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Little Dilemma

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by ScarMack, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. ScarMack


    Jun 30, 2010
    Sharpsville, PA
    So, where to start...

    I want to get into the "academy" to become a police officer. I applied to over 4 academys and got accepted to two. I want to be a state trooper. I live in Sharpsville, PA...Hour north of Pittsburgh. But I figured with having zero police work and or military experience, I'd say my chances of getting into state are next to impossible. But, still a option, just in the waiting process now.

    I also applied to the police academy...Allentown, Mercyhurst, Johnstown, and YSU.

    Allentown - 6 hours away, need apartment, night job
    Mercy - around erie (winter sucks), 2 hours away(aparment and job)
    YSU - cant work in PA (according to PA municipal, until I get hired by a department in Ohio full time)

    Allentown - finally get away and see new things
    YSU - have a place to live, I have a job

    I would like to work in PA, being born and raised here in all. Eventually I would like to work my way into being a K9 officer. Either route, I will need to work to cover bills and living, etc.

    Basically I'm just confused at the moment and don't really know what to do. I don't have the money just just up and quit my job and move away for 6 months. So a night job is a must, just enough to be able to keep going forward until I'm out of the academy. My bills are roughly 500-600 a month.

    Looking for a little insight, hoping someone can put a clear picture in my head.

    p.s. I've been saving, I have a little more than 3grand at the moment, academy usually costing around 4. So I almost have that covered.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  2. SAR


    Apr 17, 2004
    LA LA Land
    Honestly I don't know how it works back east, but here on the west coast, you simply don't have the time to hold down a job while in the academy. With homework and prep each day, you will be exhausted and eventually your performance will suffer. Not sure how you will pull it off, but I would not recommend a night job.

  3. msu_grad_121

    msu_grad_121 BOOSH

    Sep 16, 2009
    NW Burbs
    More or less the same here in Michigan. I guess theoretically you COULD have a night job, but you're gonna be toast, real quick.

    I'd see if one of the academies is affiliated with a college or university, and look into financial aid for it.
  4. KiloBravo

    KiloBravo Lifetime Newb

    FYI: I have zero military or previous law enforcement experience, and I am currently one month away from starting the PA State Police academy as long as all goes well with my psych test and the money stays available until then to train another class of cadets. Although, I started the process going on 2.5 years ago, and was able to pick things up again back in April when I received an invite to continue on in the process. I was told by several current troopers in the know on the testing process that a college degree means more than military/LE background these days. I am not saying that is right, wrong, or indifferent. That is just what I hear. You will need at least an Associate's Degree to apply for the Staties if you don't have either experience however.

    I know I personally would not be able to foot the bill for an academy myself. That is because I would have to have a paid job while attending the academy to make sure my bills were paid, and like others have said, the chances of doing that and being successful are slim to none. That was actually the biggest reason for applying with the state. They would pay ME to go for training for 27 weeks. I realize I could get sent anywhere in PA, but I would not have to leave my home state. I was also born and raised here as well. All of my family is here.

    I would say keep applying to one that will sponsor you or pay you in addition to your training. If you have any questions, PM me and I will answer what I am able to. I do have the keep in mind all of the forms I signed however stating I would not give out classified info about what is on the test, etc.

    Good luck! :wavey:
  5. This....Have you thought about maybe taking a loan to cover your expenses while in the academy or borrowing from family / friends? Your options are limited...Are the academies full time / live in or will you have to commute? Since the process takes a while, you might want to continue to save more $$$ and put it towards your expenses.....Good luck...:wavey:
  6. ScarMack


    Jun 30, 2010
    Sharpsville, PA
    Just turning 22, I still live at home with my parents. Graduated last winter from ITT Tech. I thought about asking my parents to help out, I know that wouldn't be a problem, with my mom owning her own business in all. But I want to try to do it on my own first...Part of growing up, and trying to take responsibility into my own hands, I guess. I sold two guns and I got about 1500 for that, also sold my ninja that I was financing. So, I'm slowly lowering my bills so I can afford it. My parents already offered to take over my car payment and I declined their offer and said its my car and I'll figure it out.

    The YSU is full time, mon-fri 8-5, and its only 20 minutes or so from my house so I would commute.

    As far as taking a loan out. I already have some loans out, with school and all. ITT was a pretty expensive school (most schools are now), and I'm sure I would get denied pretty quick, since I wouldn't be working anymore.

    I'm hoping to have close to 6 grand by the end of the year, 4 for the academy and 2 to "live" off of. The work a few hours a night to pay the bills. We (my family) own a sports bar, so I could bust tables for a few hours a night just to pick up a few bucks.

    When I went to ITT, I worked during the day, 8-5 and then I went to class from 6-10. I did that for two years until I graduated. So, I know how stressful and how tiring it gets. Takes a beating on your body and each day gets harder and harder to get up.

    I appreciate all the replies.
  7. Cruiser1

    Cruiser1 Still Alive

    Jul 15, 2010
    Biloxi, Mississippi
    Over the years I have been to 4 academy’s, one local, one state and two federal. Fortunately all expenses were paid by departments or agencies that I currently worked for. Actually I was not even aware that someone could just apply, pay out of their own pocket and attend. So just curious, what is the average cost to attend a local or state academy in different parts of the country?

    OP: Good Luck, sounds like you are a very level headed young man with a good future.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  8. ScarMack


    Jun 30, 2010
    Sharpsville, PA
    YSU is around 4grand, 6 if you want to take some criminal justice classes.

