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Question about LE Pilot Jobs


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I was just curious how the "equal employment opportunity" stuff plays into law enforcement pilot jobs? For example, when a LE agency post a pilot position on the web or elsewhere, are they generally just fulfilling the city or county obligation of being an EEO employer? It seems rare to find an LE agency that is hiring from the outside to begin with. So does the agency generally have someone in mind for the pilot job already i.e. current employee, friend, etc, or do they actually intend on hiring a outsider? This comes to mind when you discover that a city or county only places an ad for a pilot position on their city or county HR web site. It seems that if they were serious about hiring a pilot they would advertise on all the popular websites in order to get a broad range of applicants. Just curious about all of this and looking for a little info. or opinions. Thanks.

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I was just curious how the "equal employment opportunity" stuff plays into law enforcement pilot jobs? For example, when a LE agency post a pilot position on the web or elsewhere, are they generally just fulfilling the city or county obligation of being an EEO employer? It seems rare to find an LE agency that is hiring from the outside to begin with. So does the agency generally have someone in mind for the pilot job already i.e. current employee, friend, etc, or do they actually intend on hiring a outsider? This comes to mind when you discover that a city or county only places an ad for a pilot position on their city or county HR web site. It seems that if they were serious about hiring a pilot they would advertise on all the popular websites in order to get a broad range of applicants. Just curious about all of this and looking for a little info. or opinions. Thanks.

 

From what I've seen around, yes they are equal opportunity employers, IF you go through their basic police training program. They tend to hire within the ranks just because it helps if the pilot has some idea about what the police are talking about on the radios, as well as their procedures. This is just what I remember seeing before, but I'm sure this is not always the case. Once again, I'm not sure on anything I've said, but it's just information I remember seeing somewhere posted around by other users. Maybe someone else would be kind enough to shed some light onto this topic.

 

Good luck finding the information you need,

- Robert

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Let me clarify my question. I know that LE agencies are equal employment opportunity employers and all the other things that go along with a government agency. However, are city or county HR departments legally required to place an ad for a job opening (i.e. pilots) even if the air unit already has someone in mind for the position, who already works within the department or elsewhere?

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Let me clarify my question. I know that LE agencies are equal employment opportunity employers and all the other things that go along with a government agency. However, are city or county HR departments legally required to place an ad for a job opening (i.e. pilots) even if the air unit already has someone in mind for the position, who already works within the department or elsewhere?

 

Legally HR cannot already have someone in mind. They must post the job, accept all qualified applications, and forward all that to the person(s) making the decision. For instance, I'm not a helo pilot yet, but a air traffic controller. When I applied for my current position I had a friend already working there who was able to get me in to tour the facility and meet the supervisors. I had to go through the whole process application, interview, background not knowing how they felt about me, nor would they say anything to my friend. Another thing is just because they are a equal opportunity employer means you still have to qualify for the job. EEO just tells you you won't be discriminated against because of gender, race, national origin... Hope this helps

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I am assigned to Air Support in my department. Departments will usually only recruit from the outside when they have no qualified people within the department to fill the slot. Primarily because of the cost. Being in aviation is a "special assignment" within the department. In many departments, it is not a separate job that an outsider can apply for. You are still a deputy or officer, and being in aviation is at the will of the department, you can be reassigned for a number of reasons. It is no different than recruiting for SWAT members or motor cycle officers. Like I said before, there are departments that for many reasons, decide to recruit from outside their department, but it is usually because they need to fill a slot, and don't have anyone to step in soon enough. Lets be honest here also, when they put out a flier, they (the unit)probably have people in mind. Officers from other Depts they've worked with, etc. Im sure the current pilots are encouraging people they know to apply as well. Then again, in some cases, they may not have anyone in mind. Now if the department is recruiting for outside pilots, they have to follow the laws that are in place, but dont be naive about how the world works. As with my department, special assignments are posted on the county web site, but when you read the flier, it states you must be a current member of the department. But not to beat a dead horse, but rarely is a department going to hire someone they have never met to be a pilot. Usually recruiting from the outside is not a decision of the unit, its a county management decision, and the department/unit probably isn't to happy about it.

 

Within LE, being selected for a special assignment, ESPECIALLY aviation, is based on merit, qualifications and experience in being an officer/deputy (in a perfect world) and in some assignments, like SWAT, Aviation, EOD, you may go through a "round table" where the people on the team basically sit around and talk about you and current members have the chance to black marble you for any reason. My SWAT unit did this at every selection, and so did Air Support. It may sound harsh as an outsider, but it is a VERY important safeguard. Just because your qualified, doesn't mean you will fit. People may have personal or professional issues with you that cannot be present in that environment. And if they made it on the team before you...to bad. This is a career where people carry guns a wear body armor, and people die. I could not imagine being in the cockpit with someone who had never worked the street, or I had problems with. If those issues develop later, if it gets out of control, people can and have been reassigned. In every special assignment announcement there will be something that states something to the effect of "All assignments are ultimately made at the descretion and needs of the Sheriff/Chief"

It is not just flying to an intersections and turning circles over a house. It is DEFINITELY a team effort.

 

Some advice.......

1. If you are already an officer who gets assigned, you know your at the descretion of the department anyway.

 

2....If you are a civilian who gets hired to be a pilot and the "Only" requirement is to attend an academy, watch out....WHEN YOU GRADUATE you are a sworn XXXX City Police Officer now.....and unless it is in your contract that you cannot be reassigned, watch out....You make the wrong person mad, or don't cut it...you could find yourself "reassigned" to patrol and in street training program pushing a black and white. It happens.

 

3. If you are a civilian, you are probably safe, since you have no police training, they cant send you to patrol and your treated like any other civilian on the dept who is let go.

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We are required to post the opening, but one of the requirements is you have to be a full-time police officer within the department (amongst the other flying requirements). Anyone that is serious about the flying position has to go through the academy, a 16 week field training program, and complete a one year probationary period. After that you are eligible to be CONSIDERED for the position. Some pretty major hurdles to get over to get the position... As Flying Pig mentioned you then are fully eligible to get moved back to a squad car handling calls for service on the street. That is not likely to happen unless one of two things happens: (1) The department dissolves the aviation unit. (2) You step on a private part of your anatomy and get a disciplinary transfer. I am not aware of a disciplinary transfer from our agency, they have a minimum of $10,000.00 into their pilots by the time they complete the Bell factory school and the department doesn't want to have to spend that money on another trainee.

 

The liability issue of losing the aviation unit and having none to assist with pursuits (mainly) and other calls for service is making it more and more difficult for agencies to dissolve their aviation units (not that it can't be done). So we have very good job security. In a worse case scenario the unit is folded and you go back to answering calls for service. I had fun doing that for 8 years and could do it again. In either case I have a good pension and a job and am not getting transfered all over the country or world. Makes it a great job for the family as well.

 

The agencies invest a great deal of time and money in their pilot candidates. The street officer requirements ensure the candidates know the job of the people they are there to support. It also demonstrates a level of committment that shows the candidate is likely to stay at the job rather than use the position to gain experience and then move on to other things.

 

If you are interested in a Law Enforcement flying position and can't find one that hires civilian pilots I would find an agency that has a good aviation unit and get hired as a officer/deputy/trooper. Plan on spending between 1-5 years on the road before you get a chance at the aviation unit.

 

If you are not interested in a position, but are just asking why the agencies post publicly for an internal position, there are civil service requirements and CALEA standards (accreditation) that have to be met for most everything that agencies do. Seems kind of silly, but don't forget---it is the government...

Edited by Heloplt
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