Our profession has numerous openings across the country that cannot be filled due to a lack of qualified candidates. The profession is actively looking for citizens from all walks of life to be a part of our team. We need you….
My name is Casey Bokavich. I am a sergeant with the Redding Police Department. I have been in law enforcement for 26 years. My current assignment is the “Administrative Sergeant”. In essence the administrative sergeant deals with the “business” side of our operation. I am responsible for hiring, equipment, training and a whole host of other duties.
2. What types of qualities are important for this career choice? (What do employers look for? Tips to help them get hired)
We are looking for a who has demonstrated a track record of the following character traits and work habits. The information below is right out of the background investigation manual.
. MORAL CHARACTER
• Protection of Confidential Information
2. Impulse Control/Attention to Safety
• Safe Driving Practices
• Attention to Safety
• Impulse/Anger Control
3. Substance Abuse and Other Risk-Taking Behavior
HANDLING STRESS AND ADVERSITY
4. Stress Tolerance
• Positive Attitude and Even Temper
• Stress Tolerance and Recovery
• Accepting Responsibility for Mistakes
5. Confronting and Overcoming Problems, Obstacles, and Adversity
• Personal Accountability and Responsibility
• Safeguarding and Maintaining Property, Equipment, and Belongings
• Orderliness, Thoroughness, and Attention to Detail
• Initiative and Drive
• General Conscientiousness
INTERACTIONS WITH OTHERS
7. Interpersonal Skills
• Social Sensitivity
• Social Interest and Concern
• Social Self-Confidence/Persuasiveness
8. Decision-Making and Judgment
• Situation/Problem Analysis
• Adherence to Policies and Regulations
• Response Appropriateness
• Response Assessment
9. Learning Ability
10. Communication Skills
• Oral Communication
• Written Communication
3. What is a typical day or week in your position like? What exactly do you do?
I have to start by stating my position is not what people aspire to do when entering law enforcement. My position is job within the department. One has to have obtained a large amount experience in various positions and rank in order to effectively perform in the admin sergeant role. I believe what is best is to describe a typical day of a police officer and that is not an easy answer. There is no telling what an officer will handle on any given day. Officers are charged with enforcing the laws of our state with the goal at improving the quality of life for all of our citizens. They handle calls for service from the community that can range from a barking dog complaint to a robbery call. It is that varied workload which makes the job so appealing to those that do it. Officers need to be able to work independently without direct immediate supervision due to the nature of our deployment from a centralized location (police station) to a beat.
4. What areas of study would you suggest for kids interested in your field? What path would you suggest?
This is a loaded question. Many departments require some level of college before one can apply. What we are finding in our profession is that many people do not have the basic writing skills needed to perform the job. Officers must be able to author accurate and detailed reports when investigating crimes. Many people choose to obtain a degree in criminal justice. I personally believe this is good, but not required. I would recommend that a person obtain a degree prior to entering law enforcement that will provide that an alternate skill set to prepare for another career should they discover law enforcement is not the career for them or if the get hurt and can no longer do the job. A four year degree is best if that is an option. Many departments provide a financial benefit for those that have degrees. Furthermore, if a peson chooses to promote, many departments require a four year degree.
Many young people may not have the opportunity to go to college due to family finances. In that case, I would recommend a young person to have a look at the military. That way a person can obtain a great deal of life experience and take college courses with the community colleges of the different services. A person will also earn a G.I. bill which could be used to go to college for say a business degree or find their attendance at a police academy at a community college.
5. What is one piece of advice you would give to someone interested in your field?
Make good decisions in your life EARLY. Mistakes or criminal violations committed early in life may preclude a person from being considered for employment during the background investigation process. This includes driving, theft, use of drugs…..it all gets looked at when we are selecting a person.
6.What is one myth buster you would like to share about your field?
Our profession can be very fun. There is nothing like it.
7.Did you take a linear path to get here? If not, what were some pivotal points that changed your direction? (setbacks, sacrifices, advice you received, life changes, realizations)
I did not set out to be a police officer. I wanted to be a Marine Corps pilot but due to having a asthma, I could not do that. I looked around a decided on law enforcement because it appeared to be a close to the military.
8. What personal qualities have helped you succeed in your career?
Work ethic and being able to talk with anyone, anywhere.
9. What do you most enjoy about your career?
I have been able to do a lot of different assignment’s. It has been exciting at times and I believe I have had a positive impact on my community.
10. What kind of work experience as a student would be the most beneficial for this career?
We look at work history. Does a person give more than is expected? Would the person be re-hired by a former employer? Any time a person can obtain prior experience where they can work independently and assume leadership roles is helpful. Do they show up on time? Can the person be trusted? Does the applicant do the right thing when no one is looking? Just remember that unlike other professions, we do an extensive background investigation to ascertain the if a person should be hired. From that point there is an extensive training and probationary period.
11. What education or training is required, if any, to reach your position?
In order to become a sergeant one must have been a successful police officer. From there a person would then move to a specialty assignment such as investigations or traffic. Advanced degrees are not required but desirable. Roughly 35% our department have master’s degrees.
12. If you weren’t in this career field, what other career would you be interested in? and why?
I have no idea. If would have to be something where I could work independently in an ever changing environment.
If there is anything else that you would like to add about you or your career for our LaunchPad readers, please do so here: (community involvement, advice, suggestions, etc.)
At the Redding Police Department we have what is called an “Explorer Post” which is a program from high school age people to learn more about law enforcement. Our Explorers are utilized at all of the city’s special events to assist with traffic control and other duties. The program is an excellent educational opportunity for any young person wishing to see if law enforcement is something they would like to do. More information about the Explorer Post can be had on the RPD website.
For college age young people we have a cadet program. This is a paid part time, non-benefitted position. Cadets work part time at the department doing a variety of support functions. Cadets are not used for any enforcement functions. This is a great way to gain experience at a police department. The department interviews for the position about once a year. Interested individuals should go to the city’s website and complete an electronic interest card for the position.
Find out more about Casey Bokavich: Force Options Training by Sergeant Casey Bokavich