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Becoming a Police Officer in Baltimore

DerrickDerrick Registered User regular
edited June 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Greetings merry gents and ladies.

As the thread topic reads, I am currently working on my paperwork for becoming a police officer in Baltimore, specifically for the Baltimore Police Department. I'm currently out-of-state, which adds another wrinkle to the process (I live in Kentucky presently, but have lived in Alexandria for around a year, so I'm familiar with the basic area).

So first of all, I'd like to ask for any tips and advice in order to reach that goal. As I said, I'm working on my paperwork, and looking to put it in after July 4th. I'm in good shape (though I do need to work on my running, which I'm doing currently.) I have a degree (BFA in graphic design), I'm 27 and I don't think any of the physical requirements will be a problem. My record is spotless aside from one speeding ticket ages ago that I went to driving school for, and I believe my credit is decent.

Questions-

Anyone have tips for getting better at running quickly? I believe I need to do a 1.5 mile run in 15.5 minutes.

Civil Service exam-> Tips? Study guides? I've seen some sample questions and while it doesn't seem difficult it can't hurt to get a leg up.

Living areas- I have a friend helping me here but any tips or experiences on the great places to live? If I do get into the academy, it will be a paid venture so I don't have to scrimp too much here.

Acceptance- considering I pass the tests, is it more or less a sure thing to get into the academy? The website makes it seem like it is, but with budget concerns across the great 50 states it makes a body wonder.

Plan B.

I'm really getting into police work to help people. I feel like I have a calling to do that kind of work. Something to help my community and my fellow man (rather than say, sell something). If the police venture falls through, or I find I don't like it, what are some other good options here. I was thinking EMT would be a good back-up choice. What kind of training is involved and how much more or less difficult a process is that? What are some other ideas for careers working in civil service?

Derrick on
"The welfare of each of us is dependent fundamentally upon the welfare of all of us."
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-Theodore Roosevelt

Posts

  • PracticalProblemSolverPracticalProblemSolver Registered User
    edited June 2009
    EMT or firefighter sounds more like what you'd be into, unless your idea of 'helping' consists of paperwork and traffic tickets, which is something you could be stuck with as a police officer.

    I've had two brothers become emt, one did an intensive training which was a month or so long(might have been emt and wfr though) and the other went to school for a year semi-part time.

  • psycojesterpsycojester Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    My advice would be go watch all of The Wire.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • jeddy leejeddy lee Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    1.5 miles in 15.5 minutes shouldn't be difficult at all. Someone in decent shape should be able to do that in 10 or 11 minutes. If you can't, then I suggest start jogging for 30 minutes a day, if you can't do 30 minutes, go until you can't then walk, then as soon as you can start jogging again. Do this every day and you'll be there in no time man.

    Also do stretches.

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    While I suggest you watch The Wire anyway, it's still a rather "TV" version of police events compared to how Baltimore really is.

    As for living and policing, Baltimore is loosely 3 sections. There's east baltimore, where it's "bad" but there's a strong police presence due to Hopkins, Patterson Park, etc. There's west baltimore, which is largely ignored by everyone if possible, and then there's the middle, which is a strip from downtown up to Towson, where it's nice. For living purposes, I'd suggest somewhere in that strip (which includes the downtown areas of Canton, Federal Hill, and so on, up through Mount Vernon, Charles Village, Roland Park, and so on).

    I've found that the cops in Baltimore are generally nicer than your average stereotypical officer. I don't think this is something unique to the hiring, but rather a realization that in baltimore there's typically bigger fish to fry. Drug crime is high, and a high murder rate associated with it (and the poor sections of east/west baltimore don't help).

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  • TinuzTinuz Registered User
    edited June 2009
    jack eddy wrote: »
    1.5 miles in 15.5 minutes shouldn't be difficult at all. Someone in decent shape should be able to do that in 10 or 11 minutes. If you can't, then I suggest start jogging for 30 minutes a day, if you can't do 30 minutes, go until you can't then walk, then as soon as you can start jogging again. Do this every day and you'll be there in no time man.

