How to pick a Military Branch or Police Agency to join?

I saw an officer from the California Highway Patrol at lunch and I wondered what made him pick CHP (State Police) over county Sheriff or city Police? Also, what leads people to pick one military branch over another? Just curious.

I’m not a military or law enforcement kinda guy, but I did entertain the notion of ROTC when I was 17 or so. If I had done that, I thought at the time that I would have picked Army. My uninformed rationale was that Army just seemed more “hands on” and “in the field” than Navy and Air Force. Also, I wasn’t very “Gung-Ho” and I didn’t want to be the first in line to die, like Marines.

I never seriously consdiered law enforcement, but if I did, I think I would have tried out for CHP. I’m not sure why. It just seems more prestigious than local law enforcement, I guess.

Personnel experience:
I was 18 and had been thinking about joining the military for a few months.
I was going full time to **Brookdale Community College ** and holding down 2 part times jobs for another 30+ hours a week.
I was due to go to a Friday morning 7am Calc class and I was hung-over from a farewell party for one of my friends.
I decided to go to the nice quiet library instead.
They were closed, so I drove to the **Hobby Masters ** in Red Bank, they were closed.
The Parking lot was near the Recruiters office so I decided to go talk to the Air **Force ** recruiter. His door had a sign 9am to 3pm. Darn It was only 8am.
The Navy shared the office and a chief came running out and started talking to me.

So I joined the **Navy ** because the Hobby shop was closed and I was too stupid to realize the very fact the **Air Force ** didn’t come in til 9am and the **Navy ** was there since 6am should have made my decision for me.

Well, as far as law enforcement goes there can be a lot of difference between local forces. A friend of mine was applying, and it seems that here the city pays the best, one county doesn’t pay as well but you get the car, and the other county pays even less but he lived over there (as did lots and lots of people), so that was a draw as well. Obviously the benefits like that affect the competition, and it depends on what was most important to you - salary, company car, or closeness to work.

My brother chose the Army. He wasn’t physically qualified for the Marine Corps and too claustrophobic to be in the Navy. Not sure why he ruled out the Air Force.

If you’re looking for “hands on” and “in the field,” do a search for air force pararescue and combat control, or gunner in AFSOC helicopters. Even our security forces are spending a lot of time in the weeds these days. If you’re looking for enlisted flying opportunities, AF tanker boom operators get a lot of responsibility early, with a decent bonus and also flight pay. Most of the booms I worked with deployed enough for at least 8 months of not having to pay federal income tax, which now can help qualify you for earned income credit too. IMHO, the most negative factor for the air force is lack of meaningful leadership traditions like the navy, army and marines have. For the military in general, your plusses are GI Bill and tuition assistance.

I chose the Army. My dad and most of my uncles had been in the Army, so I imagine that had something to do with it. I thought about the other branches too though. I seriously considered the Navy, but started to think about being on a ship at sea. I imagined, I would eventually get a sea-going version of cabin fever. I rejected the Marines outright, as I saw them as being way too hardcore. For some reason, I never really considered the Air Force, even though I have nothing against them.

Just to clarify… I’m not looking to join. I’m just wondering about the thought process of those who are or were in a position to sign up for military or law enforcement duty.

Well, my son, Kid2U, has the following law enforcement career mapped out. I’ll tell you his reasoning why after.

HS Graduation - join Navy.
Post Navy - college.
College - study law, accounting.
Post college - FBI.

He’s picked the Navy because it is a long standing tradition among the men in my family. My husband’s father was in the air force, but my son wants to join the navy. In any event, he eventually wants to go with either the FBI or the Secret Service. His goals have multiplied since the days when all he wanted to be was a policeman… :slight_smile: I have no idea how realistic his expectations/plans are - he has a guidance counselor for that. :slight_smile:

Very long story short - I tried to enlist in the Air Force during Desert Shield, but they wouldn’t accept me. Nor would the Army, Navy and Marines. I had a GED, and at the time, you needed 15 credit hours of college with a GED to enlist. I didn’t know the Coast Guard was a military that one could enlist into, but having seen the number listed under “recruiters” in the phone book, I called them - hey, why not. Sure enough, they accepted me. Up until that point, my only experience with the Coast Guard was occasionally seeing the helicopters flying over Lake Michigan. I figured they were some type of federal lifeguards with helos or something. Imagine my surprise when I learned they had ships - big ships that sailed all over the world. (certainly not big by Navy standards, but still…)

15 years later I’m still in, and very happy I ended up where I did.

But the AF would have been cool - they have much cooler toys.