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Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Old Feb 22nd 2012, 5:18 pm
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Default Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Hi folks, hope you are all well.

I have been dating my American girlfriend for quite some time and we intend to get married soon.

I understand all the information about Visa's etc. and she is currently in the States sorting out everything that we need. My question is about the police force, I have done some research but can never find the exact answer to my question.

I have graduated with a high 2:1 hons degree in Politics and wish to become a 'cop' in America. I know that I will have to wait until I am in the process of applying for my citizenship to start the police application process and I also know that I will have to wait 2-3 years until I can apply to become a citizen.

Once I begin to apply for citizenship what are my chances of getting a job as a cop? I understand it varies state to state, but just as a general idea? Will my politics degree assist in my application? Finally would it be worth while taking night classes at a local college or online, whilst waiting for my citizenship, in something like law enforcement or criminal justice?

I understand that there is quite a few questions but I would like to know as much as possible before I actually get to the states.

Thanks in advance

Liam
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Old Feb 22nd 2012, 5:26 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Apart from a few spots in the US, you need to be a US citizen to become a cop. Some places allow you to apply as a LPR if you are eligible for and apply for US citizenship.

So, getting a visa based on marriage to a US citizen, you can apply for US citizenship 3 years, minus 90 days from the date you are granted LPR status.

Chances of getting a job as a cop, depends where in the country you are.

Down my way, lot easier in the middle of podonk no where, but in Boston, pretty tough. Most folks have studies in criminal law or other such background. Folks that don't, have a military background.

Still very tough getting a job even after getting lots of study under your belt.
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Old Feb 22nd 2012, 6:05 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

In the town I live in, I have been part of the hiring process for the last 5 years, sitting on the interview board.

We don't insist on a degree, in fact 50% of the recent hires didn't have one. But all but two had been a reserve officer, one of the others was a prison guard. Our department is mainly ex reserve and then an equal split between ex military and people who had no previous experience of either but just blew us away when they interviewed. When we discuss the applicants at the end of the interview stage we have never included their educational qualifications in the discussion, unless they had a direct relation to law enforcement. We always look very hard at their work record, how they have prepared themselves to be a police officer, and their personality - how well will they fit into our department. Reserve experience is a highly prized asset when applying for police jobs in the departments in our area.
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Old Feb 22nd 2012, 9:42 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Originally Posted by liam1682 View Post
Will my politics degree assist in my application?
Not likely... not anywhere near as much as a degree in criminal justice would!


Finally would it be worth while taking night classes at a local college or online, whilst waiting for my citizenship, in something like law enforcement or criminal justice?
Yes... but a degree or graduate certificate would be better.


I would like to know as much as possible before I actually get to the states.
Perhaps you could let us know where in the US you'll be living... since the answers will vary by state.

Ian
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Old Feb 22nd 2012, 9:45 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
Not likely... not anywhere near as much as a degree in criminal justice would!



Yes... but a degree or graduate certificate would be better.



Perhaps you could let us know where in the US you'll be living... since the answers will vary by state.

Ian
Hi Ian, I will be living in Minnesota.

Also how long do the graduate certificates/degrees in criminal justice take?
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Old Feb 22nd 2012, 10:27 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

This information was last updated on December 20, 2011.

The Saint Paul Police Department is respected for being a leader in Minnesota law enforcement. If you are interested in joining the men and women of the SPPD and serving a diverse community, read the following information:


Police Officer Requirements:
You must be at least 21 years old.
You must be a United States citizen.
You must have a valid Minnesota Drivers License (Class D), or equivalent out-of-state license with no suspensions or revocations on your record within the last two years, prior to appointment (parking-related offenses may be excluded).
You must not have any criminal convictions of gross misdemeanor or the equivalent level.
You must not have any felony convictions; including pardons and/or expungements (according to Minnesota Statute 364.09).
You must not have any physical/domestic assault or eluding the police convictions.
You must be in good physical condition.
You must successfully complete a background investigation, psychological examination and a medical examination.
You must be Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) licensed or eligible to be licensed as a peace officer in the State of Minnesota, by the date of conditional offer for employment.
If you have a college degree other than Law Enforcement, you must obtain a Law Enforcement Certificate from any eligible college/university in the State of Minnesota.

How do you become POST eligible?
Contact the Minnesota State POST Board:
651-643-3060 or https://dps.mn.gov/entity/post


Police Officer Salary and Benefits
Minimum starting salary (bi-weekly): $1,915.67; Maximum starting salary (bi-weekly): $2,464.80
Vacation:
1-5 years: 15 days
5-9 years: 20 days
10-14 years: 23 days
15-19 years: 25 days
20+ years: 27 days

Holidays: Ten days per year
Other Benefits


Here is a link to the City of St.Paul MN perhaps you can contact somebody in the Dept who can point you in the right direction. Good luck.

http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=1838

Last edited by Oregon4now; Feb 22nd 2012 at 10:36 pm. Reason: .. source
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Old Feb 22nd 2012, 10:48 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

I may be able to put you in touch with a MN cop, if you like. Feel free to P
M me if interested.
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Old Feb 22nd 2012, 11:00 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