    Also do stretches.

    I agree that it is easy, but I would recommend some interval training. i.e. warm up by walking 2 minutes, then run 4-5 minutes, walk 2, run 5, walk 2, run 5, walk at least 2 back home. This is easier on your leg muscles and especially in the beginning helps build up muscle better/faster. Stamina should follow suit.

    And yeah, stretch.

    Quelreth wrote:
    .....when you made it sound like turning on a blacklight in your room would be like setting off a flashbang.
  • RetoxRetox Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Up here in Alaska after you pass the initial test there is a fairly long series of interviews, including a polygraph and a psychological evaluation. Baltimore may be different though.

  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited June 2009
    I'd be floored if Baltimore didn't also have a long series of interviews, polygraphs, psych evals etc.

  • GigatonGigaton Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    My advice would be go watch all of The Wire.

    Holy Shit...

    I specifically came into this thread to recommend exactly that.

  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited June 2009
    Watching an HBO dramatization isn't really going to help him become an actual police officer.


    Although I do have TV to thank for passing the bar and my medical degree.

  • psycojesterpsycojester Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Gigaton wrote: »
    My advice would be go watch all of The Wire.

    Holy Shit...

    I specifically came into this thread to recommend exactly that.

    I'm guessing you had the same reaction as me then.

    Becoming a Police Officer... :) oh thats nice

    In Baltimore o_O oh you poor bastard.

    The watching The Wire advice is less about helping him becoming a police officer and more about highlighting the problems with Baltimore as a city and its reputation as not-a-nice-place tm.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    I like The Wire for the geography.

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  • NargorothRiPNargorothRiP Registered User
    edited June 2009
    I would disagree about it not being helpful with his decision to become a police officer in that town. It very accurately (although dramatizes some aspects, duh cause its tv) depicts the city and its problems. Also its the greatest tv show ever made.

    the end.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    City or County? There is a big difference.

    There are bad areas spread throughout baltimore city, with nice areas speckled within. Bmore is a very strangely laid out place. Most cities have a line you don't normally cross, because that's "the bad part". usually in baltimore, 5-10 blocks after that "bad part" is another nice part.

  • Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Keep your record spotless and If possible get a record of any moving violations that you have. Your background investigator will generally put you through the process alot smoother if there isn't alot of red tape.

    In terms of the police civil servant exams I have taken 2, NYPD and Westchester County. Honestly If you find an older version of the test, Id just look it over for format, they are mostly the same. If you are a college grad you'll be A-OK. I would say, take as many tests as possible. Also get your stuff in as soon as possible.

    I dont know if baltimore is anything like the NYPD, but expect to have to return to the city mid week to take medical and psychological exams

    [edit]
    EMT or firefighter sounds more like what you'd be into, unless your idea of 'helping' consists of paperwork and traffic tickets, which is something you could be stuck with as a police officer.

    This is not true. Most organizations have separate highway units, and urban areas generally have their own traffic enforcement peace officers, as denoted by the lack of gun. Generally assume that you'll be standing on a street corner until you find a niche in the dept to get into. When I get into the NYPD Im going to do everything I can to get into ESU (SWAT/HRT/Rescue)

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Speaking of the wire, since my wife is in science when they were filming the, uh, last season? of The Wire, a bunch of my friends met the cast at some point. A group of 2-3 were actually somewhat working with "Greggs" who was very interested in the whole process, asking questions about what went on (both for the character and for her own interest). Another friend ran into Bunk in the elevator. My friend was carrying a mouse cage, and Bunk asked "Are there mice in there?" and my friend said yes, then Bunk said "You gonna give 'em cancer or some shit?"


