training

KN, p. 156 “Why become a law enforcement officer?”

 

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Police Officers have as many different backgrounds as the general population these days. Depending on where they live, candidates can come from poor neighborhoods as well as better ones, arrive fresh out of high school or (increasingly) college graduates, and they have all types of ethnic backgrounds. Except for the male/female balance, the mix is becoming more representative every year of our culture as a whole.

http://www.criminaljusticeschoolinfo.com/women-law-enforcement.html

Just as educational, economic and ethnic backgrounds differ, so do the reasons for applying to the academy. Take a look at a few of them:

 

Help the Community

Some of the candidates reveal in their preliminary interviews that they just want to help make their towns safer. Growing up, they may have witnessed crime in their neighborhoods and now want to protect or defend law-abiding citizens. And, it’s not uncommon for younger members of police families to want to carry on the family tradition.

 

By becoming a police officer, they will be able to:

 

  • assist in evacuations before, during, or after natural disasters.

 

  • keep the peace after power outages (guard neighborhoods from looters, patrol the streets, keep riots from breaking out when tempers flare).

 

  • search for missing persons.

 

  • take over traffic control at dangerous intersections when traffic lights don’t work.

 

  • investigate and solve crimes

 

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Have an Exciting Job

For some, even the thought of a 9 to 5 desk job is out of the question. TV shows and movies with their inaccurate portrayals notwithstanding, the idea of being on the streets and solving crimes can be a real draw. Depending on the department or the size of the city, the level of real excitement might range from that 9 to 5 desk job they didn’t want to actual street time on the narcotics squad. The assignments may not be glamorous to most people, but to a dedicated police officer, investigations are what gets them up in the morning (or more likely, middle of the night).

 

Authority

Some potential candidates are looking for jobs with a bit of authority, where civilians will look to them for direction or guidance every day on the beat. In most areas, the police are treated with respect.

 

Military Feel

Many potential police officers prefer a life that resembles the military, with its department ranks and orderly chain of command. Careers in law enforcement are actually fairly easy transitions for men and women who are leaving military duty and moving into civilian life. The mental and physical training they’ve already received during military service is very helpful during the specialized training they will receive at the various law enforcement academies.

 

Once the initial decision is made to become a Police Officer or other Law Enforcement agent, the next step is to decide which area is the best fit.

 

Here are links to posts that give overviews of the requirements for a few different types of law enforcement. A smart potential candidate takes a look before he/she makes career plans.

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Police Academy/State Trooper: http://bit.ly/14vISns

 

 

TexasRangerBadgeIMG_3560_2_2Texas Ranger: http://bit.ly/1dvnoAj

 

 

SniperSecretServiceWhiteHouseWikipediaSniper: http://bit.ly/1Kal2lz

 

 

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Detective: http://bit.ly/1CfG3IR

 

If somebody you know wants to become a cop, please pass this along.  🙂

 

 

*Photos by Patti Phillips with the exception of the sniper photo.

Sniper photo from Wikipedia

 

 

KN, p. 168 “How do you become a US Marshal?”

 

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In the last post, “What does a U.S. Marshal do?” I listed quite a few of the duties that occupy the days of U.S. Marshals working in the various sections of the U.S. Marshal Service.

 

Part 2 of the series deals with qualifications needed to become a member of the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the United States.

 

First and foremost, potential candidates must be U.S. citizens and must be between the ages of 21 and 36. There are exceptions to the upper limit, but they are addressed at the time of application.

 

Before attending academy training, candidates must:

 

  • Have a bachelor’s degree, plus a year of grad school, preferably in an area of criminal justice – with at least a B average in all coursework.
  • Pass a background check – assume that it will be thorough
  • Complete interviews and various screenings – assume they will be intense
  • Be in top physical shape – not just a gym rat
  • Have at least normal vision and hearing
  • Pass the Fitness Test – see below and decide whether you could qualify to be part of the next Academy class

 

Minimum Fitness Standards for Men (30-39) in order to pass:

 

Complete 27 pushups, followed by 36 sit-ups, immediately followed by a 1.5 mile run in less than 13 minutes.

The Superior level is pegged at 51 pushups, 50 sit-ups and that same 1.5 mile completed in less than 9 minutes.

 

Minimum Fitness Standards for Women (30-39) in order to pass:

 

Complete 14 pushups, followed by 27 sit-ups, with the 1.5 miles finished in less than 16 minutes.

Reaching the Superior level requires more than 22 pushups, more than 41 sit-ups and the 1.5 mile run to be completed in less than 12 minutes.

 

The other age charts don’t differ all that much. Let’s face it, if 2-3 pushups more or less would make the difference in your candidacy, you probably aren’t ready yet.

If you are at the minimums when passing the Fitness Test, keep in mind that as an overall candidate, the other parts of your resume will need to be much stronger than at the minimum.

 

Why is it necessary to be in such good shape? The U.S. Marshals in charge of transporting prisoners or apprehending fugitives will need to work in all kinds of extreme weather conditions. The USA has both Alaska and Florida within its borders, with snowstorms, hurricanes, freezing temps as well as sweltering heat to contend with. At times, Marshals may have to wear Kevlar vests in the heat or resist an assault or run for blocks or be in confined spaces with dangerous criminals…you get the idea.

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You’ve passed the initial screening and now it’s time for you to:

 

  • Pass the 21 ½ week basic training program at the United States Marshals Service Training Academy.

