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Going from a big agency to a small one?

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by G17Man, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. G17Man

    G17Man Millennium Member

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    Anyone here ever made the transition from a medium/large LE agency to a small town type agency?

    I am really tired of working for an elected official and dealing with the attached politics and BS. I am considering switching to a small city PD for a more relaxed working environment where I can just go to work, do my job, and go home. I recognize that there will always be politics in LE - no matter what agency - but my agency has gotten very bad and it looks like its going to get a lot worse.

    Just looking for some perspective from anyone who has mad a move like this. I know plenty of folks who start out at small towns and go to a big agency but none who have made this kind of move.
     
  2. SAR

    SAR CLM

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    Dude, if you think that small towns have less politics, you are sadly mistaken. I worked for a small agency and it was nothing BUT politics. When I got sick of it, I went to a BIG Agency and never looked back. If you can't stand someone on a big agency you transfer to another Area or assignment. If you can't stand someone on a small agency, you live with it for the next 30 years.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010

  3. Morris

    Morris CLM

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    Hmm, not all smaller agencies suffer from politics. I enjoy my agency in that our chief is solid about kyboshing any of that stuff and the city council leaves us alone (except to enact an occasional silly law). An adjoining sister agency four times our size had more drama than daytime soaps.

    Just research the agency in detail.
     
  4. Cav

    Cav

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    What is a large or small agency?

    I am told my agency is large, but its not a major PD by any means. But we have a bit over 50 sworn Officers on the street and they tell us we are large vs most places. NYPD or LAPD we aint even close...

    Politics run our agency, but I just do my job at the patrol level and play dumb.
     
  5. SAR

    SAR CLM

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    Oh boy, the stories I could tell. What do you do as an officer when you stop the Captain of your small agency for DUI? What do you do because it seems like everyone you stop is related in some way to a member of the small Department? What do you do when your sergeant has a hard on for you?

    I don't miss small agency politics one bit.
     
  6. ugly8604

    ugly8604

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    Give him a ride home...
     
  7. SAR

    SAR CLM

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    Exactly, then they own you.
     
  8. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

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    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    Go on a ride-along or three. Listen to the officers talk about each other as the radio squawks. That'll give you an idea of the politics and who doesn't like who and who is up the sarge's *** and whatnot.

    Small departments can have politics and more drama than Melrose Place, but the place I work at has none of that now since the new Administration got rid of the old crew who had their own cliques and did their own thing. Man, the politics here before the cleanup were worse than anything you will find in a banana republic. Now we're awesome and everyone gets along and helps each other which is how it should be.
     
  9. Morris

    Morris CLM

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    I make the point that broad brush strokes by lesser informed members in our profession do nothing. There are some superior small sized agencies (20-30 officers, by usual definitions) that don't suffer significant politics or drama due to superior leadership from the chief on down. Doesn't mean that there is always something there.

    My first agency was a seven officer shop. It had serious issues due to the management and cops were springboarding out of there after two to three years (myself included). The agency suffered from a lack of adrenaline driving work and policing some of the most hyper-wealthy people in the world (talk about drama issues!). But a new chief came in, cleaned up and got them moved in the right direction.

    My present agency suffered through a LAPD transplant who brought up the standards but also brought arrogance and a failure to work with the city and officers as well. The department struggled. The current chief came in, cleaned house, built on the standards and has made the department a professional one to enjoy working for. The department, when ranked in polls with other city services, always takes top honors. Speaks volumes there.

    Lawman makes a good point. If looking at a smaller agency (under 50 officers), go ride along. Go visit the local hangouts and ask the right questions. Soon enough, you will be able to paint a pretty accurate picture of the department.

    For me personally, I like smaller agencies. I like to know my neighborhoods and my citizens. I like the balance of slowness with steady and sometimes nuttbustin' craziness.

    But find that right agency by doing the homework first.
     
  10. p.d.

    p.d.

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    I've worked for two large agencies, and now work at a small agency. As you already know, the job is the same. Small towns can certainly have political issues, but they can't get mad and transfer you clear across the state. At first, I found the geography confining, but I adjusted. The pay was better in my case, but I won't pretend that is a given. If you want to specialize someday, you should probably stay big. If you like knowing the people you work for (citizens) and with, small agencies have an up side.
     