    Anyway, as DrFrench points out, if you do end up here, spend some time getting to know the neighborhoods. There's a ton, and knowing where they start and stop will not only make patrols significantly easier, it'll help you fit in with coworkers and locals much faster. Knowing where Waverly, Pigtown, Butcher's Hill, Hampden, Highlandtown, SoWeBo, Canton, etc., are, will help you far more than just knowing a certain area is "safe" or "bad." For example, Hampden isn't rich, but because it borders Roland Park and Wyman Park (which are neighborhoods), most of the crime is petty. A lot of it is pushed up from Remington (which it borders to the south) and which is a far sketchier neighborhood, despite only being 2-3 blocks away. Numerous friends have seen big drug busts go down on their street (and usually end up moving after a year or so). Hampden doesn't even have bars on their windows, though.

    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • FandyienFandyien But Otto, what about us? Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    My uncle is a firefighter. He's derived a whole lot of satisfaction from helping people, and there's less antaganism towards firefighters/emts among the general populace.

    Being a police officer who functions responsibly and within the law, you may often end up feeling like a jerk who has done less to help people then you have to inconvenience them. But at the same time, Baltimore is a horrible city riddled with social ills, and every good cop there helps. Seriously. Baltimore is a shithole. Being a cop there would be the extreme end of police work. It'll be dangerous, people will hate you, you'll do a lot of beurocratic shit, but at the end of the day you have the capacity to do a lot of good.

    The same thing goes for EMTs/Firefighters, only they have less buerocracy and less general hate for them. Though my uncle talks about how some of the stuff he's seen has sorta fucked up his perception of human society, since apparently, as a firefighter (which is first response+++) he's spent as much time with overdosees and their terrified families then he has fighting fires. That stuff can take a lot outta you, psychologically.

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  • dlinfinitidlinfiniti Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    for police work i would suggest you start piecing together your personal history. From my buddies that have gone through the process that seems like the most pain in the ass part. Names numbers addresses etc for everyone you've ever lived with, ever had close relations with (best friends, girlfriends etc) You're going to need to start gathering that info now, and depending on the process also ask for personal references from people close to you as well as inform everyone else what you're doing so that they arent surprised when the department goes through your history and starts calling people in your past. Also, you will need to make sure that you know your financial history etc very well so that during the polygraph interview process, you don't have any issues. Basically since you're still early in the game, for now, just start writing your own autobiography with important dates, addresses phone numbers and other information just so you have it when they ask for it.

    AAAAA!!! PLAAAYGUUU!!!!
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Can you pass the polygraph? Honestly you may not have been convicted but if you can't pass the polygraph you should consider something new.

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  • Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Can you pass the polygraph? Honestly you may not have been convicted but if you can't pass the polygraph you should consider something new.

    Most local and state agencies do not polygraph, they rather have a verbal psychological. Polygraphs are more of a federal thing. BI will find most if not every blade of grass that you stepped on and for the most part they dont care, they dont want to give a shield and a gun to someone who is a liability, or will be a wash. Just answer honestly and essentially right down the middle. You dont know how many people admit to lighting dogs of fire and stuff to the Psychs.

  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited June 2009
    Oh and if you can do any sort of internship that'd be very wise because even with academy and all of that it's still pretty difficult to get into a department.

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  • Durandal InfinityDurandal Infinity Registered User
    edited June 2009
    Internship gets you nothing in police departments. There are generally no internships, there are auxiliary officers whom are volunteers and have no guns BUT even they, even out of state cops, even war heros Must meet the required credentials that the dept. seeks, score well on the test and do well on the exam. 6 months or so after you take the exam and you get your results you will also get a List number (Your ranking on your exam) that coupled with your exam number essentially are what the police are going to look at when it comes to hiring people.

    Example: Score 95% List # 300 Exam 8000, meaning I got a 95% on the test and there are 300 people ahead of me on that test that will or wont be considered depending on their personal situations, keep in mind Prior exams have priority unless they have Super high list numbers (not bright people).

    So a person with list# 500 exam 7010 Would generally be attending an academy class before you, or at-least get the phone call first if the class is big enough, as long as he passed the credentials.

    Right now I am waiting as long as next july for the NYPD to get to my exam #. The economy fucking did a doozie on civil servant hiring and pensions.

  • NargorothRiPNargorothRiP Registered User
    edited June 2009
    also read homocide. very informative about baltimore police.

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