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Any Maryland State Police Pilots out there?


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#1 AFstepchild

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 12:54

I'm and active duty mil guy with a little over a year left on my commitment and have begun researching my options for future employment. The Maryland State Police seems to be one of the very few professional law enforcement aviation departments that does not require time as a patrol officer in order to be considered for pilot service...and I'm very interested in the organization.

Are there any current or former MSP guys out there that could shed some light on what its like to work there? Pros/cons, organizational structure, training, evaluations, etc...or just any information in general would be very helpful and appreciated. Thanks!
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#2 Flying Pig

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Posted 20 January 2013 - 18:42

There are actually several that hire civilians and either keep them as civilians, or send them to an academy to make them cops. Its just a matter of when/if they are hiring at the same time you are looking. They are transitioning to AW139's.
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#3 OH58A

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 14:29

Fort Worth, TX., Arizona DPS, Sonoma Co Sheriff, MSP, Fairfax Co Police (VA.) Nashville Metro Police. For the most part, agencies use civilians because the pay/benefit package is LESS than sworn. If you have no police background, the politics and bureocracy may be more than you can deal with. Make no mistake, regardless of training, mil experience etc., the cops will be running the show.

#4 Spike

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 20:52

Fort Worth, TX., Arizona DPS, Sonoma Co Sheriff, MSP, Fairfax Co Police (VA.) Nashville Metro Police. For the most part, agencies use civilians because the pay/benefit package is LESS than sworn. If you have no police background, the politics and bureocracy may be more than you can deal with. Make no mistake, regardless of training, mil experience etc., the cops will be running the show.


Maybe……

As a former civilian LE pilot, the Department I worked for considered its pilots as “aviation experts” and completely entrusted us with all aspects regarding the operation of the aircraft. Plus, since the Department was considered a “customer”, they insulated us from the Departmental internal politics. Simply put, when we wanted something, we got it. No questions…

BTW, Sonoma County pilots are civilians but they are county employees….

#5 ospreydriver

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 22:16

As a soon-to-be 20 year military guy who would need a waiver to work for Fed LE, I'm very interested in this. MSP seems to be the biggest LE agency with civilian pilots. Where are their big duty stations and what are their shifts like? 7/7, rotating? Any gouge appreciated. 


"Why can't we buy just one airplane and let the pilots take turns flying it?"--President Calvin Coolidge


#6 OH58A

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 14:26

I have a good friend who works there, they are transitioning to the AW139 which will be a 2 pilot AC. I don't know what the current pay is but the last pay scale I was aware of it was quite low for the experience they wanted and the COL in MD. MSP has bases in Baltimore, Salisbury, Frederick, Wheaton and Andrews AFB to name a few. LOTS OF POLITICS AT THIS ONE!



#7 ospreydriver

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Posted 18 November 2013 - 22:25

With my military retirement added, I think I could deal with bad pay if the job was right.  This makes me more curious about the job.  By "politics," do you mean you have to know someone to get in, that there's a bunch of "Office Space"-type BS on the job, or both?


"Why can't we buy just one airplane and let the pilots take turns flying it?"--President Calvin Coolidge


#8 OH58A

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:10

Primarily the "office space" variety, there has been quite a bit of drama regarding the 139s, cost, training, going to a 4 person crew etc. The fatal crash involving the Dauphin based at Andrews AFB a few years ago brought a lot of issues to the publics attention as well, all this can be found online. Being retired myself, I can appreciate the pension boosting whatever the pay is at the job you seek, however, an emplyer should pay you for being an experienced professional flying a multi million $ aircraft and not consider what you make in your pension. I was once offered a job and the hiring manager said " I know the pay is low, but with your pension it's the same as if we were paying you X$". Seriously!



#9 Flying Pig

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:48

Also, LE agencies are can be notorious for low balling if they provide you with training.  I know thats probably life in general..... but this is the LE Aviation forum....   They pay scale is in a range obviously.  Expect them to say "Well.....  We know we advertised at $65-$85K but since we are paying for your transition, we will start you at $59K."   My come back to that would be  "OK, so once my transition is done, Ill be fully qualified, so what will my pay be then?"   

 

I dont know anything about the MSP or their aviation unit as far as politics or hiring.  Its always been a neat operation from the outside looking in.  But I cannot imagine flying patrol in an AW139.  If there is a burglary in progress at 7/11, do they actually launch the AW139?  

 

There are agencies all over the US who are doing amazing things with smaller cheaper aircraft.   As a state run EMS operation, Hey, I say go for it on the aspect of needing an IFR twin especially in the NE US.  All they are doing is taking the advice of, and doing what every civilian EMS operator wishes they could do.   I could see having one of two for special missions, but the cost is just mind blowing.  CA Highway Patrol has I think 13 B3s and does EMS and SAR all over the state.  MD has 13 AW139s?  I cant imagine what their yearly aviation budget is.  Its very hard to find LE agencies who actually take aviation seriously.  Obviously the MSP is very serious about their aviation unit, and that is outstanding.  I just hope they dont put themselves out of business.   But I would imagine somebody someone where crunched the numbers and its not like they just got into the business.  