  11. Hollywood D

    Hollywood D

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    I think it would be hard going from a larger agency to a smaller one. Police work is police work no matter where you are but at least at a larger agency you have more opportunities for special assignments, promotions or who you work with. Plus not everybody knows who you are in a large agency which I also like.
     
  12. blueiron

    blueiron

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    The grass is not greener in a small agency.

    Backbiting, backstabbing, everyone knows everything about you and your family, no or non existent opportunity to test for specialty jobs, people who couldn't make it at other agencies and are now deadwood collecting a pay check, trying to convince the politicans that some growth and equipment are necessary to do the job properly and as the courts, the public, and POST expects, etc.
     
  13. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

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    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    Depends on who you are and what you want out of your LE career. Some guys love patrol and being out there in the community instead of getting off the street in some specialty job.
     
  14. ranger1968

    ranger1968

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    Understand, when you go from working for a Sheriff to working for a police chief, you are going from working for one elected official to working for a bunch of them- the city commision....A Sheriff is gerenerally a constituional officer, answering only to the voters, whereas a police chief is an employee, answering to a council or commision. It has been my sad experinece that generally, a chief will do as he is told, and has no compunction about screwing his troops to get himself ahead with the commision- by holding down salaries, instituting stupid policies, etc, while a Sheriff will generally look out for the deputies a little better.

    Even otherwise sucky Sheriffs are usually pretty good about not holding back when it comes to things like salarie increases, benefits, and the like.
     
  15. ray9898

    ray9898

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    Small town politics are 1000% worse.
     
  16. Sgt127

    Sgt127

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    In the DFW Metroplex, I think of my agency on the small side at 250 Officers. Talking to friends that work for Dallas, I think I have it pretty good. Big enough to find different things to do, small enough to where I actually see the Chief and Deputy Chiefs on a pretty regular basis.

    I really don't know what it would be like anywhere else. Been here for 25 years. Every two weeks the check shows up and nobody is trying to make my life miserable....

    Of course, in a REALLY big agency, you can kinda fall off the radar if you want to.
     
  17. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

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    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    You haven't seen the sheriffs around SoCal then... because the County Commissioners sure can hold them back.

    LASO still does not have the coveted 3@50 PERS retirement package and they still can't carry Glocks because the deputies can't be trusted to unload it correctly.
     
  18. Morris

    Morris CLM

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    Damn! There are some bitter butthurt types in this crowd. One thing that can be said for LE is that you can find the right agency to fit your persona. Some are better suited for large, some medium, some small, some county, municipal state or not at all . . .

    But find that good place you want to retire from. Don't be a gypsy cop. Most gypsy cops I have met are unhappy souls who will never fit into any agency, municipal, county or state.
     
  19. Pepper45

    Pepper45

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    I love working for a small agency. I'm not a number, I'm a face with a name, the records gals know my kids' names, the recognize my wife when she comes in the office, I can walk in and talk to the chief if I need to, without making an appointment or jumping huge amounts of chain of command, I get to have some input in decisions, and it doesn't take a web poll to get the ideas and opinions of the entire staff.

    Now, there are politics. I've tried to stay out of them, as I don't play games well. I'm all about doing my job and staying out of the BS. The "stars" will burn themselves out and move on to "greener pastures". There are limited opportunities for promotion. However, we do have the opportunity for interagency units, and the chance of becoming an instructor in your chosen discipline is much higher than in a large agency. 10% of our people are detectives. 10% are SRO, 10% traffic, 10% interagency SWAT, 10% interagency task force, 20% firearms instructors, 10% EVOC instructors, and so on. Almost everyone has an opportunity to do something other than "just patrol". Not so much on larger agencies.

    I'm far from a grizzled veteran, but I am sure that I don't want to work in a "large" agency.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2010
  20. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

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    I know Blue Iron has not mentioned federal agencies, but they have their share of politics. Some worse than others. A lot of people where I work at stay on morning watch or evening watch just to stay out of the politics, since there are those on days who are trying to go beyond brown nosing to get ahead, (riding leg as we call it). It just plain urks me.

    On the other hand, if you get yourself assigned to a position that keeps you out of the limelight, (requires beacoup senority), you can do your job in peace for the most part and go home until retirement. As I get closer to retirement I am getting closer to that mindset.