1. #1
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    BLET and current job outlook

    Good morning, I'm Patricia and I am looking for some information regarding BLET, the job outlook in NC and some general information about joining LE. Some of these questions might be more suited for the Academy forum however I was hoping to get the perspective from those of you currently working in NC because that is the only state I am looking in, I hope that's alright.

    I've been interested in law enforcement for several years but have been actively pursuing an IT career. That is unfortunately not turning out the way I was hoping and finding a job has proven to be all but impossible because I don't have experience. We are currently in a position that I can afford to get the necessary training I need and still have our family be taken care of to join law enforcement. I am looking at starting at JCC in January for the BLET training. I am planning to be self sponsored and to start applying for jobs as soon as I start the course. Has anyone been through the BLET training there? What is the training like? I was in the Army in 2005 and graduated from basic and finished most of my AIT training, so I have some experience with that type of training. I'm not too concerned about being able to meet the requirements, I have never done drugs of any kind, I didn't even drink until I was 21. I have a handful of speeding tickets but only one in the last 2 years the others are almost 10 years old. I'm not in the best shape but I am working on that with a trainer right now, and my credit is really bad but I will be resolving it before I start the course in January. Even though I didn't finish AIT I did get an honorable discharge and count as a veteran because I was in for over 180 days. I also have an associates degree in information technology with an emphasis in networking. I would say my biggest concern is will I be able to get a job once I graduate. I live in Clayton, NC and my perfect job would be to get on there, but there are multiple local places that I would apply and I am even close enough to Raleigh that I would apply there as well. We own a house in Clayton, so I have to find a position within reasonable distance of there because moving is not an option for us. It's really important that I am able to find a job right away because my husband will be coming home in April from being in Afghanistan for 18 months and he is hoping to go to school full-time and I need to be working to help take care of our family. We have two children, a five year old daughter and an 8 moth old son.

    I appreciate any information that you can provide me.

  2. #2
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    Patricia,

    First off congratulations for making the decision to join us in the Law Enforcement profession. I am a rookie officer in the RTP area and went through BLET in 2010. I have a few suggestions for you:

    1. Firstly let me advise against self sponsoring. I did this and the only thing it taught me is that a few emails/calls to local jurisdictions (especially sheriff's departments) would have saved me $900. You would be amazed of the low caliber of individuals that came to my BLET fully sponsored who washed out in the first two weeks. It is very easy for a department to sign off on a sponsorship because they have no responsibility to hire or really to give you much attention after you graduate. I have heard from my fellow officers that smaller departments will "sponsor anyone". Spend the small amount of time and at least inquire about sponsorship, you can take that 900 and pay your trainer with it or start paying off any charge offs you have on your credit report.

    2. As far as being in shape, I was not even close when I made it to the BLET. It sounds cliché but I'm sure anyone you've spoken to has already advised you to start running as much as you can. This is definitely the key to make it. Keep in mind most of PT is showing improvement over the few months you are there. NEVER QUIT, as long as you struggle along and complete the tasks that are put in front of you, you will be respected and signed off on. Always be motivated and never complain while you’re at the school.

    3. I can't directly attest to JCC's BLET because I haven't heard anything about it nor did I attend there.

    4. I don't have kids myself, but keep in mind the crazy amount of stress and lack of time BLET will add to your family. My wife was a real big supporter but BLET was a strain on her just as much as me. Be prepared emotionally to not be able to spend time with your family for those few months. Your free time should be filled with studying by yourself or helping your fellow cadets with their studies. This is not to say you won't see them, but it amazed me how little time I had to be free of BLET (not dominating conversation or your mindset) and just spend time with family.

    5. Let’s talk about your future application. One phrase you will hear throughout BLET is the "totality of circumstances". This goes for the application process. First off, great job already thinking of applying at the front end of BLET. Take into consideration that none of my applications took less than 3 months to get through to the final decision phase. A lot of the cadets put a date on the calendar about half way through the BLET and began to apply

    The lack of drug usage is a real positive, but keep in mind that saying none is going to make some investigators suspicious and I wouldn't be surprised if they really hammer away at it in your polygraph.

    The traffic citations really can jam people up for some departments but your one in the last two years shouldn't be too much trouble.

    I noticed you didn't mention any criminal charges so I won't address that.

    Something you didn't mention either that I found was an issue was frequency of jobs over time. "job-jumping" was something I was labeled as and was discounted from a few departments because of it.

    Now for the big one, bad credit. It is one of those things that just follow some of us around without much recourse to correct it. Even when we pay off the accounts the poor rating still sits there to haunt us. The reason I mentioned the "totality of circumstances" is that, YES, credit matters. However, if credit is something you can explain such as my explanation of "they were handing out credit cards like candy in college and I wasn't mature enough to understand the ramifications on my future" you should be able to sidestep it tanking your application. It is when an applicant starts to show a combination of bad marks like bad credit PLUS multiple tickets or bad credit PLUS schedule I or II drug usage, which is when people get dismissed from the process.
    6. As far as actually getting hired, apply apply apply. I had my top 3 and vigorously attempted to pursue them, however, the job I got and absolutely am overjoyed about was one that I filled out a random online application for. In this market, you really need to play the field and apply to EVERY jurisdiction you feel comfortable traveling to. Following up on all of your applications is also crucial. After you get the letter confirming the receipt of your application call the recruiter and inquire about ride alongs. Get to know the patrol officers you ride along with and ask them about the potential individuals on your future oral board.
    7. Get it straight in your head how you will answer the oral board questions. There are quite a few threads giving the standard questions, know beforehand how you will answer them and practice giving them on family.
    8. I have run really long in this answer so I am going to wrap it up with my last bit of interview advice, before you talk to the recruiter, go onto the town website/police website and find out about community policing policy. Here in our area, Community Policing is the golden phrase. Learn about it and show your intentions to build relationships between the department and its citizens.

