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  1. #1
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    Frustrated and Burned out, Should I leave or Should I stay? Need Advice

    The ultimate question, how to decide to leave your agency you have been with for 10 years and lateral somewhere else?

    Maybe I'm not the only one that feels this way, but let me give you my brief case:

    10 years at agency

    Agency has went down-hill (lots of politics, can't pursue unless violent crime, chief seems to be on way out but no date set, does not want to hear anyone complain)

    use of forces are looked at under a magnifying glass by all levels

    lots of crime - (Most cops just say, "Glad I don't live in this town)

    Lack of real care by Administration on crime, which trickles down to patrol

    2 and 3 year cops burnt out

    Budget in shambles

    Criminals from larger cities say, "We love your town, the cops are nice here"

    Sgts and Lt's look for lateral jobs elsewhere, instead of trying to further promote here

    No special assingment pay or education pay

    Moral by most accounts is at 10 year low

    I guess I'm trying to decide on pulling the trigger to leave this city, looking at CA DOJ, and other options, maybe its just me, but I'm not to happy with my city. By most accounts of most officers, "I'ts just a job" where I work.

    Anyone delt with the same issues? How did you overcome them? Maybe its just me?

    To throw another wrench, if I were hired on DOJ or some other good agencies I have researched heavily, I would have to physically move. Wife not happy about that idea....

    Any words of wisdom would be great....

  2. #2
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    Such a big change is a very personal thing & I can only offer my experience.
    If someone had the nerve & told me before I had 10 years on how things would be I would've packed up & left. When I had 10 years on it became glaringly apparent I wasn't going anywhere so I stayed on until I retired with 28 years on the Dept. Looking back I think it was a bad idea. I hear of guys I knew that did jump ship to other agencies & they wound up in positions or got promotions while I wallowed around in this large Dept. Perhaps the bigger question is : Can you still work in LE knowing the policies & restrictions are only going to get worse as time goes on. You've been around long enough to see the noose tightening, so do you really want to stay in a field that is only going to get more dangerous & restrictive as to how you can do your job?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CAPatrol View Post
    The ultimate question, how to decide to leave your agency you have been with for 10 years and lateral somewhere else?

    Maybe I'm not the only one that feels this way, but let me give you my brief case:

    10 years at agency

    Agency has went down-hill (lots of politics, can't pursue unless violent crime, chief seems to be on way out but no date set, does not want to hear anyone complain)

    use of forces are looked at under a magnifying glass by all levels

    lots of crime - (Most cops just say, "Glad I don't live in this town)

    Lack of real care by Administration on crime, which trickles down to patrol

    2 and 3 year cops burnt out

    Budget in shambles

    Criminals from larger cities say, "We love your town, the cops are nice here"

    Sgts and Lt's look for lateral jobs elsewhere, instead of trying to further promote here

    No special assingment pay or education pay

    Moral by most accounts is at 10 year low

    I guess I'm trying to decide on pulling the trigger to leave this city, looking at CA DOJ, and other options, maybe its just me, but I'm not to happy with my city. By most accounts of most officers, "I'ts just a job" where I work.

    Anyone delt with the same issues? How did you overcome them? Maybe its just me?

    To throw another wrench, if I were hired on DOJ or some other good agencies I have researched heavily, I would have to physically move. Wife not happy about that idea....

    Any words of wisdom would be great....
    Yeah, welcome to the NYPD, as your issues are the same there. No pay, adminstration treats you like crap, and everyone bails as soon as they find another ship that will take them. I quit after 8 years despite being on the fast track to being promoted, according to my CO. Not.... The funniest thing was sitting down with the CO when he wanted to know why I was quitting. I laid out the numbers for him and he was shocked at how much money he was losing by staying. He quit shortly after I did.

    I found a department that made more money than the NYPD, had better working conditions, and no commute. My time from the City also counted up front in the pension system, so I didn;t lose anything other than the NYPD.

  4. #4
    Park Rangers get GUNS!?!?
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    Sounds like Memphis, I jumped ship from there after my rookie year. Change isnt always bad, especially if the pay is better and they leave you to your own devices and you dont have IAB or your CO down your back all the time. State gig may be good. Im sure your wife would appreciate you moving up, after all, stress at work turns into stress at home.
    Who you calling twig pigs? we prefer tree police thank you!

  5. #5
    Frank Booth
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    You're miserable with only 10 years on, and you can lateral somewhere and not lose your time? The answer is clear. Leave.

