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Calguns LEOs LEOs; chat, kibitz and relax. Non-LEOs; have a questions for a cop? Ask it here, in a CIVIL manner.

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  #1  
Old 08-21-2018, 10:11 AM
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Default Computer Science grad considering law enforcement

Hi everyone,

I graduated with a Bachelors in Computer Science, and along with my various applications to software engineering positions, I'm potentially considering becoming a sworn law enforcement officer. I don't know much about the details and specifics, and I had a few questions. I live in the South Bay/Torrance area.

1. Are there any sworn positions that would be a fit for my background in CS, or is there pretty much one career path if you're a sworn officer?

2. What should I consider when deciding what agency to apply to? I don't know the practical difference between the Police and Sheriff office, for instance.

3. What sort of starting position can someone expect with a Bachelor's degree and internship experience that doesn't relate to law enforcement?

4. Does experience with computer security help in any way?

5. I recognize that I would make a lot more money as a software developer, but I don't actually know the extent of it. Does anyone have salary data points for whatever I would try to be at start, five and ten years?

6. Is this just a bad idea?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
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Old 08-21-2018, 10:17 AM
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  #3  
Old 08-21-2018, 10:22 AM
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With your background in Computer Science and I would suggest that you explore Federal Law Enforcement Employment. There is a large demand for "experts" who can protect society from outside attacks.
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Old 08-21-2018, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Spanky8601 View Post
With your background in Computer Science and I would suggest that you explore Federal Law Enforcement Employment. There is a large demand for "experts" who can protect society from outside attacks.
I looked into becoming a Special Agent with the FBI, but they require three years of (any) work experience. Is this strict? Should I apply anyway?

If I want to apply in three years, would it be better to get a software dev job now or start as an officer and transition into federal law enforcement?

Edit: I suppose I could also apply to one of the FBI positions that accepts recent graduates (they have computer science positions) and try to transition to Special Agent once I'm in. Is this a good idea or might I get locked in to my position?

Last edited by syn-ack-bang; 08-21-2018 at 10:32 AM..
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Old 08-21-2018, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syn-ack-bang View Post
I looked into becoming a Special Agent with the FBI, but they require three years of (any) work experience. Is this strict? Should I apply anyway?

If I want to apply in three years, would it be better to get a software dev job now or start as an officer and transition into federal law enforcement?

Edit: I suppose I could also apply to one of the FBI positions that accepts recent graduates (they have computer science positions) and try to transition to Special Agent once I'm in. Is this a good idea or might I get locked in to my position?
It is always easier to promote from within an agency than come in from the outside.
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Old 08-21-2018, 7:08 PM
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Are you just out of college with a CS degree? Iím assuming yes. If so, get into the IT field and get 4-5 years of experience under your belt. No offense but fresh CS grads really donít know much about IT. Maybe you know some languages and, depending on the school, you might know a little about software engineering, but take my word for it, you know very little about how software, and more importantly, systems really work. And I can guarantee that you know zero about how software gets created and maintained in the real world.

Iím not trying to be an apple - just trying to make sure you understand that you have A LOT to learn.

As for salary, if youíre in the LA area a fresh grad can pull in $55-75K as a developer, depending on where youíre looking and on you. I canít comment about LEO salaries.

I do applaud you. I sure wish I was thinking like you are when I was your age. If I had been, spending 5-7 years in the IT industry, getting a masters degree along the way, and then transitioning into law enforcement would be a very nice career path. Keep it up. I think youíre thinking correctly.
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Old 08-22-2018, 6:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syn-ack-bang View Post
3. What sort of starting position can someone expect with a Bachelor's degree and internship experience that doesn't relate to law enforcement?

My college wingman got a BS in Criminal Justice, and ended up going into IT work for an insurance company!


Dedication and a willingness to train & learn, will get you further than whatever your Bachelors degree might be. As a wise man recently noted on this board - "a bachelors degree is just a trained monkey degree, that gets your foot in the door for the interview." What YOU make of it, is everything that follows.
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Old 08-22-2018, 7:54 AM
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As a police volunteer, I found any IT experience is a help. I recommend becoming a sworn officer if you can stomach the current status of the profession (some states and locales are much better than others). It will not matter much for getting in but it will help on side projects. They definitely need help in security (both for the department and for cases) and in working with databases to gather information.
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Old 08-22-2018, 1:36 PM
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Being a crime analyst is another possibility. They use all kinds of computer sciency stuff to compile data driven policing. Ours get paid pretty decent too.

