In order to succeed at something so selective and challenging you must understand the cause and truly feel the duty it brings to you. Those that possess the characteristics for becoming a police officer could not do anything but be a police officer, it’s something you’re born with and that you feel. It chooses you, you do not choose it. For many in this world the thought of crime scares them. It brings out the fear of violence, drugs, and the images of some of the worst places or scariest people this world has to offer. It gives officers of law enforcement it gives the thoughts of opportunity to make a difference.
The times in which most run away, officers of law enforcement run towards. To be a police officer it is not about the paycheck, it is not about the power it gives to you over another citizen. Its the ability to make a difference and impact society, the ability to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Being a police officer is not something you chose to do; it is something that chooses you. It’s not Just a Job, it’s a lifestyle, it’s not Just a paycheck but a way of life, those that are destined to become police officers don’t “turn it off’ after their shift is over, they don’t call out sick, and they don’t work regular hours.
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Police officers sacrifice; they sacrifice their time off, time with family and friends, but most of all they sacrifice themselves and their own well being for the good of those in which they vow to protect and serve, they sacrifice through every single way possible and in some cases they make the ultimate sacrifice. The life of a police officer is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for someone who doesn’t fully feel and know in their heart that there is no other profession or road of life they could be on other than that of an officer of the law.
Ever since I was a child I have been infatuated with the police and law. I remember as a child running around my grandparents neighborhood playing “reliever” with my friends and always wanting to be the team tasked with capturing the other kids, or riding our bikes around the neighborhood pretending to pull one another over and issuing fake tickets, sometimes even arresting each other and using the cheap plastic handcuffs from the drugstore to put the “suspect” into custody.
One of my most vivid memories and the one I believe captured my attention to truly make me feel that becoming a police officer was the life path I was destined to take was watching cops with my grandmother. I remember fondly sitting on my grandfathers lay-z-boy becoming instantly fascinated with the different traffic stops and dispute calls the police would perform. I remember every episode, I would become so engrossed with what was happening and the different calls the officers would go on that I would imagine I was with them and going along as a fellow officer assisting in the arrests.
Throughout my life, my opinions and personality changed. Every three years it seemed I was a totally different person than the one before, but one thing that always remained was that I wanted to be involved in law enforcement in one way r another, I wanted to be a part of the brotherhood and to make a difference, I knew that I had the ability both intellectually and integrity wise to get through law school and become a lawyer but I knew from a young age sitting in an office wasn’t what I wanted to do, I wanted to impact my community in a positive way through law enforcement, I wanted to be down on the street, in the thick of it.
I wanted to see and handle the crime and the thugs first hand; I wanted to be the face of law enforcement. The characteristics of the Job that made most people deflect away are what attracted me the most. The long hours, the threat of danger and adrenaline rushes, even the middle class pay grades, they all intrigued me and made me want this type of lifestyle even more.
As I got older I looked into law enforcement more and more and with much more scrutiny and detail, I heard the positives and negatives, the risks and the rewards, and the one thing that always stuck out in my mind was the fact that no matter what I heard or what I learned about the career, I never lost interest. I never became deterred, I always carried myself as someone who wanted a future rarer in law enforcement. While some of my friends got into trouble growing up and during high school I made sure to keep my nose clean.
I always spoke to everyone with respect and a professional tone, I took my part time Jobs seriously and I made good impressions on all those that I met. I felt, and still do feel, that you cannot make a leader, leaders are born. I firmly believe the same goes for police officers, you cannot take anyone and transform them into a police officer, you can only hope that those that possess the qualities of a police officer realize their gift and pursue the career.
This mentality has driven me to change myself physically, mentally, and it has also caused me to change the views of those around me. When I was younger and I brought up the fact that I would like to become a police officer my parents were not thrilled. They did not want me to spend my career in danger handling the worst people that society has to offer. They wanted me, like most parents, to become a doctor or lawyer, have a comfortable life both financially and personal safety wise. I knew that I was better suited for being a police officer out on the street.
I did not care about the money or social sacrifices I would have to make, UT most importantly I did not value my personal safety over those that looked up to me, this I believe is a huge quality and characteristic of police officers, to wake up every day and know that you may have to lay down your life in order to protect a complete stranger, not everyone could do this. I learned that I possessed this quality during my years as a high school athlete, I played goalie for my high school lacrosse team.