    Also, I'd go to where the money and retirement is best, like CA. However, leaving because they won't let you be "the real police" in your estimation may just set you up for disappointment. That stuff is getting to be a pretty universal complaint I think.
    Last edited by Frank Booth; 03-21-2008 at 08:07 AM.

  6. #6
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    You could be from my department with some of those complaints, and you are clear across the counrty.
    If you have a genuinely better oportunity somewhere else, and have done your homework on that agency, then you should go for it. The hassles of relocation, temporary pay cut, loss of seniority are short term thinking. If what you want is within that department then down the road you'll be happier (long term thinking). I have had several opportunities over the years to make a move that probably would've put me in a much better position than where I am now (not complaining, but who can't do better?). I never left. I realize now that the main reason for this was short term thinking.

  7. #7
    J Bo1664
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    I've got 10 yrs on, and let me tell you, I am having a ball. We have some favoritism (sorry I am sure I butchered the spelling), politics, good ol boy crap. I have been all over the U.S. on training gigs. Let me tell you bro, it happens everywere. We were talking to some guys from AZ and CA in a school in Nashville a while back. Man they were giving us the low down about their dept, and we all started busting out laughing. It was like they had only changed the names of the brass, but the problems are the same. You have got to make the call on this one. This is a family thing between you and yours. Some depts have lats, but you may still have to do an academy. I tell you, if I had some training Officer screaming at me after 10 yrs on the road, I may tell him some things we would both regret. Our last Chief was no good, the one we have now is Great. He has his quirks, heck we all do. But the new Chief may be great. If you think your guy is on the way out, stick around, give the new guy a shot. You've got 10 yrs in. You know how things work. Lay low, do your job, and wait it out a while. I have been through a change in admin, it may be a good thing, it was for us. If it is a money thing, then get out. If it is truely about the calling of being a Cop. A Cop, not a guard somewhere, our an armed transporter, but a COP. Then stay on till the brass changes. And for all of the guys that are in DOJ. God bless you, I have many friends who do your job, and Lord knows I couldnt do it. Dont be mad. It is my opinion, and thats all. Be careful, J-Bo

  8. #8
    OTJ for awhile now.
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    It is your life and you only get to do it once....... happy is good ... but remember the analogy about the "grass being greener".

  9. #9
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    I have experience in changing departments. I went from a wide open busy city department where it was like the wild wild west at a fast pace and it wasn't even the work that burned me out but the way the brass treated their officers. They cared more about their state police reject over 100k police cars then they did their officers on the street but if the leadership there would have been better I never would have left. The only thing bad about a city where crime is bad is that the city council is made up of some of the same apathetic thugs that make up the very thugs you arrest so many times they are not really pro police and dont look at the police as a benefit but a organization they want to control and limit and it rolls down hill. The county I work in now isn't much different in that the Chief answers to a Political County board but it is a much better situation as far as overall stress and you get paid more for doing less but there are other stress' that didn't exist in the city PD i worked for that are just "different". The bottomline is there is always going to be stress in this line of work not only from the actual dangers of the job itself but the bullhockey of our rolls mixing with the politicans. Sure we all have to be accountable in our line of work, it's just we have to answer to way too many people and the problem is these people we answer to know nothing about L.E. I don't see it ever changing, heck even our US Military during war has to undergo investigations by the liberal antiwar Senate about the ways they do their jobs when they are not busy investigation the Major League Baseball all-stars over steroids. I don't see it changing much in my lifetime. If you are truely stressed for the reasons you listed going to another department might help a little but there will always be things that stress you in this line of work from the job to those you answer to so you might want to get out of it altogether if it's an extreme issue for you because family matters more than anything and no matter how good an officer you are the truth of the matter is you will never feel appreciated and no matter how many good things you do if you make one mistake in this job all the good you have ever done will be ignored and you will be second guessed by many to include the very officers you work with day in and day out.
    "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

  10. #10
    Lather it like its stolen
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    Just think of ALLLLL the people who would love to be in your position that cant even get their foot in the door. Just something to think about....
    I have always wanted to be a a state trooper and only ever considered two agencies but never applied. FHP and MSP. So sometimes I do wonder "what if I could turn back the hands of time"? I have 10 years on also, and while I would Loooooove to have free reign in the state of Florida or Maryland, I have no real deep issues with my current dept. Yea it could be better, but it could also be a whole lot worse. Good luck in whatever you decide.

  11. #11
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    BTDT. Went to another agency and retired after 23 years. Wasn't a perfect agency(Where's that?), but it was the best move I ever made. Good luck!!

