Individuals with military experience make desirable law enforcement employees and bring a high level of training and dedication to policing careers. In addition, combat veterans are typically team-oriented professionals who exemplify the selfless commitment necessary to serve their communities as police officers.
Following are some tips for combat veterans seeking employment in law enforcement:
- Apply for any position, sworn or non-sworn, as soon as possible.
- Be honest, open, and welcoming to the background investigation process.
- Take advantage of ride-along opportunities.
- Consider the pros and cons of large, medium, and smaller departments serving various jurisdictions. Decide what type of agency matches your personality and career goals.
- Do not apply to or test for only one department.
- Know the applications, screening and hiring process takes time.
- Be very thorough and totally honest throughout the application and interview process.
- Seek out other veterans who are members of the departments that interest you. Ask them for opinions and suggestions.
- Emphasize the skills you developed during your deployment, and offer specific examples.
- Look for departments that credit or preference for veterans. Examples include streamlining or fast-tracking applications from military veterans, adding veterns preference points, or offering serve time credit toward retirement.
This article is an excerpt from Combat Veterans & Law Enforcement: A Transition Guide for Veterans Beginning or Continuing Careers in Law Enforcement, a project of the IACP, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and Klein Associates Division/ARA. Additional resources related to the IACP’s Employing Returning Combat Veterans Project include:
- Law Enforcement Leader’s Guide on Combat Veterans
- Family Guidebook
- Marketing Tools For Recruiting Veterans into Law Enforcement
- Employing Returning Combat Veterans Findings and Recommendations from Field Research
For more information, visit http://www.theiacp.org/Vets2Cops.