    Good luck, stay safe

  3. #3
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    Thank you very much, I really appreciate the reply.

    I have never had any criminal charges. I have kind of job jumped but only because of moving for college, or being a stay at home mom. I am a little concerned about the time aspect but I will just have to work it out. I will be the only parent at home while in BLET, so I have to make as much family time as possible. My husband is in Afghanistan until April.

  4. #4
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    Pjmoore, I live in Selma. Used to live to in Clayton and graduated at Clayton High in 2003. I enrolled in Nash Community College (NCC) for this upcoming BLET. Looking for sponsorships, from what I have heard, not many departments sponsor anymore due to people not making it through and the department looks at it as they lost money. I am self-sponsored. There may still be room up in Nash Community College in Rocky Mount (there are three woman in there). Then again, I signed up two months ago after finding out JCC BLET was already full (I kind of freaked out). There was so much paperwork that it took me several weeks to complete. NCC starts this coming Monday, August 15th. I will be looking after the academy either Johnston County Sheriffs Department, Clayton PD (high hopes), Selma, Smithfield, and then the remainder surrounding cities that are hiring. Good luck to you.

  5. #5
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    I just finished mailing all my requests for records checks today. I have lived in 8 counties since I was 18 and had to get driving records for 4 states. That was all a lot of fun. I plan to apply everywhere, course I need to get into the course and pass first. The director at JCC said it's pretty easy to get sponsored. I'm good either way but saving the money would be nice.

  6. #6
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    Make copies. I cannot stress enough of copies. So when you apply for each department you just give them the copies of your copies. Keep the originals unless the academy ask for them. Two questions when I went on a ride-along-program that the sergeant asked me two tough questions, "When the situation arises, can you take another man's life, and are you able to lay your life down for someone else?"

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ndoane24 View Post
    Pjmoore, I live in Selma. Used to live to in Clayton and graduated at Clayton High in 2003. I enrolled in Nash Community College (NCC) for this upcoming BLET. Looking for sponsorships, from what I have heard, not many departments sponsor anymore due to people not making it through and the department looks at it as they lost money. I am self-sponsored. There may still be room up in Nash Community College in Rocky Mount (there are three woman in there). Then again, I signed up two months ago after finding out JCC BLET was already full (I kind of freaked out). There was so much paperwork that it took me several weeks to complete. NCC starts this coming Monday, August 15th. I will be looking after the academy either Johnston County Sheriffs Department, Clayton PD (high hopes), Selma, Smithfield, and then the remainder surrounding cities that are hiring. Good luck to you.
    Actually what you have heard is completely false.

    The department that sponsors you takes on no financial liability at all. They attest to your good moral character and endorse you as a good candidate to be a police officer. From here, NC training and standards basically eats the cost of tuition. It is the same process that I go through every time I do in service training where it is completely free.

    Sponsorship is the easiest thing a department can do because if you do well they expect you to give them first dibs after you graduate and it didn't cost them anything but a 30 minute interview and a signed piece of paper.

  8. #8
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    and one additional thing, most of the departments I came into contact with won't take copies, they want originals. It was the costliest thing of the entire application process because North Carolina raised its background check rates to $25 last year. I only had 3 counties and the $75 an application incurred huge amounts of worry over risk/reward (is this department really interested in me or am I wasting the $75?)

    The great thing is when you actually get into a department and they are filling out the F8 which requires the applicant to produce copies of ALL TRAFFIC CITATIONS (as in the originals) that was fun trying to find.

    and Pjmoore, in reference to your time concerns, remember you are basically at the whim of the BLET Director, if he/she says your coming in Saturday because that is the only time the instructor can be there, well..... you're coming in Saturday. Same goes for that day that the other cadets are cutting up and the director decides to hold you over 2 hours for group push-up therapy (happened a few times in mine)

    and another nugget of knowledge for when you are actually in BLET, 95% of all test questions come from the "course objectives". Any BLET Director worth a damn will tell you this at the start. The BEST way of studying is while you are going through the course with the instructor, flip back to the front page with the course objectives on it and when you come to it in the text highlight, star, underline, and put the number beside it (obj. #3). This way after you've studied the entire course for the test you can go back in that last 10 minutes before the actual test and just go objective to objective and quickly memorize what you might miss.

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    So I will have to get those records for every department I apply for? That is certainly an investment for me I have three NC counties and then the other five in other states. All traffic citations that could be interesting trying to come up with those most are over ten years old.

    Did you go to an academy, or to a course at a community college? I suppose the time issues will be something I will discuss with the director if I get in and see how they do things there.

  10. #10
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    Where did the idea come from that an applicant should pay for and gather up criminal record checks and why is NC the only state that requires it? I have never heard of someone having to gather up criminal records check from everywhere they lived. I have heard of maybe gathering your driving record and birth certificate.

    The department should do the background investigation if they are interested in the applicant.

    Why can't a department/BLET program just run an applicant's name through NCIC /FBI databases?


    In my opinion, criminal record checks are a costly investment for the applicant that may not pay off. What happens if you don't get hired? You just wasted a lot of money and time.

  11. #11
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    ^^^ It's not. Georgia, for example, has departments (Atlanta) that make the applicant pay for the cost of gathering documents; wouldn't surprise me that other, more smaller departments throughout the country do the same thing.
    Just another squirrel, tryin' to get a nut......

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