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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, This is my first post on these forums. My name is Zac. I am an 18 year old male from Lynn, Massachusetts. I am currently enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for Pre-Medicine, but am finding it to be dull, and not what I want to do with my life. As many kids have, I used to entertain ideas of becoming a police officer. Not just any police officer, but a K9 officer. I had a fully trained German Sheppard from the Chzeck Republic as a kid. So Now I am at a crossroads in my life when I am not sure what to do. The last couple of weeks, I have had this itch about becoming a police officer. I was wondering many things. My gereral question is What does it take to become a police officer? Also, What does it take to become a k9 officer? What kind of college degree would I need, or could I start training now, and go to school too? Also, do you get financial help going to school for your degree if your also training to be a police officer? Any help, or information would be awesome. I really have no idea what is required to be an officer, so please don't leave anything out
 

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First things first..Sign up to take the Civil Service Test in April. AND STUDY!! Trying to be a Police Officer in MA is like chewing on broken glass.....

It's great to have a Criminal Justice Degree obviously, but a Business degree is right up there and will help you out more so if you decide to change your mind again in the near future. I have my Associates Degree in Criminal Justice and My BA in Business. I'm also going back for my Masters in Law. As many people can tell you on this site, being a PO is hard work and many people get burt out...so like I said.. it's only going to help you if you have something to fall back on. Plus.. there's nothing like a police officer that knows the law first hand. They're a MAJOR help!

Depending on the department.., SD or a PD.... the training requires different things. Most places you have to put in your time first and then apply to be a K-9 officer. There is a lot of training....you and your dog HAVE to work together and that's sometimes tough to find a good match. But it's a great position and the dogs are awesome!

As of right now most departments do not require you to have a college degree, it basically just helps you...knowledge, pay rate, etc.But as like with any college you do not get a specific "break" just because you want to be a police officer. There are grants and student loans you could take out to help you.

Becoming an officer is a great feeling if thats what you really want to do. Most people that want to be a PO have wanted it forever....So it's hard to say in your case. I'd say stick with what your doing and see what you get on the test..also you can see if your local PD does civilian ride alongs.. that's always a pretty good idea as to the day in the life of a police officer.

Please be advised.... People DO NOT like police officers...people like fireman, you are a constant target, the hours are crazy, you learn real quick that no ones honest anymore, you tend to see everyone at their worst, people WILL shoot at you, they WILL do what they can to hurt you, the pay ins't always the greatest for what you do on a daily basis, and kiss all those family holidays goodbye, cause you'll be working when everyone else is at home having a good time, the shit you see will boggle your mind and tend to become very thick skinned....this is a highly stressful position. But remember.... and I was always told what is said after the BUT means much more than what was said before.....it's one of the most rewarding jobs you can find. You're helping make this crazy World a better place, and as much as things suck out there, which they DO!, you're one of the good guys~

I'd say put some real thought into it...take the test, research the ride alongs, talk to PO's both young and old (you'll get some great opinions), and I hope you're in Shape! lol

GOOD LUCK!!!
 

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Okay... All great advise up above... But let me tell you about the Massachusetts hiring system...

I am 26.. I have been trying to get on since I was 18... My family heritgage has belonged to the Boston Police and Boston Fire... along comes me and all of a sudden I have better chances of winning the lottery..

I have a BS and a JD... Admitted as an attorney in Mass. I have an EMT-B Cert, on an aux dept, have all other certs that you can imagine, oh and sit on my town council... and believe it or not .. I can't get on a dept.. I came very close to getting on one in Maine, just had to wait for the call. Then the town had no money ended up laying officers off.. and away went my chances...

Soooo Zach.. my advice... start young... get used to the frustration.. take the exams... get your education... and good luck to you.... Volunteer on a dept... get into the explorer programs... get to know your local chief, selectman, anything you can... by not doing something you only hurt yourself.... do everything that you can...
 

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Consider the military. Dont be fooled by the importance of a college degree. Yes it is important, but you are FAR more likely to become a police officer as a veteran rather than a civilian. Do a site search and you should find many posts to help you out.
 

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Zac, there is not too much more I can add to copchika911's post, everything that you asked was hit upon. Don't get confused on the STUDY part, there is no particular study guide for the civil service test. It is mostly reading comprehension and memory based. There are also a number of departments in Massachusetts that are non-civil service that conduct their own testing. Start taking the tests now (civil service and non civil service) if for nothing else practice.

18 is not the crossroads in your life you have plenty of time to make your decision on what you want to do in life, I had a guy in my academy that was in his 50's and was just starting his career in law enforcement. Most departments are looking at applicants over the age of 21 anyway so at the very least you have a few years to plan. Also look into a second language while your attending school, that’s a plus with any department.

There are many departments up your way that have auxiliary units, that might be a way to see if this is something that you are interested in doing. Auxiliary units augment the police department when needed, most perform traffic duty at civic events while others go out on patrol. The down side is that they are 99.9% volunteer and you have to pay for your equipment and uniforms.

Many departments also offer citizen police academies, that will shed a little light on police work and will most likely provide you with a few ride alongs.

A book that you may want to pick up is Trooper Down | Life and Death on the Highway Patrol by Marie Bartlett it hits upon the not so glamorous side of the profession.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys, all your feedback has been very very helpful. Now that I have had a little more time, I am also getting the chance to read other peoples threads, and the posts under them. This site is awesome and I hope to get to know alot of you through the forums. All your help is appreciated. Thanks again.
 

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Zac, Look elsewhere... Florida, California, Arizona, etc.. there are many more and better opportunities beyond New England. You're young enough to make a move elsewhere for a PO job. Finish school, then apply to departments elsewhere.

If you don't like pre-med, change your Major for the next semester to something that interests you. Perhaps Criminal Justice, but thats not absolutely neccessary. Having a college degree in just about anything will help your chances of a Police job. I only recommend changing your major for 2 reasons, 1- It's be a long four years if you're already bored, and 2- if you get into something you like, graduating with honors is nice on your resume too.
 

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Consider the military. Dont be fooled by the importance of a college degree. Yes it is important, but you are FAR more likely to become a police officer as a veteran rather than a civilian. Do a site search and you should find many posts to help you out.
I know far more people who have degrees in CJ with Full Time police jobs (myself included) than guys with military experience. Zack, don't be discouraged by the other members of this board, the fact is that it is hard to get onto a dept Full Time but it is not impossible. If you are a squared away kid and have a good head on your shoulders, you should be all set. If you need any positive advise please pm me.
 
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