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Old Aug 5th 2014, 12:09 am   #1
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Default Becoming a police officer in the US from UK (for a dual citizen)

Hi all, I'm new to the forums so bear with me. I'm a 21 year old dual UK/US citizen who have lived in the UK my entire life that is interested in becoming a police officer in the US (undecided as to which state specifically though California/Washington/New York/Florida seem like desirable places to work for different reasons). My education thus far has been GCSE's (10) and A-Levels (3) and I have a background in security/door supervision. I was wondering what the process is for becoming a PO in the US and any qualifications/requirements etc (I assume residency will not be a problem due to my citizenship) . Any and all insight, advice or experience is welcome, many thanks in advance
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Old Aug 6th 2014, 11:36 am   #2
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer in the US from UK (for a dual citizen)

You're a US citizen (lucky bugger) so you'll have no problems at all. With most law enforcement agencies, just contact them directly and ask about their training requirements. Most use a centralised Police academy that you'll need to pay for yourself. For example, if you wished to apply for a police department in San Francisco (SFPD, Bart Police, Martin Co. Sherrif etc) you could apply for enrolment at the Napa Police Academy. Once you've graduated from the academy, you can apply to join a Police department.

I believe some of the larger departments (NYPD, LAPD, LA County Sherrif) have their own academies.

Get googling and get applying, there's no time like the present and the chance of getting a job is much better there than it is here. If I had your passport, you wouldn't see me for dust.
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Old Aug 6th 2014, 6:38 pm   #3
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer in the US from UK (for a dual citizen)

Oh I see, and for arguments sake if I went to Napa Police academy to join the SFPD how likely is it id find a job there post graduation? Would I need a California driving licence/need to be a resident of California/SF prior to applying? And in general I assume there's only so much I can do from this side of the pond in terms of contact/application so would therefore need to save a fair amount of money to pay for board/lodging/transport/insurance etc to last me while I'm out there before any employment is likely?
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Old Aug 7th 2014, 11:17 am   #4
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer in the US from UK (for a dual citizen)

From my understanding, once you have graduated from the academy, you can apply to pretty much any department. If you couldn't get in with SFPD, you could look at Bart Police, California Highway Patrol or any of the local departments and Sheriff's offices, or even elsewhere in California. Surely one of them will take you on. I would imagine a CA or at least a US driving licence would be essential. I'm quite sure there are no residence requirements for US citizens - you'll be treated the same as any other applicant.

As you're a citizen, surely you could go out there and take any old job to pay for your living expenses while you apply? I'd guess it's a lot simpler to apply when you're in the local area.
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Old Oct 20th 2014, 3:16 am   #5
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer in the US from UK (for a dual citizen)

Scott - I'm assuming you have a Social Security Card? With that and a US Passport you can go into a State Drivers License Center and take a drivers test. Some questions on a computer and then a test. They'll do it in your car, will ask for proof of insurance, so if you car borrow a car from a friend/relative, that's best.

Some PD's require a Degree, not all, some just a GED, (graduation from High School). Apply away, choose wisely!
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Old Jun 28th 2015, 1:13 pm   #6
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer in the US from UK (for a dual citizen)

It does not look like you would have too much have a problem because you are a dual citizen and it is certainly achievable. However, if you have never been to the US then its likely to be a bit of a culture shock.

Maybe you could consider living there before you make your final decision as that would give you a first hand view of its culture, politics, people, history etc. Having an understanding and experience of the environment,social issues and life in general would make you a better officer and more able to serve the citizens and community.
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Old Jul 14th 2015, 10:52 pm   #7
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer in the US from UK (for a dual citizen)

As another poster said be aware that some (not all) US police departments require US high school graduation or a GED as minimum qualification. For example SFPD one of your potential choices does: San Francisco Police Department : General Information and Qualifications

I would not be deterred by this and would just go ahead and take the GED, if your an O and A level graduate from the UK it should be fairly easy and you can do it for minimal cost a a community college or adult education center in the US. I point this out as you may not realize it, and it might be the unknown reason why any applications you make are rejected. Plus its far easier and cheaper than trying to get your current UK qualifications evaluated, and I think it highly unlikely they would be accepted.
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Old Aug 4th 2015, 10:39 am   #8
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer in the US from UK (for a dual citizen)

Op, Im ex-job in the UK for a number of years and lived in SF for a year last year. I am now in Vegas. I have just applied for citizenship and am debating about applying for the job here. Make no mistake, it is a different kettle of fish all together. I have a mate who was in the same force as me and is now SWAT in Missouri. The stories he tells me makes the hair on the back of my head stand up.

Remember, its not like the UK where we have to so correct in the way we did things, over here they don't hold back. As you have never lived here I think it would be a bit of a shock to the system.

Best thing I would say is come over for say 6 months, get a crap job and settle in, weigh it up, check it out. I would definitely go on some ride alongs with different forces in that time as well to get a feel of it all.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
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Old Aug 7th 2015, 10:31 pm   #9
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer in the US from UK (for a dual citizen)

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Originally Posted by powersmurf View Post
Op, Im ex-job in the UK for a number of years and lived in SF for a year last year. I am now in Vegas. I have just applied for citizenship and am debating about applying for the job here. Make no mistake, it is a different kettle of fish all together. I have a mate who was in the same force as me and is now SWAT in Missouri. The stories he tells me makes the hair on the back of my head stand up.

Remember, its not like the UK where we have to so correct in the way we did things, over here they don't hold back. As you have never lived here I think it would be a bit of a shock to the system.

Best thing I would say is come over for say 6 months, get a crap job and settle in, weigh it up, check it out. I would definitely go on some ride alongs with different forces in that time as well to get a feel of it all.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
I agree. Extremely sound advice. Policing here in the US is different and varies depending on the location and size of location. But that gun thing introduces a dynamic that makes it very very different from UK policing.
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Old Sep 1st 2015, 10:43 am   #10
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer in the US from UK (for a dual citizen)

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Originally Posted by vikingsail View Post
I agree. Extremely sound advice. Policing here in the US is different and varies depending on the location and size of location. But that gun thing introduces a dynamic that makes it very very different from UK policing.
Its not just carrying a gun that changes the dynamics. The fourth amendment rights on arrest and seizure is also an entirely different ball game compared to UK reasonable suspicion and stop and search and if you are used to the latter, it can be a difficult habit to break
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