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Old 04-10-2012, 12:22 AM   #21 (permalink)
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What I find most disappointing is lack of team work. In the military you live and sometimes die by the team, regardless of the situation the team protects itself. In the civilian world the word team means nothing. There is always that feeling everyones first priority is taking care of number 1, then if necessary, the team comes second. It's an eye opening experience for sure.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:05 AM   #22 (permalink)
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the team doesnt even come second in civ. its all about step on the guy next to you to boost yourself higher.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:17 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Yeah but you saw that in the military too. Sure the team came first when when the crap would fly, but in the down times it was all about who could kiss who'se back side.

6 Years US Navy, 89-95 Gulf War and Bosnia, and I miss the friends I had and the travel. But the politics of the military are just as bad as anywhere else. And now with the downsizing of things, it can get even more because people will start shining the knob of whatever brass they can in order to stay in and make it to retirement.

When I was in the push was to get your ESWS pin, because it was "the only way to get advanced" instead of doing a dang good job and keeping your gear up and running 100% by any means possible it was all about learning to do every job on the ship. And you could not get Navy Achievement Medal (NAM), unless you knew how to kiss butt. I saw countless "golden boys" getting their awards on the backs of hard working shipmates who sacrificed their liberty just so the gear was running as best it could. Heck I saw a chief get promoted to senior chief just so he could get assigned elsewhere and off of our ship.

I loved my time and I look back fondly on my memories. I never had closer friends and partners in life than when I was on board.

It is hard when getting out. The uncertainty of what to do next. I hit the ground running and had a job lined up as soon as I got out. I took 2 weeks off to spent it with my family and baby boy who did not know who I was. My family got into a good church and surrounded ourselves with a different kind of camaraderie and fellowship. And that helped more than anything.
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Old 04-14-2012, 06:23 AM   #24 (permalink)
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How was the adjustment to law enforcement? Can you get into a little more detail on the similarities and differences to military life?
Sorry, late reply....work got real busy the last few days!

Like the military, everyone generally goes through "basic" at the academy. Some academies are slightly longer or shorter than others, and each has it's own small tweaks/philosophies on how best to conduct training, but they all share a certain core....it's really no different than the service rivalries. Those of us that did Basic at Ft. Benning would crap on "Relaxin'" Ft. Jackson graduates. PI Marines would crap on "Hollywood" Marines. Same idea, but when it comes down to real world stuff, you all work together. The academies generally have a para-military structure, including a healthy dose of stress exposure, rank, discipline, uniformity, PT, and a mix of physical training/classroom training/field training. Some academies are residential, some are residential Monday thru Friday, and some require you to commute every day. That mostly depends on the agency you're getting hired by and the academy they use. One difference you may see in a police academy is increased academics, and more required comprehensive thinking, as opposed to a military basic training where much of what you are taught is tasks "by the numbers." There's plenty of that stuff too, but the desired end result is to produce officers that can go out and function independently if need be, and be able to deal with people.

Once in an agency, there is usually less-formal drill and ceremony. It may get used from time to time for special events, and often you'll have guys that are good at it (typically prior service) assigned to a color guard for just such occasions. Some agencies retain the practice of saluting senior brass, some don't. You'll still have some paramilitary organization, such as uniforms, duty rosters, chain of command, squad/platoon assignments, etc.

You'll find, unless you end up in an agency that's got a fantastic budget, there's far more real world duty time than training time. There's a zillion training opportunities out there, but sometimes it comes on your own dime, or after you've got some seniority under your belt. Stuff like CPR/First Aid refreshers, firearms training and legal update training is usually done annually, and many departments are progressive enough to offer more than that, but that's not always the case. That's one thing the military has over standard police work that I miss...but then again, they've got a much better budget and control over personnel 'round the clock.

Like the military, you quickly learn what the capabilities are of the guy standing next to you, and you count on him to bring your arse home safely at the end of shift. Like on military patrol, you'll often be fighting fatigue, boredom, and the urge to zone out when you know you need to be alert. Crazy stuff can, and does, pop up completely unexpectedly at the most inopportune times. Much of the time, you'll be going into unfamiliar territory (such as a home or property) that's new to you, but a suspect knows like the back of his hand. You'll have those days when you realize your jaw is sore from being clenched in anticipation for hours, wondering why nothing is happening and the radio has been quiet for so long...and you are just waiting for all hell to break loose...then it never does. Those are almost the worst days. And then there are those days when the hairs on the back of your neck go up, all hell DOES break loose, and you're in the thick of it, trying to sort it out. You've got to be a bit of an adrenaline roller-coaster junkie to cope.

Like in the military, you'll see the best of humanity and the worst, gruesome depravity. You'll be expected to shift gears at a moment's notice. You might be helping reunite a lost child with his appreciative parents at the beginning of shift, then deal with a serious car wreck sometime in the middle, and end up struggling with an armed assailant who just beat his child unconscious at the end of your shift...or anything else, in any other order. You learn to count on your backup with your life. One main difference to the military, is that you are dealing with citizens of our own country, and often your own community. Dealing with the public is inevitable, and there's much more paperwork. There's also far more scrutiny...sometimes legal scrutiny...of what you do, by folks that have no training or background in the profession. It's easy to go from hero to zero in a heartbeat.

Having a military background is beneficial, and those around you will appreciate it at times. Just realize that not every standard, practice, custom, or tactic will be the same. Some agencies are looser than others. You can't do "recon by fire" as a cop. Staying flexible is key to adapting. Like the military, there is esprit de corps forged by handling calls together, commiserating together when getting stuck working holidays/weekends/forced shifts, etc. There will always be highs and lows in morale. You'll be tight with some, and not so much with others. No different than being in a platoon. You'll work together like a machine when the brown hits the fan, but might not go out drinking with them after.

Got a bit long-winded I suppose...
Hit me up with a PM if you've got any questions!
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:03 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Wow. Thank you everyone for the advise. Some good new is me wife got picked up for an officer program. We will be moving to Maryland by the end of the year. This is better for me because there are not too many jobs for spouses here in Italy.
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Old 04-15-2012, 07:30 PM   #26 (permalink)
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It might not sound like much but add your military buddies to your friends list on Facebook...lets you live vicariously and stay connected.
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