm...and apparently you are a whooping 18 yoa dispatcher. Do the coppers on the other end of the radio know how little you think of them?


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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Weston...you're embarrasing yourself!  Shut up before you did yourself any deeper!

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

You know, Shock, I bet he is more capable than I and can write the best reports of anyone I have ever read!

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Rate This | Posted almost 5 years ago

 

Oh, man!  With one look at the report, the Defense Attorney will be salvating all the way to jury trial!  That poor guy will be in court all of the time!  He'll be so tired from lack of sleep that his well-trained dog will be driving the cruiser and answering calls!  Maybe he should train the dog to write the reports!  LOL!!!

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