Next Stop: The Academy!

So i am officially an employee of Dekalb County!! it was a long road to get here and there is still more to go through but it’ll all be worth it in the end. I gave my notice from my other job about a week ago to give me time to workout and rest up for a week before i begin the academy. I also had a couple of things to do this week to prepare. we had an orientation on wednesday. it was an informative meeting. we met our instructors, talked benefits and pay, and got our orders for monday! i have lots of paper work to do before monday. filling out healthcare packets, life insurance, personal info, reports, and read tons of handouts on rules and regs. so i’m done for now. more updates coming next week. 10-4

What to Expect From the Medical Visits

So whenever i hear that i am going to have a medical physical, i assume it will be a very… thorough exam. well, put your mind at ease, this one is not to invasive. I got to my medical exam, they did a drug test, checked my weight and height, blood pressure, sight and hearing, and then they checked in my mouth and ears, listened to my heart and lungs, asked me to stretch and twist and reach, and then said i was good to go. the wait was longer than the exam… but all was well. nothing to stress about.

The next day i was scheduled for the psychiatric evaluation. I didn’t really know what to expect. A large group of us were there to take the test. Basically we took 3 tests equalling about 250 questions and answered a 3 page questionnaire about what makes us mad, what we do to cope with stress, what makes us happy etc… easy stuff. be honest. after this we went in and talked one on one with the doctor. He just asked basic questions about some of our answers and our background. standard stuff. enough to sorta make ya worry. Don’t. even though that’s where i am right now. waiting to hear back and finalize the paper work. I have been told that the job is mine (hooray) i’m now just waiting for all of the final adjustments and results to be… finalized. So for now i wait to find out all of the definites, and then, start the academy on November 18th! Stay tuned for an update, and entries once the academy starts! now the hard part….waiting…. over and out.

In the Room with a Command Board

I looked everywhere on line to find a site that would tell me what to expect from an interview with a police Oral board. I found some very good info and read up on the things that you may want to know. Things like: what to wear, how to enter the room, how to act, facts about the department you are hiring on with and situational protocols, what you will bring to the department, why you are better than another candidate, what you will bring to the county and its citizens and so on and so forth…. All of that info did not provide me with the guts and calm nerves to face the Command Board. I showed up (again in suit and tie) 20 minutes before i was scheduled to be there 30 minutes early, so almost an hour ahead of time. I spoke with my detective for awhile and he told me how to prepare and what to expect and then sent me to the waiting room. I waited for almost 45 minutes trying to sit straight with good posture and remember how to breathe. Finally my time came, and a Lieutenant came out to brief me on what to expect and to tell me to just relax. Easy enough, right? haha no. I was expecting about an hours worth of questions from about 3 or 4 people. This was not going to be fun. I entered the room and to my surprise there were 9 people on the board waiting for me. 2 of them were only observing, but still, they were in the room and i was the first candidate after lunch. I was nervous to say the very least. But i was determined to make a good impression and do my best. I walked in head high, shoulders back and with a smile on my face. I greeted everyone and then sat down to get things under way. The Major at the end of the table introduced himself and the others, told me what was going to happen and to just relax. Again, easier said than done. They went around the semi-circle and asked 1 question a piece. These questions ranged from, “What is your definition of ethics?” to “If you had to take a life in the line of duty, and it was justified and done to protect a life, could you do it?” Hard enough questions to answer then add a command board that is listening to every word you say making sure you are fit for their department. I feel like over all i answered honestly and appropriately. After i answered their questions (only 7 or so) the Major asked me a situational question to test my awareness and honesty, and then some of the other officers asked me questions based on my driving history. They wanted to make sure they could trust me in one of their cars, driving on their streets, next to their citizens. I was able to justify myself by showing changes in my driving, which i assume sufficed as they smiled, thanked me for my time and said i was done. I thanked them for their time and left. I went back to the waiting room to wait for the results. One of the guys in the room said i was only gone for maybe 13 minutes. Not even close to what i expected time-wise, but even more so stress-wise. The longest 5 minutes of my life later, the Lieutenant came out, called me over and congratulated me with a handshake informing me that i had done well and was approved for hiring pending results from the psych eval and medical examination. Overjoyed i went back upstairs to work on my POST certification packet. At that time i was scheduled for my psych eval and med exam. I was one happy fellow! over and out.

