I am considering applying for a civilian analyst position in a municipal police department.  I have been cautioned by a friend about a sub-culture where civilians are often viewed as “second class citizens” in law enforcement agencies.  Should I just look elsewhere?
Posted by careersingov
Asked on May 14, 2013 8:53 am

Earlier in my career I spent nearly 20 years serving in a police department as a civilian and rising to a position equivalent to a Police Captain. I found there is some truth to your friend’s observation. I suspect it is alot like being a nurse working among doctors or flight attendants working with pilots, though less gender-based. ”Civilianization” of many formerly sworn positions in law enforcement (driven largely by economics) is contributing to greater acceptance of the marriage, however don’t expect that all the ”caste” system feel is gone. As with so many things, it boils down to attitudes. As a civilian, resist acting like a ”wanna be cop” and hope, at the same time, to avoid exposure to too many elitest ”supercops” who divide the world into Cops and everyone else of lesser worth. Personally, I found my years in the cop shop, among my most enjoyable in public service. I met and worked with some of the finest, most courageous unsung heroes on the American landscape. Today, one of my dearest and best friends is a colleague who rose to the rank of police chief; an odd pairing given my ’60s college protest years. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be uniquely rewarding. Take the plunge.

Posted by careersingov
Answered On June 24, 2013 9:00 am