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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    5

    Question Existing LEO applying to dream department

    Hi guys,
    I've been lurking for a bit and we need some quick advice.

    My husband is a patrol officer in a very small town. We agreed that working here would be temporary so he could get some experience, and then he would apply to his dream department (where he wants to retire!) after 2 years on the job.

    Well, the time has come. His application is in for "Dream City", and now we start over the wonderful rollercoaster that is LEO processing. Now, he has found out that his #2 choice department is hiring, and that they would actually have a start date sooner than choice #1.
    Previously, we had decided that he would apply ONLY to department #1, and if things didn't work out there, to move on down the list. But now he is scared to put all his eggs in one basket and wants to apply for both. But I'm afraid that he might end up with a quicker offer from #2, take it, and then start kicking himself if #1 comes calling.

    We both like department #1 much better, so it's not really a matter of them being equally fine. Quite frankly, I don't want to move to dept #2's town. We discussed this, but he is worried about not getting an offer from #1 and then being stuck up here in the middle of nowhere for even longer.

    I expressed that I think applying solely for #1 seems more serious and genuine to them. He can say that he has ONLY applied to their department because that's where he wants to be for the rest of his career (true!). I think that if he has another application pending, they will think he says that to every department.


    What do you guys think about how an existing LEO should apply to his dream department? Only that department, or should there be a contingency plan in place? How would you view it as the person in charge of deciding who to hire?
    I know this was a very vague description, but I'd like any insight you can offer on the subject.

    Unfortunately, we have to decide quickly. The application for #2 would be due this weekend.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    159

    Existing LEO Applying To Dream Department

    Given the very competitive nature of police hiring, I think he should apply to both.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    1,785
    Welcome Ginger,
    There are a lot more details that weigh into this decision but ultimately only the two of you together can make the choice. Some things to consider:
    1) City #2 is closing this weekend, right? When, if ever, will that dept. open again? Is residency a requirement? If you truly don't want to live there, that could add a lot of stress to the relationship. Is #2 really better than where you are at now?
    2) What if apply to both and neither call you? Is your family ready to spend another 2 years where you are at? If so, that makes applying only to #1 more feasible.
    3) Finally, depts. understand the hiring process and the needs of applicants. It is not unusual for candidates to have multiple apps in the process at the same time. It will not count against your husband. Conversely, I doubt that claiming that "Dept. #1 is my dream job and I will never leave" will carry very much weight.

    My hunch is that you and your husband would not be happy at Dept #2 and would only be changing one less than ideal circumstance for another. Again, there are many factors that you haven't told us so I'm only guessing. If dept #2 is truly a way to advance your husband's career it may be worth while, or it may not. As we all know, if the wife ain't happy.........

    Good luck with whatever you decide. To me the root question is whether working and/or living with Dept#2 better than your current circumstance. Hope that helps. Make sure to stop back and the let forum know how it all shakes out.
    "There is no second place winner"-- Bill Jordan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    6,371
    While where you are is not ideal, your husband is gaining seniority and experience which will only make him a more competitive candidate wherever you choose to apply. Given some pretty clear preferences on your part in your original question, I think you should commit to your original plan. In fact, I would recommend you talk over riding out the application to 1, and if not successful, consider what feedback he might get. If you identify that they took a candidate with more years of experience but that your husband was a serious contender, you might consider two shots at your dream agency before going to 2. With just 2 years in, it's a little early to be settling for second choices without understanding completely what 1 is looking for and what you might do to improve your chances at a dream job.

    Settling for 2 at this point is only going to yield disappointment and as you note might well derail your shot at 1 for even longer.
    ret.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    5
    Hi Jim, thanks for your feedback.

    1) We aren't sure when #2 will be open again. They have been hiring every year for the last 4 years, so it is reasonable to assume they would continue on this track. Their department is growing very quickly, and they are hiring about 25 this time around. The residency situation would be for a realistic commute for him. The areas in a 20-30 minute radius are less desirable (to me- they're not clientele neighborhoods, but it's not where I would like to live). And if he wants to join the SWAT team they are starting in 2016, closer would be better for call-out situations. That being said, #2 would be way better than where we live now- just not as good as #1.
    2) We would both prefer not to live in our current area for any longer than we have to. Quite frankly, I would be shocked if he came out of this with zero offers (if he applies to both). Despite only 2 years on the force, he is a very strong candidate with more experience than many who have been serving as long as he has (for example, he is on the regional SWAT team in this area). Regardless, that's a possibility we need to consider.
    3) In our state, it's certainly not unusual for an unemployed applicant to have 10-20 applications in at once, but I was wondering whether the expectations change for lateral applicants (who aren't just looking for any post they can get). But if you don't think it will hurt t have both applications running, then maybe it's good to do both as an insurance policy to get out of our current location faster.