I played a different position prior to high school but my freshman year the captains came to the team and asked for someone to step up and play goalie, I was the only one in my class to raise my hand. In all of sports, a lacrosse goalie is ranked as one of the top 3 most dangerous positions because the solid rubber ball in the sport travels at a speed of 80 to 95 MPH. The goalie wears almost no pads other than a helmet, chest pad, gloves, and an athletic cup. Throughout a season a goalie suffers severe contusions all over their body and on top of this, they are the last line of defense for their team.
The position is a high risk-low reward position. If the team wins, they overlook your saves and focus on the players who scored the winning goal but if you lose everyone looks at you for the amount of goals you let in. Most importantly the position is chaotic, hectic, loud, and fast paced and you need to make a decision quickly. The average goalie has . 2 seconds to make a decision during a game. Therefore you must possess the ability to think quickly on your feet, read, evaluate, and act on a situation extremely fast. This is a huge characteristic of a being a police officer.
I knew that the position was not for everyone, if it was easy everyone would do it was my philosophy, I did not question why no one else raised their hand that day at tryouts but rather did the Job knowing that others relied on me. The same applies for hat of a police officer. Police officers don’t consider the dangers of the Job they do, the risks they take every day and the low rewards that come with the Job. The greatest reward is something no one else can see, it’s something you feel. It’s knowing that you are part of select brotherhood of others that do everything they can, and then some, to make the world safer.
There are many different forms of law enforcement in the world. I have chosen to pursue the route of a field officer, someone who goes out and stops crime first hand. I have looked at becoming a lawyer or someone who is a part of the processing aspect f law and the one field of law enforcement that speaks to me and attracts me above all others is that of a field officer, or police officer. I have said before that those that are police officers do not know why they wish to be a police officer, they Just know that it is something that has chosen them.
I have looked at the different law enforcement agencies on all levels from federal to state to local. I have narrowed it down to two different possible agencies that I am pursing and hoping to be employed with, these are, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Delaware State Police. The FBI is on the federal level while the ADS is on the state level. Each have their own responsibilities, mission statements, duties, and specialized departments within. Before I pursue a career with either of these departments I am attending college and receiving a bachelor’s degree in “Criminal Justice”.
After college commencement I will be enlisting in the United States Marine Corps Officer Candidate School and serving my country on the national level as a United States Marine Officer for 4 to 6 years of my life. I have chosen the Marines because they claim to be the best. Their Otto is “The few, the Proud, the Marines”. This has always struck me in a positive, almost challenging way. Other military organizations ask you to Join them giving you a list of opportunities and rewards they can give you.
The Marine Corps challenge you to Join them, they tell you what you can do for them and earn for yourself in the process, they offer the hardest and longest training process out of all the military services and, Just like the ADS, they claim to be the best organization out there. Eve always wanted to be a part of the best unit I can be. I always wanted to be the best of he best. I feel that there is no other option then to push yourself to the Max and to never stop trying to get better at everything you possibly can.
I feel that obtaining a college degree and becoming an officer in the Marine Corps will help separate me from others in the selection processes of both the FBI and the ADS. Both of these organizations have rigorous and intense selection processes taking on average at least a year to go through both select candidates for specialized training to transform them into effective and capable tools of law enforcement. I feel whole heartedly that he Marine Corps will help prepare me for the discipline and training I will endure during the selection process and training periods of both the FBI and the ADS, should I be accepted into these organizations.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, is a federal police organization that focuses on neutralizing and preventing crime that are too large and diverse for police agencies on the local and state levels. Their mission statement is, “To protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and rimming Justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, mission statement, 2012) The FBI has numerous specialized units; in fact, it’s safe to say that they are nothing but specialized units that all work together under one name and for the same cause, to protect the United States. The FBI has field units in security, SWAT, drug enforcement, national security, air security. They also have law units that investigate and chase down some of the country’s worst criminals; they sometimes go global in order to track threats against he United States.
You can be a linguist and handle language barriers, field agents, they also have a hostage rescue team. The FBI selection process is unbelievably intense there are seven steps to the process. There is the online application process which is the first step and gets your name in the system along with your accomplishments and attributes. Then comes the written test portion which covers your situational Judgment skills along with your logical reasoning skills. The second phase of testing includes a written paper testing portion along with an interview from a panel of FBI board members.
The next phase is a conditional letter which must be written by a member of the FBI board and approved, giving you permission to continue and take the physical testing portion of the selection process. This tests your ability to run in both a sprint and a timed mile run and do sit-up and pushup in timed fashion. If you complete and pass these qualifications you are submitted to go through a thorough background check by the FBI and if everything in your background check checks out you are submitted to go through a medical examination to see if you are in proper physical health to be an agent in the FBI.
