You are here:

Careers: Police/I am a UK student attending my last year at school and I want to move to the US(specifically New York) to join the police force,


Like I said above I live in the UK and my dream since I was 4 years of age is to become a police officer. However I have no desires to do this in my own country. My dream is to attend a university in New York to study a law enforcement degree and hopefully one day become a detective. I wonder if you have any suggestions to whether this goal I have in mind is realistic. Is there a good enough chance I would be able to attend a university in the US (I have mostly A's and A*'s) and what is the likelyhood of this being able to happen. Like I said I really want to move to the US and live and work there but I have no idea if this is reasonable or not. Unfortunately I am extremely single-minded and, once I have my heart set on something unless there is a very strong argument against it, it is very hard to change my mind.

ANSWER: Holly,

First tell me what is your objection to becoming a police officer in your own country?  

Also what is the attraction of doing this job in the United States?  I sometimes get questions from people who get their ideas from the movies or television.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I can assure you that I don't get this idea from any movie or television show and I don't want to do this in my own country because I would like to go out and explore the world. I also went on a trip to New York when I was the age of 16 and loved it! Also as I want to become a detective, according to some research I followed there is a higher chance of me becoming a detective in the US than here in my own country.

Ok in that case here are your hurdles.

You have to be accepted by a college or university in the United States.  Not difficult.  
Don't be confused by the differences in the word "university" and "college".  There is no difference in the United States.

You DO NOT have to have a degree in law enforcement or anything related to criminal justice.  There are thousands of kids sitting in U.S. classrooms majoring in criminal justice who have no chance of ever being hired by a police department.  Zero chance.  They do not have the aptitude to do police work and don't know that now.

In this country you don't go to college to become a police officer.  Your major could be in biology and it would not matter.

You have to become a United States citizen.  Are you willing to go through the years of paperwork, waiting, etc?  Your choice.

Assuming that you graduate from college, become a citizen, and apply for employment.  I can speak for my department when I say this.  About 1 or 2 out of 100 applicants are eventually hired.  That is 1 or 2%.  I would imagine that the rest of the country is about the same.  Why so low?  Because applicants drop out or are eliminated as the hiring process gets more intense.  They are eliminated because they don't have the aptitude, fail tests, do poorly on oral interviews, are not physically fit, or fail the polygraph exam.

So if you are willing to go through all of this then I would welcome you to our country.

Careers: Police

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jack Toomey


If you are an author I will be happy to help you however I do expect a reasonable donation using the PayPal icon. U.S.: I am an expert in this category for the purpose of giving young people an idea what the hiring process involves for the position of police officer. I am getting a flood of questions from young people who are being influenced by unrealistic television shows. I'd ask you to consider that when you watch police shows on television that they are NOT realistic and most of what you see does not happen in real life. Please do not ask me about potential jail sentences that you, your friends, or family might receive in court. There is no way for me to know that. I am NOT a probation officer so I cannot answer questions about probation and parole matters. I am a retired police officer with 26 years experience.I worked in a variety of assignments including investigations, homicide, sex crimes, runaway investigations, missing persons, and fraud.I also dealt with the general public during that time giving a wide range of advice on matters such as domestic disputes, problem solving, teenage problems, civil/criminal matters, and dealing with the mentally ill. I am available to give sound and reasonable advice which can solve most problems. Please do not ask me to do homework questions or online interviews. Young people should not rely on the Internet for interviews. Local police officers are normally very agreeable to assist students with interviews and surveys.


Worked as a police officer/detective for 26 years.

Graduate of the University of Maryland.B.S. in Law Enforcement.Attended numerous schools and training courses involving investigations, interviewing, interrogations, crime detection, domestic violence, and others. Recognized in court as an expert witness.

Received numerous awards during my police career for expert investigations. Handled the most sensitive and confidential investigations. In 1999 I won an award for my work with high school students while working in my new career in a large suburban high school.

B.S from the University of Maryland.

©2017 All rights reserved.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]