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How old is too old to join the police?

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by Rev. ChadW, Mar 22, 2013.

  1. Rev. ChadW

    Rev. ChadW

    Dec 31, 2009
    SW Virginia
    Hope you guys can help me out. I'm thirty-six years old and I am looking to make a career change. I was a criminal justice major in college, however I got married half way through and had to start working in my family's car dealership, that was fifteen years ago. My question is am I past the age to be able to finish up my degree in a couple of years and enter law enforcement? Or has Father Time passed by?
  2. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    San AntonioTexas
    This question comes up (everywhere) fairly often.

    No, you are not too old.

    Will you be older than most rookies? Yeah, you will.

    Are you too old to start at some agencies? Yeah, you are (35 is a hard line in a number of places, some are higher)

    The thing you need to ask yourself is, are you up to it?

    Some agencies have a fair operational tempo. You will take a lot of hot calls. Jumping fences, kicking doors, fighting with fools. Are you up to that?

    Some agencies are pretty slow...but you never know when it will go down, will you be ready?

    Good luck. There are people in there 50's who start this game.

  3. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    San AntonioTexas
    BTW, if you "have what it takes..." some other major consideration.

    Are you up to the task of never ending shift work? At your age, you might be used to a grove. Shift work can suck the life out of you and destroy a family.

    Are you ready to be the old guy being told what to do by young guys? Your Sergeant could be in his 20's.

    Are you ready to lose a lot of friends and have your social life change?

    Is your family up to the task?

    If you are religious, are you ready for the foulness of the job....and your co workers. You may never fit in. Cops are pretty crude people.

    Can you drop a tactical F bomb on someone?
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  4. South Fla

    South Fla ©South Fla 2015

    Oct 10, 2006
    The Rabbi speaks many a wise word on this topic.

    There was a 53 year-old gentleman who graduated from the Kentucky State Police academy a number of years ago. So I am sure that if you set your mind to it, use commitment and dedication, you can succeed.

    That being said, police work/law enforcement is a dirty, dirty business, both inside and out.

    Law enforcement is not for everybody, because it is not meant to be.
  5. No you are not too old. Pay attention to the points rabbi makes though. They are the truth.
  6. As mentioned, Rabbi is "spot on". Another question that only you can answer is, are you willing to relocate to fulfill your dream? I have no idea what the LE job prospects are in your neck of the woods, so you may have to look elsewhere. There are a few here in CT that have done just that and have been quite successful. Also, don't rule out what I refer to as "non-traditional" LE agencies / departments (campus/university, transportation, railroad, environmental, hospital, etc). Good luck.....
  7. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    Thirty-six is not too old, but you don't "join" the police, you apply, test, interview, and get hired. It's fairly competitive everywhere I can think of. Your age is actually an asset.
  8. Islander-11

    Islander-11 Meat detective

    Nov 29, 2001
    Nantucket, MA
    I went through the academy at 41. It was a young 41...

    The Rabbi's reply is right on the money. Be honest - if you can't carry your weight, you're a liability that could get yourself or others hurt / killed. It had better be a passion, because there are many days where this career can suck the life out of you. The toughest part for me, having been a free range chicken for 41 years, was (is) the administrative crap.

    Best wishes. Choose wisely!
  9. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    San AntonioTexas
    Indeed. It isnt easy to get hired and it can take a long damned time.

    Outside of knowing somebody, which is life, deal with it...I have noticed that it can be a crap shoot. Departments are run by people with agendas, personalities and liability concerns. What might look like a good fit to one agency might not to another.

    Find out what it takes to be a cop in your State, then exceed that and go forth and find your match.

    I started in my early 30's and it has been one of the best choices I ever made. (I dont work as a full time Officer but I do work full time sometimes) I think I would have felt *happy* doing this job at most agencies but I feel as though I really lucked out and found a great match which is simply amazing. Dont underestimate the importance of the culture of the Agency you work for and how it will affect you in every possible way.

    Good luck.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  10. SARG


    Mar 7, 2007
    I went through the academy at 39.
  11. lndshark


    Nov 15, 2009
    NOT the PNW (yet)
    ...Conservation Officer...Good luck!

    Posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire
  12. ViennaGambit


    Dec 19, 2009
    Are there "Reserves" that you can apply to in order to test the waters? Depending on where you are, it IS the real thing when you are on duty...

    I'm 30 and have always been drawn to LE work - at this point I am too afraid it will hurt family life with a newish wife and baby on the way...

    It is a dream to give the Phoenix Reserves a shot, if I can make it and then take it from there.
  13. Rabbi

    Rabbi The Bombdiggity Lifetime Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    San AntonioTexas
    In some places Reserves are the "real thing" 24/7. (A cop is a cop) I am a Reserve. I went through the same State mandated training as every other Peace Officer in the State. I have the same powers on and off duty, 24/7. When I am on duty, what I do is indistinguishable from what any other Officer does. I understand it is not that way in all States but I am pointing out in some areas it is.

    It isnt a bad idea. Just keep in mind, the process is often the same, the difference is the commitment. Full time or Reserve in a lot of places, it will take you the same amount of time to get there.
  14. Yea, I had to throw that one out there......:wavey:
  15. Be very careful, you ARE NOT too old BUT....many(all that ive dealt with) have age cut offs and the cut off is somewhere between 36-38. When I was in the academy back in 1990/91 I had been in the military and was in college at that time so I was a tad bit older at 22 years old. The cut off was 38 years old.

    We had a guy that was working at that time a good paying factory job making $47,000 a year(and in Western NY back in 1990/91 that was EXCELLENT $$) he always wanted to be a Police Officer so he quit his job. LE was in his blood his family had a long line of officers his dad was a VERY good officer that actually had some Precedent Setting cases he was part of(something to do with Radar and a officers trained judgement that got upheld in NYS supreme(or appeals cant remember) court that was taught in the academy as to why we ran and had radar the way NYS can do it...but anyways....He did decent in the academy and passed..bad part was a year after the academy he still didnt have a one would hire him because of his age...and at that time he only has 3 months to go before the "cut off" applied to him ....I moved away and I never knew what happened or if he got a job...just about everyone else got a job after the one would give him one because of his age...hope he finally caught on...but Im not sure.
  16. Glock45Lover

    Glock45Lover Ham Radio Nut

    Jun 25, 2007
    Southeastern U.S.
    I went through the Academy at age 38 after completing 20 years in the Air Force. I was the second oldest in the class. For 26 weeks I thought it would kill me. And I loved every minute of it! There's just something about the experience that is hard to explain. Not the academics or the physical training, but the connection with the other cadets that stays with you for life.

    You are only as old as you allow yourself to be. If you REALLY want to be in Law Enforcement, then DO IT. If your heart is in it, you will not regret it. You will be part of one of the largest families in the world.

    I am about to complete my 20th year as a State LEO. I have had a great time, even though I have seen some things that really hit me hard. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing.

    Come join the family.
  17. boomhower


    Feb 14, 2010
    North Carolina
    No your certainly not. A lot of guys go through after doing 20 years in the military. When I was in school one guy turned 60 the week we graduated. He got a job too, actually pretty quick at that. Lots of good points to think about have been pointed out but strictly from an age perspective you certainly are not to old.
  18. ditchdoc24


    Jan 15, 2009
    I went through the Academy at 34 with no problems. Now with 4 years on, I'm still on night shift, which seems to work for my family. Be prepared to work shifts because that's probably what you'll be doing. Other than that, Rabbi covered everything else almost perfectly. I love what I do but I won't get rich at it. Thankfully my family is in a good financial situation so I don't have to make a ton of money to make ends meet.
  19. Bren

    Bren NRA Life Member

    Jan 16, 2005
    I worked with a guy who went through the academy in his 60's, twice. He passed both times, but the department dropped out of the training program after the first time (training was not mandatory when I was a cop) and then had to send everybody through a second time when they went back into it.

    The first state police academy class I taught in, in 2005, had a guy who was 42 and ended up being class valedictorian - he's a sergeant now, which is very quick for KSP. The next class had a guy about that age who had already retired from the Army as a first sergeant.

    I was only 22 when I went to the police academy, but I was honor graduate of my drill sergeant school class, which is MUCH more physical, at 42.

    It's all about you, not age.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013