    Allentown is 4,300...Here's their website

    Thatd be nice to go to the state academy since they PAY YOU to go. But you can only play the cards your dealt with.
  9. MeefZah

    MeefZah Cover is Code 3

    Jan 2, 2008
    Lost Coast, Cali
    What's YSU? Youngstown?

    You'd be hard pressed to find a full time Ohio cop job in that area.
  10. msu_grad_121

    msu_grad_121 BOOSH

    Sep 16, 2009
    NW Burbs
    I know it can easily run over 6 grand in Michigan, not counting all the "peripherals" (uniforms, weapon rental/purchase, licensing exam, etc). All in? It's no big trick to drop $8,000.

    OP, like I said, check into a federal student loan for the academy. Bonus: it should put your current student debt on hold.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  11. I am seconding MeefZah's sentiments. Youngstown area is not the way to go. There are NO full time jobs in this area and you will end up working for free as a reserve with no set timeframe of when you will get a paid job. I got lucky, not so much for others. There are 3 academies within one hour of here, pumping out 90-100 basic academy grads every 6 months or so. YSU is an excellent academy however, I will give it that. It's just the area around here.

    Good luck!
  12. Because you're young and living at home with parents, this is the best time in your life to make this investment. However, you have to look at this as an investment of your $$$ and time.

    Realistically, how employable will you be with a local LE agency after completing a private academy? And how long does the accreditation last? A year or two and if you're not working as a LEO by then, does it go by the wasteside?

    Each private academy can pump out 100 graduates every 6 months? You should ask the placement office what happens to their graduates 6 months, 12 months and 5 years after graduation.

    And ultimately, if you want to be a State Trooper, you're going to have to go through their academy anyway.

    Take DeerPreditor's advise. Have patience. Yes, I know, when you're 22 y.o., a 2 to 3 year process will seem longer than forever.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  13. Some time in Corrections should provide some valuable experience and an outstanding reference if you do your part. Get into doing transports, and you could also get around a little, and make some contacts. It's a well-known fact, some of the best coppers out there got their start in the slammer.
  14. SAR


    Apr 17, 2004
    LA LA Land
    In these economic times, you are going to have to do something to set yourself above the rest of the candidate pool. Having sat in on a lot of hiring interviews, it takes someone not only with commitment and drive, but with some stellar qualifications. The people getting hired today have military, prior law enforcement, and/or a college degree. Some of the quick hires have all three. You have to convince *me* as a potential interviewer, why I would pick you over someone who has a college degree and just finished an enlistment in the military. Would it be because you had a great attitude when you bussed tables in your family's bar?

    Trust me when I say I know where you are at. When I was your age, I had to compete against all the guys who were coming back from Vietnam. I did not have any military experience or my degree. I did pump a mean tank of gas at the gas station I worked at while going to school though. I can't even tell you how many agencies I applied for. Finally, I ended up finishing my four year degree, then got a professional civilian job to develop some life experience, and finally got a chance to work as a reserve officer. That was my foot in the door, and I finally landed a full-time law enforcement job at the ripe old age of 24.

    I never would have gotten a law enforcement job if I had just continued putting in apps while going to school and working at a gas station. Work on making yourself marketable, then the jobs will come! When I went to the Academy, it was a full-ride, paid for by the Agency.
  15. DaBigBR

    DaBigBR No Infidels!

    Oct 28, 2005
    Circling the wagons.
    If you go to said academy and then can't find a job, how long do you have before you have to do the whole damned thing over again? This is a real concern in today's job market.
  16. I went to the academy and worked... It sucked but I didn't have a choice. Find a department that pays you to go. If you have to move to do that then do it. You are young explore your options.

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  17. groovyash


    Aug 5, 2003
    Realistically in PA you are not employable by 99% of the agencies in the state UNLESS you have already been to an academy on your own dime. Pittsburgh, Philly, PSP and a handful of agencies across the state are the only ones who are going to send you to a police academy. This is out of over a thousand agencies, and most of the large departments that will hire you and put you through the academy would much rather hire someone who already has a MPT number and put them through a short veteran class for their agency regs.

    It started probably 15 years ago with cadets sponsoring themselves to be better candidates for the 99% of the State's PD's which are 10 officer or smaller and now is to the point that really everyone does.

    You are correct though the academies in the state keep churning out one class after another for an increasingly small job pool requiring cadets to have more and more to offer to get hired somewhere.
  18. Yankee2718


    Nov 23, 2010
    Get hired by an agency that will pay you and pay for you to go to the academy. You might have to move though brother. I over 1000 miles from home(northeast) to do it and I'm in a good situation now. Not sure how it works in PA, but down where I am, most big agencies will make you do the academy over if all you have is a certification and no experience. You could use Pittsburgh or Philly pd. Go work for them for 3 years and then bounce to another agency. Don't worry about loyalty or anything like that. Do what you have to do for you. Just remember that the first time you make a U turn to catch a perp car and you hit the curb busting a tire or two they'll say it's your fault because you were reckless and you'll pull a day off for it. Do what you have to do for YOU. Try not to waste your money on a private academy. Going through Pitt or Philly's academy and gaining 3 years on the road with them will help you open doors in your career. Plus you said that you want to be a K9 handler. I'm in a 600 person department and we only have 8 K9s. For what it sounds like you want, you need a big department.