Applying to a police Department…

OK so now if you pass those requirements and have decided to apply to an agency. First, you have to decide where you want to live and with that, what agencies are in the area. You should research the departments on the Internet and see what they are, how big they are, what they do and what kind of agency they are. Look at the benefits, retirement and other things that they offer the officers. You should also talk to a few of the patrol officers. Not just one, you may get the one that is not happy because he’s in trouble with the department. So make sure you get a good overall picture of the department. Look the department up in the press. I am not saying that the news is a good view of the department, but a department that is constantly in the news because of officers being in trouble may need a second look before you apply. You need to make that call. Just make sure you have all the information you can gather before sitting down with your family and talking this over. I have provided links to every department that has a website in the State of Florida, including Sheriff’s Offices, on the left for you to research for yourself.

Go to the department and get an application or go to the human resources section of the city or county or wherever you are supposed to go. Males wear a suit or shirt and tie, and women wear a pants suit. One that is in good taste, and not lime green (saw one in an interview!!!) or purple, just a basic suit or pants suit. Wear this every time you make contact with the department. Make sure you have taken out the purple hair coloring and all the face piercings. You need to look like you meet the appearance standards for the department or academy. Shave and make sure you look like you’re going to a job interview (oral board). Remember, first impressions are very important. And over the few times, you may be there, your impression you leave with the people in HR and those that see you going into and out of the department can be very important. I can tell you that they young man that sat in my orientation for the police academy in a bright orange Mohawk 6 inches tall left an impression on me. He showed up the first day with a shaved head. That was a smart move.

The application process itself can be daunting. Filling out all those forms, paying for all the stuff to be done (if you have too that is). Let’s cover the application process parts.

First, the application, be sure to fill it out completely and accurately. Leaving something off the application can get you disqualified. You will have to list everything it asks and they expect it to be complete. Sit down and make a list of all your past jobs, addresses and schools to help you when you fill it out. Research these things if you have too. If you have a tough time remembering all your jobs, you may want to pay one of the on-line sites that do background checks on you to give you one on yourself. It will help to jog your memory and give you an idea of the stuff that is out there on you. You can use your Social Security history to help. Visit the Social Security website to get a history of your jobs.

Make sure you type or print LEGIBLY! If they cannot read your application, it will get canned quickly. Miss-spelling, typos and other errors are also problems. If you have a real problem with writing then practice before filling it out. Follow the directions exactly as it says on the application.

Make sure you have all the requested documents attached and in order, before you turn in your application, or it will just sit there until you do. If it says to get a driving history, get one and attach it. Failure to do so will earn your application a quick trip to the “hold and wait until they get their act together” pile.

Once you gather all your information and get it in a format you like, then save it to a thumb drive as well as a printed copy. When you go for applications or BI interview or any other contact where they may ask you for the information, you can pull it off the thumb drive if needed. It doesn’t hurt to have scanned copies of all your important documents also, even though they may want originals to confirm authenticity, the electronic copies can help.

Here is a list we require for just the academy and you could scan most of these and have them handy:
The following documents will be required along with your submission of your
application. Some of these documents may require extra time to secure; therefore, it is advisable to begin collection at this time.
1. A RECENT 2” x 2” full-color, head and shoulders passport photo (for background purposes only).
2. Photocopy of your official birth certificate (issued by the Bureau of Vital Statistics).
3. Photocopy of your high school diploma, OR high school transcript, OR GED Certificate (if
applicable). A high school transcript must be sent from the school directly to XXXXXXXX
4. Photocopy of your college diploma (if applicable) AND a certified copy of college
transcripts for any courses taken. The transcript must be sent from the school directly to the
5. Photocopy of your Florida driver’s license.
6. Photocopy of your social security card.
7. Naturalization Documents (if applicable). Do not copy; bring originals for the Selection
Center to copy.
8. Photocopies of any name change documents (if applicable), i.e. Marriage License,
Dissolution of Marriage, Legal name Change, Adoption Papers.
9. Photocopies of your Military Discharge Papers (DD 214 long form) for each tour of duty or
Attestation of Non-Service.
10. A completed fingerprint card (to be completed at the Selection Center).
Additional photocopies of information/documentation required, if applicable, from applicants
who are presently or have been law enforcement officers, corrections officers, or communication personnel:
11. Law Enforcement Training Academy Graduation Certificate or Corrections Training
Academy Graduation Certificate.
12. All additional LEO/Correction training Certificates/Documentation.
13. First Aid/CPR Certification
14. EMT Certification, if applicable
15. Any other certifications, licenses, or other documentation verifying specialized training you possess.
A good Resume will be helpful. All of this should be used when applying to agencies, as they do sometimes compare applications, and you always want to make sure to include the same information with each.
Once you have a readable, neat, fully completed and filled out an application, take it in and remember to dress accordingly like I said previously.
If this is an application for entry into the police academy, follow the same guidelines.

Once you turn your application in, then you have to sit back and wait. It can take some time for them to go through all the applications and get to yours and review it, and then make arrangements for further processing if you make it that far. So give them several weeks. If you do not hear something from them say after 3 or 4 weeks, it’s OK to give them a call and ask how your application process is going. Don’t call every other day and bug them, which will earn you a reputation before you even get hired (if you do).

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