Massachusetts Cop Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, first post!

I'm currently in college getting my Bachelors in CJ. Anyway, I've been giving a lot of thought about where in this profession I want to end up, and I've been looking at several Sheriff's departments. One question:

I'd like to get my Masters in CJ - ideally without paying for it. Suffolk County Sheriff's Dept. website says that one of the benefits is free tuition at any state school. I've looked at several other Sheriff Dept websites (middlesex, essex, barnstable, plymouth, norfolk, nantucket - by then my eyes just about started bleeding and I gave up)but none of them mention this particular benefit. Of course, they don't talk at length about benefits at all. So is this pretty standard among MA sheriff's departments? Also, any advice for someone hoping to get into the field would be welcome!

And to those already in it, you work a difficult, dangerous, and thankless job. Thanks for keeping the rest of us safe and take care.
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,167 Posts
Pats,

That is a standard benefit offered to most state employees. When I worked at Essex, that was offered. The one bit of advice I can offer, is if you want to be a corrections officer, be sure you have it in your heart to do that. If you want to be a police officer, work at the jail for a few years, and get out as soon as you can. A lot of people are disapointed by corrections work. You will deal with miserable inmates, and many miserable co-workers for most of your career. You have to keep a positive attitude and like what you do. I spent 5 years in the jail, and left and I think I am a far better police officer now because of the time that I spent in there learning how to deal with difficult people and difficult situations.
 
G

·
The "free tuition", while certainly a great discount, is not nearly free. Tuition at state schools is usually less than what you'll pay in fees, which are positively ridiculous. You'll end up paying about half of what a regular student would, which is still a bargain, but hardly free.

As for wanting to get on a sheriff's department I'll echo what Pearl said; make sure you're heart is in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,509 Posts
They don't have that benefit in Bristol County. It is still under the County and not totally State run. I asked the same question when I worked there and that was the answer that I was given.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks to everyone for your replies. PearlyOnyx, what you've said has echoed a lot about what I've heard about Corrections. A cop friend of mine once said something along the lines of "the only difference between the COs and the inmates is that the COs go home at the end of the day". I know anything in the law enforcement field is going to harden a person, what with all the shit they see, but Corrections seems especially bad. It just makes me respect them all the more.

And thanks Delta. I guess theres no such thing as a free lunch - I hadn't thought of all the various fees that have to come with it.

But do a lot of COs take advantage of the education benefits? I would imagine its tough balancing a 40+ hour workweek with taking classes. Has anyone had any experience with this?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
"A cop friend of mine once said something along the lines of "the only difference between the COs and the inmates is that the COs go home at the end of the day". I know anything in the law enforcement field is going to harden a person, what with all the shit they see, but Corrections seems especially bad. It just makes me respect them all the more."

Someone who had been a CO in a large prison once posed the question to me 'Do you believe that there are drugs in prisons'. When I answered 'of course', he asked me how they got there...after all, the prisoners are searched when they are brought in, visitors are generally scrutinized pretty closely...
I didn't really get what he was getting at, until he pointed out to me criminals on the inside use their criminal friends on the outside to persuade the guards to help them out...it isn't hard to find out where a guard lives, the names of his wife and kids, etc., and he says it happens a lot more than you think.

I'm not sure how much truth there is in that, and I have a hard time believing that anything more than a small percentage of guards are involved in smuggling, but between hearing things like that, and talking to buddies of mine who worked inside the brig, I decided that spending your days as a CO sounded pretty miserable. I'm sure I could slog through it, but it just doesn't seem like something I'd want to do. Dealing with bad guys while in the process of getting them off of the streets (or at least trying to) is one thing, but to just hang out with them all day, 40+ hours a week, well, no thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
I'll provide some insight on this topic for you. At Suffolk we do have the tuition reimbursement program. It benefits you if you want to get your masters of CJ. My co-worker just completed the online program at UMASS Lowell for masters. Like any reimbursement program you pay the money out of pocket up front, I think he took two classes a semester and dished out a couple grand. If he got better than a C+ I think it is he would receive his reimbursement of tuition, but like mentioned earlier, not fees. Sometimes you have to chase down HR to make sure you get this money though, as nobody likes to dish out money you earned unless you really work for it more than you are supposed to. Same goes for sick time, vacation time, credit time, etc..... The education thing can be done you just have to be determined to get it done.

Regarding the job it has it's ups and downs and you have to just try to stay focused on it being one thing, a paycheck. Sometimes it gets difficult because you will get threats and it is relatively easy for people to get information regarding where you live. It happened to a female officer the other day. She brought an inmate to court and the inmate mentioned that he knew the town she lived in, only knowing her from being in jail. But this is their life and they have nothing better to do with their time than think that they can manipulate anyone and for some reason they also believe that all women want them. So I guess semi-stalking a girl is supposed to be attractive to them....But, I digress back to my original point. If you do your job you're going to piss inmates off and piss some of them off more than any reasonable person will ever get. There will be some that you forget pissing off like that and they wont forget while others will. Same as for cops, they will piss off a ton of people and some are bound to take it personal and that cop might not remember but the criminal will.

With drugs getting into our facility I say that most of it comes in through the ass. We find a majority of our drugs usually tucked in someones ass with some bag still protruding, fun! Other times it is packed somewhere inside a gigantic load of legal work that some guy brings to court with him and they know more times than not we are too lazy to go through 1000 pages of legal work. So somehow at court either a lawyer, friend or family manage to get some stuff to this guy and they try to sneak it back.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So, just to clarify something - when I related the quote "the only difference between the COs and the inmates is that the COs go home at the end of the day" that wasn't said in the context of CO's being corrupt/dirty. It was more that working all day with miserable pricks eventually turns you into a miserable prick. What'd Nietzschesay?

"Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

Seems pretty applicable....
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
6,688 Posts
the criminal element with correctional staff has been greatly reduced. administrators are liable for drug overdoses so they monitor officers heavily. it's not some sense of purpose or anything , it's just desk jockeys covering their own ass.

prisons are full of counselors, unit managers, maintenance , health workers, etc. it's not hard to smuggle contraband inside. don't think it's just the "guards".

there is no redeeming feature working corrections. no old ladies to thank you , no smiling, waving kids, just misery. if you can work a couple of years on nights and take some classes, let the state pick up some of the tab, find a cop job here or in some other state then that would be the way to go. you'll learn more about he human condition in regards to the criminal element that you would ever want to know.

the good news is after you become a cop you'll be sending the same scumbags back to jail because the recidivism rate is like 70%.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
The phrase that is used in modern days is "The only difference between a C.O. and an inmate is that the inmate got caught."

I think the only tough part of it is that it's all a web of lies. The inmates and the administration. You can easily get caught up in it and screw up somewhere because it's how this system is. I think that's why it does take a certain type to do this job, you have to be able to truly con a con(those that are left). If you can't talk the talk with these guys or walk the walk when the time guys you really have no credibility and will be eaten alive. There comes the point where people do things out of fear and to make their job easier. I work with people I keep a watchful eye on and that's my personal opinion of their character. And if you work there you will have the same opinion of some people you work with.

the good news is after you become a cop you'll be sending the same scumbags back to jail because the recidivism rate is like 70%.
Yes, and we all know that this is entirely because our intention is to hold down these upstanding citizens from making a good life out of the horrible hand that we dealt them. Damn the man! :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
In terms of tuition reimbursement... its the state tuition remission program. If you enroll fulltime, grad or undergrad, its free tuition... you still pay the fees. If you enroll in any part time or continuing education, its 50% off the tuition... you still pay the fees. http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=hrdterm...f=eepgm_tuition_remission_guideline&csid=Ehrd

That link explains the details. Also its remission, so they waive the percentage that they give you. There are no grade requirements. For me, they waive 50% of my tuition for my masters program. I work for suffolk. Hope that helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,310 Posts
I am at QCC right now. I didn't bother with the tuition reimbursement....My tuition is $330.00. My fees are about $2800.00 for four classes. 50% of the $330.00 is $165.00 For me it wasn't worth the hastle.... My conspiracy theory is that they charge fees to circumvent the reimbursemnt.....
 

·
Subscribing Member
Joined
·
1,167 Posts
Pats,

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good dedicated correctional officers out there, but there are a lot of miserable SOB's too. That job has a way of making you very hard and cynical, more so than police work does in my experience. I have a whole new outlook on life now that I am doing police work full time, as opposed to working inside.

Bleeps,

Bad correctional officers exist, just like bad cops, bad waitresses and bad everything else. In five years I saw less than 10 or so people get fired for true illegal or unethical activity. It's not always officers either. There are a lot of civilians that work inside as well who get involved in the mix.

MD,

I have to agree regarding the administration. The worst part of my time in corrections was working with the administration, or should I say, the administration working against me. I am a hard working, honest, and ethical person, and often times I found the inmates to be more straight forward and honest than several of the people that I worked for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I have heard that state schools do kill you with fees, but not only will they be paying for tuition but they will also be paying you a paycheck that can go towards those fees. I am working for a Sheriff's Department in the state and am very interested in going back for my masters eventually.

Difficulty: You will have to go through an academy before you even get the job which is physically and mentally challenging, and is very time consuming. After you learn all the policies and proceedures, then the rules that are enforced, then see how people run their units, you have to find your own technique and style which will take some time. I know at the jail I work at, there is almost no consistency in many areas, so you have a lot of discretion when it comes to working units. When things go bad, that is when you have to follow your training and policies. Once you have been there awhile you can leave your brain at home.

Danger: I would be lying if I said it is the safest place to work, but it is not a war zone. You are dealing with people who are capable of extreme violence, but you may be in contact with convicted murderers who are very respectful and pleasant. With sentenced inmates, most of them want to do their time and go home. They also don't want to lose good time, or catch another charge. As for pretail detainees, it is amazing how many of them think they are beating their cases, and many of them don't want to do anything to jeopordize that, or catch another case. A good gauge also would be to research inmate violence in some of the departments you are interested in applying to. If you work at an HOC or jail you WILL be breaking up fights, and you may be targeted with some kind of violence. I don't come to work thinking I will be dodging shanks or bullets, but I also don't think it is out of the relm of possibilities... just not very likely. You have to hope for the best, but train for the worst.

Thankless: Definately. When you come home from work you will feel like you did nothing positive all day. You just babysitted a bunch of grown men or women who most likely had multiple temper tantrums. You will feel like you are in the movie groundhogs day.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,509 Posts
"""""""Once you have been there awhile you can leave your brain at home.""""""""

That's where you are wrong, never ever stop thinking about what you are doing, how you are going to do it and never ever become complacent.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Leaving you brain at home might work well for 700 days straight, but day 701 could be that day where you are in a situation that will test you. It is true it's not rocket science, but it is your well being. Don't miss a sign that can save you career or your life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
May leave your brain at home wasn't the best choice of words, but what I meant is that you will not be challenged mentally all that much. You follow policies and procedures, and inforce the rules your supervisors want enforced. You obviously have to be ready at all time, but every day you are going to answer the same stupid questions and deal with the same people doing the same things they aren't supposed to do.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top