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Thread: Researching and Applying to (FL) Agencies

  1. #1

    Researching and Applying to (FL) Agencies

    All,

    I'm a long-time lurker and first-time poster. I'd like to seek your input. I'm ready to make a career change into law enforcement and am in the process of researching and completing applications for various agencies. I'm currently in my late 20's and located in the Tampa Bay, FL area, so am essentially considering as far north as Hillsborough or Pasco and as far south as Charlotte.

    My ultimate goal is to end up with a federal 1811-series position, but I want to gain some relevant experience first. My wife's employment requires her to be in the area, at least for the next five or so years.

    I'm being fairly open with my search, but am somewhat limited to agencies that will sponsor a recruit through an academy, as I'm not able to pay to self-sponsor and take the time off work going to a full-time academy. If you have specific experience with an agency in this area I'd love to hear your thoughts, but I'd also appreciate any general guidance or advice. I'm also curious about some of the advantages/disadvantages of working for a larger agency vs. a smaller one, especially on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Feel free to PM.

    Thank you for any help that you can provide.

  2. #2
    If the ultimate goal is a federal 1811 position, then donít be afraid to apply for 1811 positions from the start. Plenty of agents have been hired without prior LE experience. The only downside would be that you might not be assigned to an office in the location you need to be in for your wifeís work. Most agencies will tell you where youíre going store you accept the position though.
    My posts only represent my personal opinion and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or official policies of any employer, past or present. Obvious spelling errors are likely the result of an iPhone keyboard.

  3. #3
    Site Supporter
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    Concur with seeking 1811 positions now. Many of the smaller agencies are very transparent with your first office assignment after their academy. Know that with few exceptions, you must gain your 1811 slot before you turn 37.

    Good Luck.

  4. #4
    You are in luck because both TPD and Hillsborough SO are paying well right now. You could have a good, decent paying career at either. I don't have any recent info on Pinellas SO or surrounding PDs.

    You would be wise to get road time before going to the Feds. That said, they don't require it or even acknowledge a need for it. It will generally give you a leg up on other Federal coworkers in dealing with people and not drinking the Federal CoolAid. Getting time in a local DB working major cases will give you much more experience in putting together an investigation than many Feds are able to do with only academy training.

    As always, YMMV. I'm not a Fed but have years on two different Federal task forces on a full time basis.

    Keep in mind that it can take multiple years to get hired by the Feds if that's what you think you want to do.

    Looking local, stick to large municipal and county agencies for better pay and benefits. Small town LE can be rewarding but typically doesn't bring as much pay in Florida.

  5. #5
    Thank you all for your responses. Sadly, as much as I'd like it to be right now, going directly to an 1811-series position isn't in the cards right now with my wife's employment. I know that some agencies, unlike the FBI or DEA, will provide your assignment prior to entering the academy, but the likelihood getting one's first choice (Tampa), seems to be slim. I'm also aware of the 37-year cutoff, as well as the often multi-year endeavor that a federal application can turn into.

    For that reason, Tampa and Hillsborough were at the top of my list mainly due to having the best pay in the area. Aside from better benefits and compensation, do larger municipal/county agencies typically have better training, equipment, and opportunities for advancement? Or is that entirely dependent on the agency in question?

  6. #6
    Site Supporter
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    Feb 2011
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    Maryland
    Not from Florida, but...

    Training, equipment, and compensation are agency specific. You're generally better off in somewhat larger agencies, but that is not always the case. In my former agency's good times, we generally beat the county police in getting firearms and less lethal weapons and were, for a while, the best paid agency in the state. I'd also say the opportunity for outside training was about the same. (To compare agency size, my former city department currently has 62 sworn while the county has about 1500.)

    Larger departments are often more stable because it likely requires more change in key personnel to change agency culture, mission, and environment than in a smaller agency. Larger agencies also offer more opportunity to move to specialized units. That said, smaller agencies often have more opportunity for part-time specialties like firearms instructors.

    Again, regretting my career choices, I'd suggest you look for larger departments, but keep an open mind on smaller agencies.

  7. #7
    Mr. Shovel Lover Hambo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHuntforRedGlocktober View Post
    For that reason, Tampa and Hillsborough were at the top of my list mainly due to having the best pay in the area. Aside from better benefits and compensation, do larger municipal/county agencies typically have better training, equipment, and opportunities for advancement? Or is that entirely dependent on the agency in question?
    Agency dependent. Try to talk to a variety of officers and you'll get a better idea. Generally speaking, in a large department there are more jobs outside of patrol. There are also more jobs that you'd never want, unless you're dying to be the Public Information Officer. When you talk to officers, find out about the culture. Do officers generally GAF? Does the command staff love revenge assignments? Is the chief into warm and fuzzy policing?
    John Wick didn't kill all those people because they broke his toaster.-MickAK

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by drummer View Post
    You are in luck because both TPD and Hillsborough SO are paying well right now. You could have a good, decent paying career at either. I don't have any recent info on Pinellas SO or surrounding PDs.

    You would be wise to get road time before going to the Feds. That said, they don't require it or even acknowledge a need for it. It will generally give you a leg up on other Federal coworkers in dealing with people and not drinking the Federal CoolAid. Getting time in a local DB working major cases will give you much more experience in putting together an investigation than many Feds are able to do with only academy training.

    As always, YMMV. I'm not a Fed but have years on two different Federal task forces on a full time basis.

    Keep in mind that it can take multiple years to get hired by the Feds if that's what you think you want to do.

    Looking local, stick to large municipal and county agencies for better pay and benefits. Small town LE can be rewarding but typically doesn't bring as much pay in Florida.
    I agree Start out with a local law enforcement agency, then go with the fed's.

  9. #9
    Site Supporter deflave's Avatar
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    Join the Border Patrol. They always need more meat for the meat grinder and can be a pretty solid stepping stone before pursuing investigative type positions.

    If your wife requires your presence during your new pursuit, find a new pursuit. Because it ain't gonna happen.

  10. #10
    10.3" Master Race TGS's Avatar
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    I keep seeing Border Patrol thrown out as a stepping stone option to 1811 gigs, and it can't be further from the truth.

    There's ~19,000-some BPAs, and most of them are actively seeking 1811 gigs, and most of them have exactly the same skills, abilities, and work history with very little opportunity to stand out from their peers. BPAs leave all the time for 1811 gigs, but that's a fraction of the number that are actively trying to get 1811 gigs. The fact that every CITP class at FLETC has a couple BPAs in it is not a good measure of CBP being a stepping stone when you consider the sheer number of them shotgunning apps to every 1811 vacancy. If being a BPA were an effective stepping stone to being an 1811, CITP classes would be chock full of them, which they're not.

    You'd be much better off going local where you have a better chance of being involved in special projects or special assignments. The ONLY advantageous thing that going CBP would do for you is stop the 6c/12d clock, but make no mistake about it, anyone who gets an 1811 job coming from CBP is getting it for reasons other than they were in CBP. CBP is not a stepping stone job to 1811 gigs, and if anything hurts your chances compared to going most other routes in life.

    If you want a specific station with CBP OFO but are only being offered BPA for right now, or if you eventually want to go ICE/ERO, then going BPA makes complete sense.
    "Are you ready? Okay. Let's roll."- Last words of Todd Beamer

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