FWIW in my area back in the USA pretty much every hire for police work lately has been ex-military, many of them combat vets from Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you have three years to kill before you are a citizen, consider sitting for a US law degree (a JD). Would make you extremely valuable to a police force.
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Old Feb 23rd 2012, 5:50 am
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
FWIW in my area back in the USA pretty much every hire for police work lately has been ex-military, many of them combat vets from Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you have three years to kill before you are a citizen, consider sitting for a US law degree (a JD). Would make you extremely valuable to a police force.
Same here.
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Old Feb 23rd 2012, 1:15 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Originally Posted by liam1682 View Post
Also how long do the graduate certificates/degrees in criminal justice take?
My bad... I should have been more specific in asking where you'd be living, but which city? Minnesota is a large state and only a bit smaller than the entire UK. There are a number of fine universities in Minnesota but, generally speaking a Bachelor's degree in CJ will take 4 years full-time; a Master's degree usually 2 years full-time; and a graduate certificate probably 2 years part-time.

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Old Feb 23rd 2012, 3:16 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

My UK born, though now US citizen daughter is an Orange County (FL) Sheriffs Deputy. She studied Criminal Justice via night classes at the local community college - but her smart move was to apply for and gain a civilian role within the department. She worked 911 and later dispatch in the comms center.
This had two benefits. 1. She quickly learned the inner workings of patrol in that agency. 2. because she was so single-minded in her desire to become a LEO, she grabbed EVERY opportunity to 'ride-along' and get involved in all activities where cops and civilian staff mixed.
The consequence of this was that she became one of 8 applicants who were sponsored (paid) to attend the Police Training Academy (out of around 1500 applicants) - and who was guaranteed a position in the department on graduation.
In her class of 28 - 11 got through - and 4 of the sponsored applicants couldn't hack it either (very, very tough regimen).
Of the 4 sponsored and successful applicants, 1 has been redeployed by USMC and another couldn't cope with the 'real job'.
So far (she's just coming to the end of Field Training phase, none of her self-funded fellow students have managed to secure a position, since graduating in October 2011.
It's no cake-walk.
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Old Feb 24th 2012, 10:49 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

New to the site here, a couple ideas. My wife and kids were all UK Cits. All joined the US military while holding Green Cards. All three became citizens under the abreviated military process for citizenship, about 1 year after initial training. You can Join the MN National Guard (Territorials) with a Green card. This will give you some training, US college eductaion benefits, and contacts, many in the Guard are also in Law Enforcement. Enlistments are 2-6 years based on job. You would after a time be a veteran also, for hiring preference. http://www.minnesotanationalguard.org/careers/
I am an active duty soldier and not a recruiter. It would speed up the citizenship process significantly for you also.

Cheers John
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Old Feb 24th 2012, 11:04 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Curious why post was deleted?
Join the National Guard (territorials). You get training, college benefits, and an express citizenship process about 1 year for military. You can apply immediately after completing initial training. The Guard also has many law enforcement folks in it to network. My wife and kids all did this while UK cits and GC holders. Only thing is you cannot get a security clearance for some jobs until you are a US citizen. I am in the military and not a recruiter.

Cheers
John

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Old Feb 24th 2012, 11:53 pm
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Originally Posted by SATX John View Post
Curious why post was deleted?
Join the National Guard (territorials). You get training, college benefits, and an express citizenship process about 1 year for military. You can apply immediately after completing initial training. The Guard also has many law enforcement folks in it to network. My wife and kids all did this while UK cits and GC holders. Only thing is you cannot get a security clearance for some jobs until you are a US citizen. I am in the military and not a recruiter.

Cheers
John
The posts weren't deleted. You're a new member, who posted links. They get put into mod queue automatically as a anti spam measure.

To be able to apply for US citizenship via joining the US army requires active duty posting, so I'm intrigued by a national guard being able to get it so quickly.

College benefits are pretty shit too unless you have a career in the military in mind as the small print is pretty nasty.
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Old Feb 25th 2012, 12:40 am
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Default Re: Becoming a police officer/cop in the USA

Originally Posted by Bob View Post
The posts weren't deleted. You're a new member, who posted links. They get put into mod queue automatically as a anti spam measure.

To be able to apply for US citizenship via joining the US army requires active duty posting, so I'm intrigued by a national guard being able to get it so quickly.

College benefits are pretty shit too unless you have a career in the military in mind as the small print is pretty nasty.

Not true on a couple areas. My son did it and daughter both while in the Guard. It does not require active duty service, only the enlistment in the Armed Forces, via the National Guard. I would post alink but.... Oringinal link was to the Minnesaota National Guard Site for the OP to look at it. Sorry for the feaux pax. I could go into it, but google it he would qualify under Executive Order Number 13269, for the next couple of years even in the Guard.

Education
Based on the State, once a Guard member, they get 75% minimum tutition assistance that includes other education traning (Police Academy etc...), some states 100% at state schools (TX). Those benefits are eligible upon enlistment, not following service, and during service for both technical and college training. Many of his training would count as US College credits also, leadership, PE etc... for a starting soldier they get about 12-24 credit hours just for their initial and adavanced training certfied by the majority of US colleges. He would recieve more credit based on his job, infantry vs. communications etc..

V/R
John
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