 

Looking at the pay scale, I can easily see it being a revolving transition training provider for guys coming out of the military and after a couple years and some time under their belt, moving on to a 6 figure job somewhere else.   I bet PHI and Era are salivating at the future pool of low paid 139 pilots.  Those guys are making what I make thumping around in a Jet Ranger in Florida.  My take on their pay is that they are counting on guys who are coming out of the military and are looking at it as a post retirement job.  At the mid- $60K-$70K they cant really expect people to stay and make that a career when operators are dangling 6 figures in their face.   The only saving grace is that I think the "Pilot I" category is for SIC.  So maybe when you work up to PIC maybe it gets better?  Thats something to look at.  Maybe the PICs are making $100K I dont know.

 

Dont get me wrong.... Id love to work there.  It seems like a neat operation that I would love to be a part of and its a great mission.  If they called me tomorrow I think Id have to tell the wife to start packing.   I just wonder if, within 5 years those 139s will be yellow with a black stripe down the side.    Im sure Era would love to get their hands on a couple for their SAR operation too. 

 

As far as the politics go, Ive been in the military and worked for 3 LE agencies, 2 of those as a pilot. Some of the worst politics Ive ever dealt with were in small 5-7 man units!  But OH58 is right in the regard that every unit has its own personality and culture.


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#10 Flying Pig

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 10:49

^Wow...that ended up being way longer than I thought :D



#11 CharyouTree

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 12:55

A few things I've discovered in my research, looking into this job myself.

 

Pilot II (PIC) isn't that much more.  There are published pay scales out there, but I can't figure out how often you get a step increase.

 

The aviation unit is funded by a tax/charge on your yearly vehicle registration as a MD resident.  Basically, (unless the cost of the AW is really that much), its budget is already provided for, since they use the aircraft as the state EMS.

 

Of the flying, 75-80% of their flying is EMS, the rest is LE, SAR, and Homeland Security.

 

I'm really hoping for this job, and I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes if I get in.



#12 ospreydriver

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Posted 19 November 2013 - 20:23

I'd love to hear any gouge from you in regard to the hiring process, and hopefully about the job if you get it.

 

I'd love to make good money, but if I have to put in 40+ hours a week somewhere, I'd like it to be doing something cool.  The pension is the difference between having to take a job for the money and being able to take a job that I actually want to do.  If my priority was money, I would've taken my Wharton degree to Wall Street instead of the Marines.  I want to do cool sh*t and make a little bit of a difference somewhere.  My dream jobs are with the feds, and maybe that'll work, but my age will be a factor.  Plus, with the sequestration nonsense perhaps still going on, who knows whether they'll be hiring.

 

I lead a pretty simple life.  If I can have a decent little home and some good flying, I'll consider it a win.  That's why I'm also very curious about the job conditions and politics at MSP.  The military has issues with both of those, and those are the things I hope to leave behind, at least as much as I can, when I go to 1st CivDiv.


"Why can't we buy just one airplane and let the pilots take turns flying it?"--President Calvin Coolidge


#13 Spike

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 21:20

The military has issues with both of those, and those are the things I hope to leave behind, at least as much as I can, when I go to 1st CivDiv.

 

There are politics in every job. However, having worked in the commercial sector and government sector (not military), I’d say the politics in the government sector are almost intolerable….. 



#14 palmfish

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 00:33

Intolerable? Im glad I never worked for your agency!

#15 Flying Pig

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 02:28

I'm gonna have to second Spikes comment.

#16 Spike

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 15:03

Intolerable? Im glad I never worked for your agency!

 

To clarify, I didn’t say it was “my” agency suffering from this.  Maybe it is, maybe it’s not….. However, if you really want to find out, the first round is on you at HeliExpo……..  



#17 palmfish

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Posted 21 November 2013 - 22:14

I'll be there! I need to know which agencies to avoid - I'm too jaded to put up with crap now. ;)



#18 CharyouTree

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 08:07

...I'll take the second!



#19 eddiebauer86

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 08:44

I found the politics/beaurocracy at the local PD level very similiar to the military, but to a lesser degree. Where the military had 10 levels of BS, the PD only has 6.

 

That being said, it also depends on the size of the agency. For example, my agency (1500 sworn) wont allow you to put a light on your pistol without a specific training class only offered to specialized detectives and swat. The agency I worked at previously, (100 sworn) they didnt care what kind of accessories you put on your weapon, uniform accessories ect ect.. as long as it was "professional".

 

On a Federal LE level, you can expect almost the exact same BS as the military. TONS of paperwork and approval from levels above you for some of the most simple tasks. The other side of that coin is the pay and equipment is much better.






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