United States
Choosing Your
Career Path
by Barry M. Baker
As a police officer, you’ll be the first and last line of
defense [within] a civil society.  As a soldier, sailor,
airman, or marine in the United States Military,
you’re the first and last line of defense [for] that
civil society.

There’s a segment of American society that
discounts the importance of the American military
on many levels.  The range of opposition goes from
simple disinterest to advocating for the elimination
of any meaningful form of national defense.  This
same segment views and advocates against police
officers in much the same way.

I joined the United States Army in 1967, and I
became a police officer in 1971, so I have a pretty
good frame of reference and understanding of
misguided people based upon a considerable
amount of experience.  If you’re at a point in your
life where you’re thinking about joining a branch of
the military or becoming a police officer, you might
well be counseled against doing either by two
groups of people.  The first group will be family and
friends who care about you, and most opposition
voiced by this group will be done solely out of a
sincere concern for your safety and wellbeing.  The
second group will be comprised of people who have
absolutely no business counseling you about
anything.  The second group views the military and
police only as necessary evils with very little
emphasis placed on “necessary.”
Ever since my youthful military service,
I’ve tried to understand those who have never
served lecture others about the immorality of
military service.  Some things just never change.  
When I joined the army, the Vietnam War was
reaching its zenith, and many young men were
working very hard to avoid being drafted.  While
one can understand the displeasure of those being
required to serve when they didn’t want to serve,
one has to wonder why anyone would object to the
current all volunteer United States military.  The
answer isn’t really that complicated.  Some critics
will never respect or appreciate the service of those
who dedicate their lives to careers that ensure an
environment in which those critics will have the
freedom to criticize.  

The biggest mistake many young people make after
graduation from high school is wasting time
between the ages of 18 to 25.  If you’re lucky
enough to be on your way to college right out of
high school, it’s a good opportunity to acquire what
is becoming, if not already become, the new high
school diploma.  While attending college, one can
take advantage of the various ROTC (Reserve
Officers Training Corps) programs offered on or off

Let’s say you get a Bachelor’s degree in anything
followed by let’s say a three year commitment to
the U.S. Army.  Now… by age 25 you’ve got your
degree, and you currently have the rank of captain.  
It’s now time to make a decision.  Do you continue
a military career, or do you leave the military and
pursue a police career?  The nice thing about this
scenario is that you’ll be qualified for entry level to
any police or other law enforcement agency in the

Okay… that’s an ideal career path; however, for
many reasons it won’t be a reality for many young
people.  For many of you, the cost of a college
education right out of high school won’t be
feasible.  The United States Military has always been
a good option, depending upon ones beliefs’
system and financial position, for those who want
to make the most of their early adult years.  Let me
say right here that military service isn’t going to be
for everyone, and I am biased toward the benefits
of military service.  I’ve never regretted my service,
and I believe that if you’re interested in preparing
yourself for success in anything, three or four years
of military experience will only enhance your
preparation for success.

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Copyright © 2019  Barry M. Baker