Being a street cop nowadays is a rough gig. You can make the same money doing something else, making far better money, and you dont have anyone trying to kill you, or the public trying to hang you.
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Old 08-22-2018, 5:13 PM
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Local agencies should have a position that can utilize an officer with computer skills. Large agencies have units that deals with computer crime/cyber crime.
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Old 08-22-2018, 5:26 PM
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https://www.cia.gov/careers/search-j...nce-technology
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Old 08-23-2018, 9:48 AM
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Originally Posted by CinnamonBear723 View Post
Being a crime analyst is another possibility. They use all kinds of computer sciency stuff to compile data driven policing. Ours get paid pretty decent too.

Being a street cop nowadays is a rough gig. You can make the same money doing something else, making far better money, and you dont have anyone trying to kill you, or the public trying to hang you.
Are crime analysts sworn?
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Old 08-23-2018, 9:58 AM
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Apologize for posting in LEO forum, but is it possible to become a reserve, while getting your experience in I.T.?

Nothing replaces real I.T. work in the I.T. field.
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by creampuff View Post
Apologize for posting in LEO forum, but is it possible to become a reserve, while getting your experience in I.T.?

Nothing replaces real I.T. work in the I.T. field.
I'd like to respectfully make a distinction between IT and Software Engineering. I would be doing the latter.

And I looked into the LASD deputy reserve program, but it requires attending the police academy, and you have to pay for it out of pocket and go full time afaict, which presents the following dilemma:

Either I can afford to pay for my training (and rent, and electricity, and food) because I have a job, or I can spare the time to go because I don't have a job, but not both.

Does anyone know if there is a weekend only academy course or something similar?

Last edited by syn-ack-bang; 08-23-2018 at 10:20 AM..
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Old 08-23-2018, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Spanky8601 View Post
With your background in Computer Science and I would suggest that you explore Federal Law Enforcement Employment. There is a large demand for "experts" who can protect society from outside attacks.

I second this ^^^. FBI, IRS, DEA all like computer geeks.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syn-ack-bang View Post
Does anyone know if there is a weekend only academy course or something similar?
Yes, there are some academies that are evenings and weekends. You would have to check with academies in your area to see what is offered.

Personally, you may find yourself using more technical skills and perhaps paid more if you remain a civilian (and maybe a reserve on the side) and work as an analyst/computer crimes tech if you work with a local agency.

If you are willing to work for the intelligence community or Feds you will potentially have more options, probably use even more technical skills/toys, and with Federal LE agencies could probably be a sworn officer.
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Old 08-23-2018, 11:24 AM
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op, i am not leo but i am in IT and was in your shoes about 6 years ago after being burnt out and wanting to serve my community.

i believe you will want to look into the C4 division. https://oag.ca.gov/c4

"C4 unifies California Department of Justice's (DOJ's) resources to investigate and prosecute cyber crime, enhance digital evidence capabilities, and promote innovation. C4 supports DOJ internally as well as local and state law enforcement agency partners throughout the cyber crime lifecycle by providing services, technical assistance, and training related to cyber crime, digital evidence, and digital forensics. C4 also advances DOJ's internal capabilities to utilize digital evidence for investigations and litigation."

the downside of course is you would work for xavier becerra and like minded leftists, something i couldnt do.
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Old 08-31-2018, 6:46 PM
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Los Angeles has a High Tech Crimes unit. Dealing in Cyber exploits, credit card theft and some hilarious celebrity hacks.

USSS has the electronic crimes task force.
HSI also has a similar program.
The field splits into two areas
Forensics aka finding digital evidence, and cyber crime (hacking for lack no of a better term. Think of the Target stores data breach).

Being a CISSO or CISM, etc. Will definitely help you in being hired for cyber as an 1811. Heck the private realm alone is full of opportunities. Payment Card Industry compliance is huge right now. Firms are hired by corporations to do incident response to breaches. Most good cyber agents eventually leave the fed for these green pastures, even before eligible for retirement

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