  12. #12
    perspicacious pedagogue
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    I made the move twice. Once to get away from a corrupt city run by criminals, and once to relocate out of the greater LA area. If and when you make your move, just make certain it's for all the "right" reasons.
    "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought" ~Henri Louis Bergson
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  13. #13
    Gone and Forgotten
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    Does the "perfect" police agency exsist...of course not. I retired with 25 years service and I can honestly say, I wish I left after 10 years. Everyone's situation is obviously different. My kids were young, a new house/car payment, etc. But, did I like getting dressed and going to work, NO. In fact, we had a saying on my department, the "bad guys aren't out on the street, they are in headquarters". Seems the lack of supervision went down the drain when they took their balls away and gave them a gold badge. That of course was the start of problems for the department, then city hall, outside 'anti-police' groups, federal investigations, federal court decisions, hiring standards were lowered, lack of equipment, etc. The logical answer from someone miles away is make a lateral move and blow that pop stand. Life is short. Police work (as you know) is dangerous, it requires ones full attention and dedication. I knew I no longer wanted to wear the uniform and represent the chief and the city. It just took me too long. Best of luck on this most important decision of your career.
    The views/opinions expressed here are solely mine. I'm retired and I don't care. I truly do not want to offend anyone, but if you are thin skinned and have no sense of humor, you better find another line of work. Therefore, I don't have to be politically correct and I will exercise my freedom of speech, until it's taken away. May God bless all retirees. We've done our duty and earned our peace.

  14. #14
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    I kind of hit a burn out point after 8 years on patrol. The job just got repetitive and it felt like Ground Hog day every time I woke up. I applied for Narcotics and I must say that it's an entire different world over here. We are away from HQ. There are 8 people in my unit and we have a great working relationship. This is from our Lt on down. I must say for the most part our admin leaves us alone to do our jobs. Have you looked into cross training into a different job within your Dept? Maybe this could recharge your battery so to speak. I know it did mine. Good luck to ya!
    Last edited by Texas_Narc; 03-21-2008 at 01:57 PM. Reason: update

  15. #15
    IMachU
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    Your situation is shared by people from every agency out there. The grass is not always greener. In my case, we have no grass, so I can't compare it to anyone else, but you get the point...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas_Narc View Post
    I kind of hit a burn out point after 8 years on patrol. The job just got repetitive and it felt like Ground Hog day every time I woke up. I applied for Narcotics and I must say that it's an entire different world over here. We are away from HQ. There are 8 people in my unit and we have a great working relationship. This is from our Lt on down. I must say for the most part our admin leaves us alone to do our jobs. Have you looked into cross training into a different job within your Dept? Maybe this could recharge your battery so to speak. I know it did mine. Good luck to ya!

    I did exactly what you just did, and I was at 7 years. I was so sick of dealing with the family trouble runs, the ghetto baby's daddy domestic violences that never prosecute in court, and the microscope we worked under in patrol. There was no challenge. I knew how to handle 99% of the radio runs, I could spot a hand to hand, arrest or chase the guy, new most every a-hole on my beat, and find a felony drug arrest and do it at any given moment. I was FTO'ing for the last three years which gave me a new breath of fresh air for a bit as there isn't a more important job in an agency. But I didn't get excited over pursuits, I was angry when a bad guy would run, and really only enjoyed hanging out with my partner and picking a new crime to focus on that most patrol officers would take the report for and forward it to an investigator (usually something our supervisors would ask why we were spending so much time one).

    So I went to a small Violent Crimes Squad (6 guys and a Sgt), that works the spectrum of crimes but it all revolves around 90% dope work. One of my FTO's brought me on board, and it has let me enjoy coming to work again! Investigative freedom is a HUGE factor you don't have in patrol. The administration appreciates the work we do, we aren't micro managed, and we all work well together.

    Before you leave your agency, see if there is a new niche for you. It may be the perfect solution.
    "Any comments from the above user reflect only the opinions of him, and not that of any police department....namely mine!!!!"

    Blaming guns for violence is like blaming spoons for Rosie O'Donnell being fat

  17. #17
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    Do we work for the same agency?

    I don't personally have that list of complaints with my agency, but I know that MANY of my counterparts here feel the same way. However, I think that it's not so severe for me because I have worked at another agency and realize that (to an extent) it's the same everywhere. It's the same dance everywhere you go, just the song might vary. Granted, I have only been there three years and I haven't seen the "decline" that many others refer to because I don't know how it was under the previous chief.

