From Military to Law Enforcement: Tips for Making the Transition
Posted in Uncategorized on August 14, 2018
Last Updated: August 14, 2018
Many of the attributes that military veterans have developed during their time in the service make them ideal candidates for work in civilian law enforcement. Clarity in stressful situations, dedication and hard work make the transition to law enforcement an obvious potential next step after your Expiration of Active Obligated Service (EAOS).
If you’re considering a transition from the military to law enforcement, there are a few tips that can help make the move a success.
From Military to Law Enforcement
There are several differences you’ll encounter as you begin the transition from the military to law enforcement. Like many professional civilian jobs, the hiring process can stretch for weeks and even months. Start making plans at least a year before your EAOS and think about where you would live and what you would live off if you had a significant gap between paychecks.
When doing your initial research, you can also call a department and ask specific questions to help gain an accurate perspective on what your experience would entail.
For example, you can ask if the law enforcement department:
- Holds their own academy or sends recruits to a regional one?
- Is actively hiring or just filling the hiring pool?
- Pays during the academy?
- Waves residency requirements for military veterans?
Other things you should consider in your transition from the military to law enforcement, include:
1. Mental Preparedness
A serious but important thing to consider is your mental preparedness for law enforcement. While your military service most definitely taught you the discipline and hard work necessary for law – not to mention a familiarity with firearms – the work will put you into stressful, sometimes violent situations. If you have any lingering stress-related issues from your prior service, you may want to spend some time resolving that and even receiving counseling if needed before pursuing a law enforcement career. Many servicemembers make excellent law enforcement agents and have no issues with this, but it is important to be aware of the type of work you will be encountering to give you the highest chance of success.
2. Online Presence
While you are preparing for the application process, take a moment to review your online presence, especially your social media profiles. It only takes a few moments to remove your own posts or untag yourself from photos that might not cast you in the best light. You can be sure that your future employer will be checking your profiles, at least in passing, and you don’t want indiscretions from your past to paint a negative picture. You can also choose options that prevent people from tagging you or posting to your wall to ensure you have total control over your social media presence.
You may also want to consider creating a resume or at least a handy contact list to help you fill out employment applications. While it can be challenging to keep up with past supervisors and references due to transfers, the personnel department at your command can be very helpful. Your future employer will most likely ask for contact information for previous supervisors, so build that into your preparation work. Also, be sure you have access to your DD 214, as you’ll need it for most applications.
While money is not everything, it’s important to take a long, hard look at your expenses and the salaries offered by various departments, remembering that while the numbers might seem quite a bit higher than your time in the service, they do not come with many of the benefits you and your family received while in the military. Things like health care, housing, meals and even a uniform may or may not be covered by the listed salary you’d be receiving in the civilian world.
You have served your country with honor and know what it means to protect others with courage in dangerous situations. Your experience makes you an obvious fit to protecting civilians in the United States in the very same way.
With a little preparation, you’ll find the right line of law enforcement that builds on your military career and gives you the chance to keep making a difference in the world by protecting and serving.