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Police and Law Enforcement Home    >    Police Careers    >    Landing a Law Enforcement Job in 2013


Police and
Law Enforcement News

Landing a Law
Enforcement Job in 2013
Saturday January 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, applicants cannot.

The older, salty dogs in our New Jersey 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 works.

Very few with that mentality will be successful.

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 your shot. 

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.





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