    What it boils down to with me personally is that 1) I made Investigator and I can't transfer to another agency and keep that 2) the money is more than I'd make unless I moved and I'm not moving half way across the state. 3) I hear what others are saying (their gripes) and it's NOT that some aren't justified, but I also realize that some of their issues they brought on themselves. That's JMHO, about what MY place is like and I'm not inferring by any stretch of the imagination that it's like that for you...merely stating what I see around here.

    We have some moral issues going on and I don't know how they plan on changing that...we've lost quite a few "rookies" but IMHO, that's the way it is. Some get in and realize it's not for them. Some come in and do a couple of years, just to move on because they ultimately wanted a Trooper position, or Wildlife, or ALE, etc...this was only a stepping stone for them...and that's okay, too.

    The only person that can make the decision is you and I wish you luck with that.


    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

  18. #18
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    I've gone back and read the responses. Perhaps it's that 7-9 year mark that we start to burn out at? I was the same...I agree with CinciCobra..making Investigations gave me that...what's the word...that drive again. Command got off my butt, I'm allowed to work without constantly stopping to deal with calls for service...I don't know. Perhaps it's because it was that fresh breathe of air I needed, that it revived me and reminded me of why I love the job. I certainly have MORE job satisfaction now. Since I'm taking cases from beginning to the very end, I get to form bonds with my victims...they aren't merely a number. I put a lot of time and energy into making a case...it feels good. Again, there's issues to being an Investigator that grate on my nerves, but it's going to be there no matter where you go.


    I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

  19. #19
    Cynical curmudgeon
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    It was about 7 years for me too. Left a huge agency on the east coast for the biggest in the state on the west coast. After 9 years here, considered leaving again.

    The bottom line is this - there is no perfect agency, but you have to enjoy your job. The market for laterals is great right now, just do your research, talk to the street cops, not just recruiters. Make sure that what you are giving up in seniority is worth what you are getting.

    Good luck, you are definitely not alone.
    "We're not in this business for the money. We're not in it for the excitement, and moments like this. Duty, honor, country, service, truth, and justice are good. But you can do that from behind a desk. In the end, you carry a gun and shield out into the field for the sole purpose of confronting the bad guys. The enemy. There is no other reason to be on the front lines." ~Nelson Demille

    If your story involves Peanut Butter and an animal - give up now!

  20. #20
    L-1
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    Quote Originally Posted by exComptonCop View Post
    I made the move twice. Once to get away from a corrupt city run by criminals.
    Dude, where is your empathy and compassion? They weren't corrupt. They were just morally disenfranchised.

  21. #21
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    Thanks a lot

    Thanks for all the replies. Some very good points were made here. After reading everyone, I will concentrate on making things better at work for me. I recently read an article talking about job satisfaction and gratification. The author said to list everything you liked about your job, then concentrate on those qualities. Not sure if that works, but now that I don't feel alone on this, maybe I'll give it a try.

    Thanks again for the responses, really gives me some good perspective on potentially going forward with a transfer or not.....

  22. #22
    Frank Booth
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    At about 15 years, you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. At about 18, you realize it's on the front end of a locomotive.

  23. #23
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    Ha, your dept sounds like mine. My attitude is change it from within one day at a time and by subversion if necessary. Keep your head low but your knife sharp. To keep sane I live by Lau-Tzu: "The master expects nothing and is therefore never disappointed"

  24. #24
    perspicacious pedagogue
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    Quote Originally Posted by L-1 View Post
    Dude, where is your empathy and compassion? They weren't corrupt. They were just morally disenfranchised.


    During a PM briefing long ago, the on duty Watch Commando told us we probably wouldn't be receiving paychecks for a while, because some of the "morally disenfranchised" City Fathers had embezzled the contents of the City's general fund.

    Thank you L-1 for showing me the error of my ways.
    "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought" ~Henri Louis Bergson
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  25. #25
    Cynical curmudgeon
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    Not to get all warm and fuzzy, but.....

    Consider getting this book

    http://www.amazon.com/Emotional-Surv.../dp/0971725403

    When I was in your boat, it was recommended to me. I read it, took some things from it and some didn't apply. The guy who wrote it was a lifetime cop in AZ, he knows where you're coming from.

    Just an option.
    "We're not in this business for the money. We're not in it for the excitement, and moments like this. Duty, honor, country, service, truth, and justice are good. But you can do that from behind a desk. In the end, you carry a gun and shield out into the field for the sole purpose of confronting the bad guys. The enemy. There is no other reason to be on the front lines." ~Nelson Demille

    If your story involves Peanut Butter and an animal - give up now!

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