We asked our Facebook fans what advice they would give to a graduating high school student who told them they wanted to become a cop. After sifting through the countless "Just don't." and "Become a firefighter instead." responses, we selected our top 10 pieces of advice.
Tell us your favorites or add your own advice in the comments section below.
Delete your Facebook, stay out of bars until you're 21, don't break the law, don't piss off your girlfriend, get good grades, learn a trade in case you get hurt, don't get into ANY fights, don't get any tattoos below the shirt sleeve, research where you want to work, take tests, and joining the military always helps. It's just that easy. - Erik Johanson
If you want to be a cop because you saw it on TV and you think it’s "sexy" then NO. Go to college and become a lawyer. If you want to work long hours and face people that despise you and what you represent and risk your life for strangers and every action you take will be scrutinized because you wear that badge and after all this you still wanna be a cop, then welcome to the front row seating of the greatest show on earth kid! I highly recommend a 2 or 3 year hitch in the military first and for God sakes get a college degree in something other than Criminal Justice!!!! something like education or science like forensics. and have a real sick sense of humor you’re gonna need it! - Daniel Polonis
Become a Police Explorer, do some ride-alongs, get police training now to see if that is something you really want to do. Some agencies use the Explorers as their hiring pool. - Harris County Sheriff's Office Explorer Post 42
Be first and foremost a believer in yourself and your capabilities. Commit 110% to your training, your health, your ability to stay honest and to make hard choices. Value people; you can learn something from everyone. The day you don't is the day you are not paying attention. Learn to write well because your reports will be read and scrutinized every day. Being an officer comes with a lot of painful experiences and you will question humanity; be prepared to talk with your loved ones and to laugh with your fellow officers - they are your family and will get you through the tough days and enhance all the good ones. Be ethical. Always. - Wendi Blaha
Go to college, never stop learning, remain open-minded, politically independent, and remember you serve the people, not the politicians. - Seth Hall
"Take at least five years to grow up after high school, get life experience, travel, volunteer...enjoy time to do what you want to do...you'll have the rest of your life to be a cop." - Cathy Mealey Arcega
Go to college and study something Other than Criminal Justice! You will have a back-up plan and chiefs love a candidate that's different from the rest! - Jennifer Flint
Realize this profession is a commitment, it’s not a 9-5 job. You have to commit to do it right and you have to have a husband/wife that commits to that life also. - Jeff Daugherty
Join an explorer group, volunteer or do ride-alongs. Have a full understanding what you are getting into. Is sitting in your patrol unit writing reports for hours sound like fun (did you know you have to be able to write to be a cop?) .I can go on and on about all the things that they don't show in the movies or on TV. Take the time to discover what the job involves. Then follow your dream. - Karen Barrong
LISTEN to your FTO and do what they tell you! After all they have been there for years and want to keep you safe and make sure you do everything right! LISTEN! TAKE NOTES! It could very well save your life. - Dave Lovell