Leveraging Your Military Experience to Prepare for a Law Enforcement Career

Leveraging Your Military Experience to Prepare for a Law Enforcement Career

0
Get started on your Homeland Security Degree at American Military University.

By Dr. Jarrod Sadulski
Faculty Member, Criminal Justice, American Military University

Many servicemembers aim for a career in law enforcement after their military service. Lots of law enforcement agencies do not have a maximum age limit, so a second career in law enforcement is a realistic option. Conversely, police departments often seek out candidates who have prior military experience.

Why Police Departments Like Military Candidates

There are several reasons why military jobseekers are popular with police departments:

  1. Servicemembers understand the chain of command – One of the advantages for police departments in hiring veterans is that soldiers, airmen and sailors have experience following orders in a hierarchical structure. They also have experience working with first-line supervisors and in resolving challenges and issues at the lowest level possible.
  2. Physical fitness and self-discipline – Service personnel are required to maintain physical fitness standards to prepare them for the rigors and daily responsibilities of policing. Self-discipline is a requirement in the military that translates well into police work. Veteran police candidates remain calm under pressure, utilize proper discretion and have good problem-solving skills.
  3. High ethical and moral standards – At the core of each military branch is its ethical and moral standards, which are emphasized to maintain good order and discipline. Military servicemembers are held to a high ethical and moral standard in and out of uniform.

That high ethical standard promotes maturity and good decision-making skills. The ethics and morals developed in the military serves police departments well when they are integrated with the responsibilities and discretion of daily policing.

Preparing for a Law Enforcement Career

Prior to transitioning out of the military, servicemembers can take several steps to prepare for a career in law enforcement. These steps are important because they help veterans stand out from the competition.

Collecting College Credit

The American Council on Education (ACE) offers recommendations on military training and experiences that many colleges accept for credit. This is important because having both military experience and higher education can set you apart from others competing for a job in the police department.

The military can provide you with a Joint Services Transcript (JST) or a Community College of the Air Force transcript. It will include ACE’s recommendations for college credit and can be submitted with a police application.

The military transcript should include the following information from the servicemember:

  • Personal data
  • Military course completions with college credit recommendations
  • Military occupations with college credit recommendations
  • College-level test scores
  • Other learning experiences with college credit recommendations

Another option is to use your military training for college credit. You can apply to American Military University and earn a college degree while you are still in the military.

Veteran’s Preference Points

Another good option is to request Veteran’s Preference Points at the time you apply for the law enforcement position. The number of preference points you have may vary, based on your service career and may provide an added advantage over the competition. It’s advisable to use your Veteran’s Preference Points to apply to the police department of your choice well before you transition out of the service.

Applying while in Military Service

The police application process commonly consists of a comprehensive background check, a polygraph, an oral board hearing, and medical and psychological screenings. This process can take six months to a year to complete.

As a result, you could be at an advantage by speaking with police hiring officials before your enlistment ends. You might complete the hiring process while you are still in the military. That could reduce the time between your final paycheck from the military to your first paycheck from your police career.

In conclusion, hiring servicemembers can be a tremendous asset to police agencies and can provide a rewarding career for those who have completed their military service. Hiring former military members is good for the community overall, because of the inherent discipline of servicemembers and their ability to apply effective decision-making skills to changing situations. In addition, servicemembers may be experienced in handling emergencies that can assist in their response to community emergencies and they often have the right skills to be effective law enforcement officers.

About the Author

Dr. Jarrod Sadulski has been with the Coast Guard since 1997. His expertise includes infrastructure security, maritime security, homeland security, contraband interdiction and intelligence gathering. He has also received commendations from the Coast Guard.  Presently, Jarrod is a supervisor in the Reserve Program and provides leadership to Reserve members who conduct homeland security, search and rescue, and law enforcement missions.

Comments

comments

Learn From The Leader

American Military University (AMU) is proud to be the #1 provider of higher education to the U.S. military, based on FY 2018 DoD tuition assistance data, as reported by Military Times, 2019. At AMU, you’ll find instructors who are former leaders in the military, national security, and the public sector who bring their field-tested skills and strategies into the online classroom. And we work to keep our curriculum and content relevant to help you stay ahead of industry trends. Join the 64,000 U.S. military men and women earning degrees at American Military University.

Request Information

Please complete this form and we’ll contact you with more information about AMU. All fields except phone are required.

Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Ready to apply? Start your application today.

We value your privacy.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails, texts, and phone calls and messages from American Public University System, Inc. which includes American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), its affiliates, and representatives. I understand that this consent is not a condition of enrollment or purchase.

You may withdraw your consent at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy, terms, or contact us for more details.