Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentMilitary · 6 years ago

Seeking advice from military experienced law enforcement personnel.?

Okay folks, I'm trying to decide upon a route for which I should take to accomplish my career goals in life. Here's a little bit about me and my situation. I am a 21 year old full time college student. I am a part time police cadet, part time security guard and part time labor worker (construction, mechanics). I am working on getting my associates degree which I will be receiving spring semester of next year (may 2014). I wish to pursue a career in law enforcement and at the same time serve my country so I was thinking about joining the reserves of the military branch I end up deciding on joining while at the same time working on my career as a law enforcement officer. My question is, what would be the smarter route to take, join the reserves before I attend the police academy or after the academy? I'm not sure if it would be possible to do before because the academy is approximately 6 months long if I am correct and you have to serve one weekend a month, every month in the reserves so I'm not sure if it'd be possible to do at the same time unless we are free to do what ever we want during the weekends while attending the academy. So basically I'm just trying to see what would be the best choice, attend the police academy before or after joining the military reserves?? Any legit advice appreciated. Thanks.


Also, after working and gaining experience working as local or state law enforcement and receiving a bachelors degree, I am planning on pursuing a career in federal law enforcement such as working for the FBI or ATF or DEA or USMS etc etc, any of the agencies under the department of justice. That is why apart from being extremely patriotic and having a chance to serve my country, I want to join the military to learn new valuable skills that will contribute to me being an excellently qualified candidate.

3 Answers

  • 6 years ago
    Best Answer

    I'm a former active duty military policeman (MP) now working as a civilian police officer.

    Your goal to both serve your country and become a police officer is admirable. What you need to do is prioritize: Of both these goals, which is MORE important?

    I would guess that being a police officer is more important because otherwise you might consider going active duty for a few years, and then becoming a police officer. If that is the case, I would recommend joining the police dept first, complete all the training (academy and field training) and then, if you're still interested, consider the Reserves.

    There are federal laws on the books that protect military reservists. There is the Uniformed Services Employment and Re-Employment Rights Act of 1994. In a nutshell, this law means that if an employee is a reservist he cannot be fired from his job while he leaves to perform military duties. Upon completion of military duties he must be reinstated to his job. There's a lot more to it, but that is a brief summary.

    So you would never have to worry about losing your job as a result of being a Reservist. Here is the potential problem. This causes a great strain on law enforcement agencies. When reservists go away for training or deployment, it costs the agency tons of money in overtime because somebody has to work in your place while you're away. Now, don't get me wrong. Many, many cops are reservists, and law enforcement agencies support them, but this doesn't change the fact that it is a substantial drain on their already stretched budgets.

    Here is a dirty little secret. If you are already in the reserves when you apply to a police department, they may really think long and hard before hiring you. It's not right, and I personally don't agree with it, but it is what it is. They know that if they hire you it's going to end up costing them a lot more money than if they hire someone who is not in the reserves. The law that I spoke of earlier only protects you AFTER you've been hired.This just happened in my agency a couple months ago. An applicant was not chosen because he was in the reserves.

    Also, there's a pretty good chance that once you've been hired and you're attending the academy, and then you'll be in field training for a while, you'll be so absorbed in all that stuff that you might lose interest in the Reserves, or at least put it on the back burner for a while until you're completely settled into your job. This would also give you the opportunity to explore the "culture" of your particular agency, i.e., get a feel for the philosophy and level of support for reservists.

    Anyway, that's my two cents based on my own experiences and observations.

    Best of luck to you.

  • 6 years ago

    While serving your one weekend per month and 2 weeks in the summer, you are on official military business and there is no civilian employer who can stop you or punish you for serving. I would only recommend you complete your initial service requirement because you're going to find yourself in much better shape than you will after you complete your police academy...meaning the academy will be physically easier and you'll be able to process and handle the information requirement in a more efficient manner.

    Source(s): 4yrs Army National Guard, 7yrs Active Duty Army.
  • 6 years ago

    I'm a former Marine currently working as a security guard/ fitness trainer applying for a job in the New Jersey State Police, so if I were you I would join before.

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