The selection process for the FBI is rigorous, in depth, and competitive. They select only the best candidates and those that they think will perform the Job to the best of their abilities to help out the bureau in every way possible. The Delaware State Police, ADS, is a state level organization that specializes in the governing three counties in the state of Delaware. Unlike other state police agencies, the ADS not only patrol high ways and enforce traffic violations, they also handle all other police priorities that local police agencies handle as well. The average Delaware
State Trooper on a typical day will handle traffic violations and answer domestic dispute calls. They handle crimes ranging from felonies to misdemeanors. The ADS have canine units, detectives, undercover units, scuba units, SWAT units, air units, and patrol officers. As a Delaware State Trooper you can be a part of any of these units as long as you apply and pass the testing for each. The mission of the ADS is, “To enhance the quality of life for all Delaware citizens and visitors by providing professional, competent, and compassionate law enforcement services. (Delaware State Police, Mission Statement, 2012). Like the FBI, the ADS selection process is insanely rigorous and intense, it takes roughly a year to complete and over 1000 applicants apply and out of those, only 23 are selected to become Delaware State Troopers (Tap. 1st class Jewell, A. 2012). The selection process contains a written process after being accepted from an online application. Once the written process is done an oral board interview is conducted.
If you pass that you are then submitted to the physical fitness portion of the selection process and tested on your ability to perform sit-ups, pushup, and a mimed mile run. If you pass the physical fitness portion you are then submitted to undergo a polygraph exam and fill out a background investigation packet while also being investigated by the police department’s investigation unit and interview teams. If all of this is completed and you pass, the ADS will decide on whether or not to admit you to the Delaware State Police Training Academy located in Dover, Delaware.
In review of both of these organizations I have decided that I will pursue a career with the Delaware State Police as primary career source and the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a secondary career source, as I reviewed and compared both of these organizations I have sided with the ADS because of their primary cause which is helping make the community safer on more of a local and state level rather than focusing on a national level. I want to help the people in my community and perform the tasks and duties that are required of the Delaware State Police more so than the Federal Bureau of Investigations.
I have failed to list the pay grades of both of the organizations as in my personal beliefs I do not feel that is important, in becoming a ember of law enforcement, such a police officer, it is not about the money. Police officers do the Job because it is a calling, the fact that the Job pays you is a bonus, police officers don’t go into work because of the paycheck they go into work every day with the intentions of doing something good for the community and impacting it in a positive way, they chose this career not because of the pay but because they wouldn’t be able to do anything else.
If you hear the call of law enforcement there is no escaping it, you must answer it and until you do so you will not feel fully and truly satisfied. This isn’t Just a Job but a lifestyle. As I stated above, I plan on obtaining a 4 year bachelors degree in criminal Justice and serving 4 to 6 years in the SUMS. I feel that taking this route before pursuing my career as a Delaware State Trooper will better prepare me both mentally and physically for my tasks as a police officer, as it will also help me standout in the selection process.
I have also gone on multiple “ride-along” with the Delaware State Police and seen firsthand the day to day calls and activities of a State Trooper. This career has called me and I am in the process of answering it, one step at a time. I have kept my nose clean and stayed out of trouble, I will not Jeopardize myself and my future career with reckless behavior. “If it was easy, everyone would do it”- unknown, that quote sums up my entire attitude towards life, I choose to perform the Jobs, duties, and tasks that most do not wish to perform.
I feel it as my duty and a sense of guilt comes over me when I do not fully undergo and take down these tasks. I believe this is the mentality most police officers and those that have heard the calling feel. The undoubted need and want to help, they undertake the Jobs that most would not. In times of peril it is the police, firemen, paramedics, and military personnel that run toward the danger. This is something that cannot be explained by anyone in any of these fields; it is something that is understood as special and unique to a certain breed of individual.
Police officers don’t question the thought of chasing an armed suspect down a dark alley, they Just do. Firemen don’t wonder why they go into a burning building as others run out, they Just do. Paramedics and military personnel don’t realize that they are saving lives by risking their own well being, they Just do. The sense and feelings of being in one of these positions cannot be explained, many of times my parents, family members, and friends have asked me, “Tom why do you want to be a Marine? Or Police Officer? And every time I tell them the exact same thing, “If you have to ask me, you wouldn’t understand”. No one besides a police officer understands why they do it, risk their lives for complete strangers for low amounts of pay, long hours, and low social rewards. They don’t do it for any of the reasons above, they do it because it’s their duty, it’s who they are, and it’s ingrained in their blood and DNA. The ability to be a police officer is a unique and special trait; it’s not Just a career but a lifestyle.