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DO A POLICE RIDE ALONG. Many police
departments allow civilian riders. Make sure you tell
the person who approves ride alongs that you are a
police candidate. Though I personally never relished
the thought of taking a civilian rider on patrol (they
were a pain) I did enjoy police candidate riders. You
will often get a FTO (field training officer), who is a
teacher, so ask lots of relevant questions.
Departments often limit the time a civilian can ride,
so take advantage... ride as long as possible. While
I just stated ask questions, be mindful that the
officer is on the job observing, listening to the
radio, and responding to calls. Be respectful of his
duties, which takes priority over your questions.

There will be lulls when the officer is just driving --
that's when your questions will break the silence,
and often be welcomed. Learn everything you can.
If this is your first ride along it can be a real eye
opener, depending on the call load. At the end of
your watch thank the officer for his or her time, and
for answering your questions. If you formed a
rapport with the officer you now have a friend on
the department. He or she may even put in a good
word for you. Not only that, but now you can use
the ride along in the Oral Board. For instance, if
asked a question such as, "What have you done to
prepare yourself for this position?", you can state
(along with other examples) something like, "I did a
ride along with Officer Evans for five hours on a
Friday night. We responded to several calls including
a burglary in progress, a vehicle break in, a prior
sex assault, and a bar fight."

Not only will the board members know you care
enough about the department to complete a ride
along, but I guarantee you'll score extra points with
them. Points that could make a difference!
by George M. Godoy
Police Oral Interview
Preparation
Most Police Oral Boards sit three to five poker faced
individuals comprising of police personnel (police
officers, sergeants, detectives), city management
and possibly human resources professionals. What
occurs next is a dramatic exchange that will change
your life. You want that change to be shooting you
to the top of the eligibility list and hitting the fast
track towards your law enforcement career.

Step one in your preparation is to learn as much as
possible about the Department and City. Start with
the City web site. Get a feel for the community,
news and events, happenings, and City
departments. Get a copy of the City annual report.
The annual report is chock full of information to
include the police budget, crime statistics, calls for
service, arrests made etc. By reading a few pages
you can learn more about the police department
than most of its officers.

Next go to the police web site. The easiest way to
find the police web site is to do a Google or Yahoo
search by entering the city name followed by "police
department". Scour the web site. Go into every
nook and cranny to unfold the department's
mission statement, the police chief's vision,
community policing policy, crime analysis, criminal
investigations, patrol bureau, traffic enforcement,
dispatch center and traffic safety program, to name
a few.

Talk to department members. Pick their brain.
What's a typical day, swing, and graveyard shift
like. What types of calls for service do they
encounter most frequently. Is the city mostly
residential. Are there many businesses, or a
combination of both. How many 'hot spots' such as
7-11's, banks and schools are there. What is the
diversity of the department? Knowing these things,
even some, will give you points of reference when
answering oral board questions.
Sergeant George Godoy (Ret.) is a 22 year police
veteran.  During his police career, Sergeant Godoy
served for 5 years as a police recruitment specialist
where he personally tested over 1,000 potential
police recruits.
Police Exam
Preparation

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