 

United States Marshals Service Basic Training Academy is conducted at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), in Glynco, GA. The training is tough and since it is experienced in the intense heat and humidity of the world that is Georgia (USA), potential candidates are warned that top physical condition means just that. To prepare for the intensity of the Academy training, potential candidates are warned to start hydrating weeks before setting one foot at the Center. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, just to stay alive in the brutal summers of the South – forget about all the intense 1 to 10 mile runs combined with workouts, climbing, obstacle courses, and sprints that are coming at unscheduled times during training.

 

Some of the subjects covered during training include:

  • Building entry and search
  • Computer training
  • Court security
  • Defensive tactics
  • Driver training
  • Firearms training
  • High profile trials
  • Officer survival
  • Physical conditioning
  • Prisoner search and restraint
  • Search and seizure
  • Surveillance

 

There are seven exams given during the 21+ weeks. Each test must be passed with a score of at least 70%. There are additional practical exams scored with a pass/fail.

 

The subjects covered during training are necessary knowledge that a U.S. Marshal must internalize in order to do his/her job well. Lives depend on doing that job well.

 

Post Academy

 After successfully completing the training program and getting out into the field, U.S. Marshals are required to attend annual training sessions to maintain proficiency in certain areas or to learn new forensic techniques available.

 

Every six months, re-qualification is required for primary and off-duty handguns, rifles, shotguns, and perhaps submachine or semi-automatic guns if needed.

 

Once a year, re-qualification is required for batons and stunguns, as well as other non-lethal devices.

 

After seven years, the Deputy U.S. Marshals attend an advanced basic training session.

 

Think the training and ongoing retraining is something you could handle? From all reports, the job is an interesting one most of the time. There are reports to file, stake-outs to sit through and occasional boring parts of the work, but although sometimes dangerous, the job of a US Marshal is  essential to keep our court and judicial system running smoothly.

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For more information, please visit www.usmarshals.gov

Photo credits:

Collage of badges edited from the US Marshal website
Middle and bottom badge photos – Wikipedia

 

 

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KN, p. 134 “Could you be a detective?”

 

 

Detectives on TV have great jobs. They swoop into a crime scene after it’s been secured, and the Crime Scene Techs take care of all the evidence collection and any photography needed. The Patrol Officers take the statements and canvas the neighborhoods. All the stars of the shows need to do is solve the crime using their brains and years of experience in assessing homicides just like the one in front of them. You’re pretty bright and always solve the imaginary mystery ahead of the TV cops, so you could do that, right?

 

Be careful what you wish for, because not every town has special people assigned to be detectives and you may have to move to the big city in order to realize your dream.

 

In smaller towns, the police departments are too small (think “Jessie Stone” on TV) to have fancy labs, and the crime scene tech may be the same guy that answers the phones at headquarters. Any detecting is most likely done by the police officers themselves.

 

The sometime ‘detectives’ in smaller jurisdictions don’t have as many murder cases to work as in the big cities, so their time may be spent catching speeding motorists, or figuring out who broke into the liquor store after hours or how the Fitzer barn happened to burn down. There may be robberies, burglaries, domestic abuse, runaways, assault, and potential arson cases to resolve, and if there is more than one case at a time that comes into the local office, the investigations may be handed off to the county or state law enforcement agencies. In big cities, however, the need for detectives may be serious enough to create divisions that specialize in robbery or homicide or arson or cybercrime or gang activity.

 

The reality is that being a detective of any kind may be fascinating work, but Homicide Detectives have long hours (rarely 9 to 5) and are awakened in the middle of the night when a body is discovered. The investigation must be conducted while the leads are hot. If the killer isn’t caught within the first few days, the trail gets cold and the case gets tougher to solve. Sometimes, because there is not enough local manpower available or even a lab to process evidence, cases that require forensic analysis are handed over to county or state agencies.

 

What does it take to be a detective?

 

Training/Education – larger cities and/or state and federal agencies, or private corporations,  require criminal justice degrees for investigator/detective spots. If you’d like to investigate insurance fraud, art forgery/theft, or mail fraud, additional specific training will be expected.

 

A candidate for the position of Homicide Detective would most likely start out as a patrol officer, having gone through the Police Academy first. Some cities require criminal justice degrees, or four-year college degrees in order to advance, so patrol officers interested in shifting the focus of their careers, may have to attend college in off hours. In smaller departments, detectives are sometimes chosen because of a special aptitude for spotting crime scene details. Some departments require candidates to pass special written/oral tests. At this point, there is no national standard for either minimum educational requirements, or training, to be a Homicide Detective.

 

Skills – Homicide Detectives must be able to organize information, work for long hours, be physically fit, be emotionally able to deal with the terrible things they will see, and have a strong stomach. He/she can’t be bothered by blood, or body parts scattered around. In order to be effective, they must be able to interrogate witnesses without having them clam up. They should be able to ask questions that require other than yes and no answers. Immediately after a crime has occurred, the detectives must be able to discover the facts, sort out the details, determine the oddities of a case, and deal with grieving widows and relatives and neighbors.

 

Not really interested in murders, but want to solve those sexy art fraud and insurance fraud cases? Cybercrime sounds cool to you?

 

In that case, you need:

  • a great eye for detail
  • ability to pick out missing information or conflicting information in someone’s story
  • excellent observational skills
  • ability to solve situational puzzles
  • ability to interpret body language or speaking patterns
  • reasoning skills
  • ability to make educated guesses about how certain people would act under stress.

 

Pretty much what a Homicide Detective needs, but without dealing with the blood.

 

Like digging through seemingly unrelated facts in order to come up with the ‘who, what, where and how’ of a crime? Then a ‘why’ so that motive can be established?

Maybe you could be detective.  🙂

 

 

Related article:

http://www.newgeography.com/content/00242-america-more-small-town-we-think   

      

 

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