Stressed? That’s Normal When Taking the CVSA Test…

Ever see those movies where they have the guy hooked up to the lie detector test and every time he lies it looks like there was an earthquake? yeah, well that’s not how the CVSA test works. It basically analyzes the sound waves of your voice and shows stress in the wave form when you are lying. Again wear a suit and tie to this. You ALWAYS want to look professional and give them every reason to hire you. So once they call you back to get setup, you go back into the office/room whatever and sit down. The detective will clip on a little microphone to your shirt and then explain how things will work. Basically, He or she will ask you several questions (around 30) about various things. Some questions are about things in the room or what you are wearing, some are about things in your background history, so if you’ve lied by this point, they will definitely find out. so easy way to beat this is… don’t lie. And they will actually ask you to lie on some of the questions so that they can see what your voice looks like under stress or when you are lying. Once you do the test you are good to go and relax… NOT! They have you do the test again. Not to trick you, but to allow you a chance to calm down and relax now that you know how the testing works. If you cracked on one question where you were telling the truth the first time, you can fix that this time. If you lied the first time, they’ll catch it this time just the same. So again, DO NOT LIE. simple. After this, they take the test to another un-biased detective to review and sign off on the test. The computer also grades the test. It can turn out 1 of 3 ways. One shows a lie, one shows a maybe, and one shows a truth. They’re of course called something different, but that’s the jist of it. If you don’t lie you have nothing to worry about. you have more to worry about if you lie. So in case you missed it before… DON’T LIE!!! After you’re done, you go home and wait for the final call…. the call to approve you to see the command board for an Oral Interview in front of several highly ranked and intimidating Police officers. Good look sleeping while you wait to hear back…. over and out.

The Interview

So for the initial interview, you have to have all of your documents in place that you were told about when you worked on your booklet. Also, if you don’t have a suit, you may wanna buy one before or once you get called to go in for an interview. At this point, they are some what interested in you. Once you get in for the interview, you’ll have to fill out statements pertaining to issues in your booklet, such as getting fired/terminated or arrested, etc… once you finish these statements, you wait your turn to speak with a detective from the class. He or she will call you back and you will sit at their cubicle while they ask you generic questions about yourself and your background packet. They will also let you know what you can be expecting in the next couple of days or weeks from the hiring process. Now my process (from initial application to psych evaluation lasted just under 4 months. once i passed my physical test though, the time was just under 3 months.) My process was put on a fast track though as my hire group was looking to be placed in a November Academy.  Everything went well at my Interview, and during this time, they were contacting references and previous employers to verify my packet. Again, all done very fast but efficiently. Any time there was an issue, my detective got in touch with me to resolve the issue that day. After my interview was the hard part. Waiting. Waiting for the CVSA (computer voice stress analysis test). A couple days later though i received the call to schedule the test! Read more in the next post. If at any point you have any questions, email me cameroncollver@gmail.com. Over and Out.

First Things First (Applications)

So i’m not a journalist, but i like to keep things around to remind me of where i’ve been. who knows maybe these accounts can later be put together as a book. maybe, maybe not. ya never know, so i’m gonna write like it’ll happen.

