Landing a Law
Enforcement Job in 2013
6, 2013 10:25 a.m.
Three decades ago the path to a law
enforcement career wasn't remotely close to what it is today.
Civil service towns called for an exam
when their list was exhausted, and a new announcement was available at
the library every month. One could literally take a new law enforcement
entrance exam every sixty days.
But the process is not what has changed
most between then and now. What has changed most is the ability of the
agency to be selective.
The days of turning eighteen, taking the
local civil service exam and getting hired off the next list are long
gone. They're gone because agencies can do better.
Between the benefits, the salaries, the
immense interest in law enforcement and the continuing sour economy,
agencies can afford to very discerning.
This will kill off some applicants. It
will make others flourish.
In the end, it will come down to who is
the best choice.
The responsible, fit, educated, bilingual
man or woman who also finds time to volunteer, read the newspaper, and
participate in life will fair much better than the high school graduate
who regularly gets fired from jobs, has a 480 credit score, smokes,
plays Xbox all day, and spends every Saturday night getting drunk with
his buddies at the local Friday's.
Today, agencies are thinner and leaner.
They are doing more with less and need new recruits who aren't going to
turn into old headaches.
So the hiring process matters more today
than ever before.
And while agencies can be selective,
The older, salty dogs in our
Law Enforcement Forum roll their eyes and sometimes drop a sarcastic
remark when they see a post of a job opening followed by questions
asking about the color of the uniforms, or what shifts that agency
Very few with that mentality will be
Those who do make it will be the ones that
treat the effort to attain a law enforcement career as if they were
training for the battle of their life. Those who make it won't
prepare for an interview: they will prepare for the Olympics. They will
spend time preparing every aspect of their lives knowing that all will
be examined under a microscope.
The message of this piece is simple: if
you're not one hundred percent committed to landing a law enforcement
job, move to plan B. If you cannot accept rejection and keep moving
forward, move to plan B. If you're going to blame every other person
getting hired on politics and conspiracy theories, go to plan B.
If this is your dream job and you are
willing to do anything, then do everything.
We need good guys. We need good ladies.
We need good people in every color, shape and size.
Hiring in the next few years will be about
the top tier.
The good news is that inclusion in the top
tier is a choice, not a birthright. If you are willing to make the
commitment and are willing to sacrifice, you can be part of the top
tier. If you are willing to invest a few hours each day toward this
goal, you will be part of the top tier.
Whether these hours are spent working
toward a college degree, expanding your outside activities and volunteer
work or striving toward breaking the seven-minute mile, you should be
doing something each day to better prepare yourself for when you do get
And don't just focus on one area.
The best applicants excel in many areas.
The jobs are coming back. Agencies
are hiring. If you want to be taken seriously, take steps now to
become an applicant that stands out.
Good luck to all.