    ETA: #1 has en existing SWAT team, so his dreams of continuing his SWAT career have no bearing- though it may be easier to get on the brand new team #2 is starting, since more positions will be open.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    5
    ATF SAC-
    That's the issue. we both prefer #1 over #2, but I feel much more strongly about it. He is of the opinion that he needs to have the fallback of dept #2 (though it looks like any offers would come in the incorrect order).

    We do have some feedback from his last experience with #1 (he applied there before he got his first post). They said at that time that he did not have enough life experience, being 23 or 24 at the time. He is now 26 (would be 27 at time of hire) and has a wide array of experiences in his career here. (One benefit of a very small dept! (7 full-time officers) You get to do everything from traffic stops to drug busts and lead investigations.)

    Not that there is any way for us to know, but I feel that he will most likly be hired with them this time. Last time he was ranked #17 of 30 to be hired, but then they had a funding issue and had to cut their hiring amount in half to 15. If he was that close fresh out of college and the academy, I should like to think he'll be a shoo-in this time.
    My big concern is that he'll be really tempted to take an offer from #2 if he gets it (because they are actually hiring sooner) while his chances at #1 are looking quite good. I don't want him to settle this early on, either. If he was desperate for a new position, I would understand, but tat is not the case.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    6,371
    As my wife of 43 years is fond of saying, happy wife, happy life. Unrelated, but she is equally fond of "Cheaper to keep her." If you both are not desperate to get out right now from your current situation, don't feel pressed to take the immediate opportunity with 2. It looks like it will be there again in a year when 1 is resolved.

    My perception is you are talking about 3 departments relatively close in geography. Typically, that means a lot of interplay at least at the command level. As a former sergeant of mine in a PD once remarked, "Be careful about burning bridges, you have no idea how many I've had to go back across." Your husband's current department may have nothing but good wishes for him when he moves on, but it will be a vacancy they need to cover. That leaves at least a little smoldering on that bridge. If he applies to both 1 and 2 at the same time, there are some potential negative outcomes. His old department is smoldering. If he takes 2 and 1 comes through, he leaves 2 with almost no time invested. That is a flame. Not only could 2 bridges flare up, but count on some level of interaction among the agencies creating some question about why is this guy jumping. This is not usually big time stuff. In some areas officers have a closet full of uniforms from neighboring agencies as pay and benefits vary. But in some areas where resources are tight running an agency through its process with no hiring result because of a candidate changing their mind is burning a bridge.

    Your husband is in the same age range I was when I started and in the beginning I remember some concern that the 4 years in the military put me behind my age peers in law enforcement and that somehow I would have to catch up. That was silly in hindsight. If this is a career you are in it for a long time and up the road everything sort of levels out and there actually is plenty of time.

    You may want to do some active listening as well. Your response to Jim suggests there is a more immediate SWAT opportunity with 2 and that more than the immediate hiring prospect may have moved 2 closer to 1 in his perception.
    Last edited by ATF SAC; 10-09-2014 at 17:17.
    ret.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    5
    Midterm update:
    He has applied to both departments and did ride-alongs with them both. Turns out Dept #1 isn't quite all it was cracked up to be, but he still gave it a solid 7.5/10 rating. Dept #2 pulled into the lead with an 8.5/10 rating. I'm working on trying to find things about #2 that I will like (as a place to live) and looking at houses in that area to see what kind of options we'll have.
    He's moving forward with #2 fairly rapidly. He took their written test on Monday, and after passing that he has his oral board with them next week Wednesday. It seems that they will be hiring sooner than we anticipated, which could be nice so that we can leave our current village, and with Dept #1 looking less promising (as far as job satisfaction goes), I'm thinking #2 might be the better move. (And so far, nothing from Dept #1 aside from clearing up a couple of things on his application.)

    I'm still not psyched about the prospect of living around #2, but I think it will probably be better in the long term- and a far cry better than the place we live now! I definitely overreacted, originally. It's certainly not the end of the world to be 45 minutes from our parents and friends, especially considering we are 2.5 hours away now. But, I shouldn't be counting my chickens before they hatch, so we will have to wait for an actual offer before we do much else.

    Thanks for your advice, guys. I'll come back to update again later on.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    New York State
    Posts
    1,785
    Ginger,
    Thanks for the update. Too often, folks stop by with a question or two and we never hear from them again. We look forward to hearing how it all turns out.
    Good Luck to you and your husband.
    "There is no second place winner"-- Bill Jordan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    5
    Another update:
    Department #2 hired 3 candidates and he was ranked #4.
    He is still waiting for Dept #1 to start their process (they sent an email that they were working things out and would be scheduling interviews, etc starting Dec 9).


 

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