So… First things first. Filling out applications is the first part of any hiring process. The agency needs to know you are interested. They won’t call you and ask. So how do you find out if an agency is hiring? Ever heard of Google? That’s the best place to start. Something to the effect of “Police jobs in Georgia” should suffice. Once you find a couple of places near you that you’re interested in, go ahead and check out the sites. Most places have a preliminary questionnaire that they have you fill out and email/submit. If everything here looks good you’ll probably get an email letting you know what the next step is. When i started applying for jobs, i applied for a handful of agencies. Some i filled out the online questionnaires for and some i emailed directly to show interest. Many smaller agencies are usually looking for those who are already POST certified, so if you aren’t certified, you may not want to hold your breath about getting hired with them. Most larger agencies are looking for several people and will go through several hundreds of applications and pick the right ones to send to the academy to get certified. If you have no prior LE (law enforcement) experience, this may be a good place to start. Now i’m not an expert, just speaking from experience as i’ve just gone through this several months ago. I’ll use my experience with Dekalb County to show the progress because this is the agency I will be working with. After i filled out their online questionnaire, i received an email to schedule a date for the written and physical test. I had already started working out and preparing for this carer, so once i felt i was in good enough shape for the testing, i scheduled my dates and headed to their training facility. I also started working on the 30 something page background and history booklet they gave me. i had to have work history, driving history, criminal history (luckily i didn’t have any), drug use (again, didn’t have any) family info, residency for the past 7 years and tons of references. This packet was huge and took me weeks to finish, so don’t think you can just put it off till the day before. It has to be turned in when you go in for the first tests. You also need several copies and originals of the following (just to name a few): Birth cert, marriage cert, high school and college diplomas/transcripts, some sort of SAT or similar test scores, dd-214 if prior military and several more. All of this needs to be nice and organized and in a folder to keep it looking nice. I had to show up nice and early for the testing. i believe it started around 8 am. testing lasted till around 1 pm i believe. they start to weed out people here. i noticed they got rid of people before the testing started based on drug use (if it was done within a certain time in relation to the test date) and arrest and criminal history. Tattoos and driving history were not an issue, as long as there were no tats on the face, hands, neck or ears, and as long as your license had never been suspended or you didn’t have any DUI’s. i think that too many tickets may be an issue as well. I had 3 within the past 5 years and i was okayed. so just be careful. the test was a standard type of a test with about 300 or so questions. won’t get too much into that as they like to keep it confidential. easy enough though. afterwards i participated in their physical test. it consisted of (for my age-24 and male) a bend and reach, at least 21 pushups and 24 sit-ups in a minute, a short obstacle course that has to be done in under 16 seconds. The course is laid out as follows: start with a 10 yd run, dive under a barrier, run to a 150? lb dummy pull for about 15 feet, sprint and hurdle a 4 ft chain link fence, and then sprint 20 feet to the finish line. easy enough if you hustle and don’t fall going over the fence. wear long pants as i scraped my leg up pretty bad from my ankle to the knee cap. not a pretty sight, but worth it now. after this you go for a 440 yd run which is basically one lap around the track. the time to beat is 1:20. and i mean 1:20. the first time i ran i ran it in 1:21. i did not pass and had to come back two weeks later to do it all again (minus the written test). i might add though, that all of the members of the department that were there were HIGHLY supportive and encouraging. This alone persuaded me to pursue the Dekalb County PD full on, and not concern myself with any other departments. when i came back to test my results were:

42 pushups

43 situps

15 s obstacle course

1:11 run

all i can say is to prepare for this, do pushups everyday till you can’t, and run sprints. i did 4 25 yd sprints without stopping. rested for 1:20 and then did it again. rested and did it again. do this twice a week and then run long distances with sprints in between on 2 or 3 of the other days. this helped me in two weeks time drop my lap time 10 seconds. which is a very big deal when you are dealing with a pass or fail. so trust me….

that’s pretty much all there was to that. then its a waiting game till you hear back from the Background and Recruiting Office to schedule an Interview. That’s the next post. Over and out.

Some Background

So for about 5 years now, i have been trying to get into law enforcement. While i still lived in south georgia, i applied to a couple of agencies. I went into the army to gain experience as an MP. When i got out of the army, i moved to the atlanta area to go to music school. i made the point to find a job in the music industry after i graduated. i gave myself 6 months to find something or a solid internship. well i worked several odd jobs here and there mixing and engineering for several rappers and bands in georgia. i was getting paid and staying somewhat busy here and there, but in no way making money to support myself and my wife, so at the end of the 6 months and the end of my internship i decided to find something more substantial. something that could support my family more comfortably. something i could do for the next several years, maybe even retire from after a long rewarding career. i still have my music and will definitely be working on projects as i go along and one day rely fully on this job to provide for me, but for the time being, i have begun looking for a career in law enforcement. again, a CAREER, not a job. i understand that this job takes up more than 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, and lots of weekends and overtime, not to mention lots of training and working on holidays. i feel the pros far outweigh the cons and trust that God has directed my path to this career. So here’s a look into my path towards starting a police career and my actual career. i hope this can shed some light on anyone looking to get started in this field as well. thanks for reading. over and out