Change Of Career From Law Enforcement To CDL Driver

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Sean H.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey guys. This is my first post here. I was hoping to get some input on a career change from law enforcement to driving commercially.

I have been in law enforcement for about 5 years now. Needless to say, the current climate has been extremely demoralizing. Practices with my agency have changed dramatically and it seems like I can no longer do my job without a supervisor breathing down my neck or question every decision I make. The result is me coming home stressed and in a bad mood everyday.

I have my CDL A already, but have no experience outside of driving for the military. I was drawn to this career path as I do DOT inspections at my local agency as an ancillary duty. I love this aspect of law enforcement and have not had any bad encounters with drivers. I'm fairly well versed on the title 49 regulations and what not. Unfortunately this is an aspect of my job that I can't do regularly as I still have to answer calls for service.

The idea of truck driving sounds very appealing and I have no doubt I would enjoy it. My only concerns are taking a paycut (my base salary is $51,000ish) and being away from family. I am getting married at the end of September and the idea of going away for months at a time right after that doesn't sound all that great to me of my significant other. Money isn't everything for me, but at the same time, I'm not exactly in a position where I could take a paycut.

All in all, I'm tired of the micromanagement and the culture surrounding American law enforcement right now. The idea of changing careers is pretty scary, but being miserable in my current career isn't my much better.

Is there any advice or words of wisdom you guys are able to provide? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Welcome Sean. Thank you for your service. I am retired out of central ca. The climate now is very horrible for all of our men and women in LE.

I got into trucking about 1 yr after my retirement. It has done right by me for sure. The first year you will take a paycut, but after that you should match and exceed. This is tough on a family, but so is LE. After 1 yr you will have many more oppourtunities open up for you as well. Depending on where you live you could try for something like LTL and get home daily. These are just general comments since your first post is a little generic. That first year will fly by. I’m coming up on 7 yrs.

Congrats on your upcoming marriage.

I don’t know what state your in. I know in ca after 3 years out of the business your POST cert expires. That is something I would consider before changing careers.

Keep us posted please as you work through your options and stay safe

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
Sean H.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks for the input! I believe my cert lasts for 5 years. I am certified in KS and MO.

Sorry to be vague, but I truthfully don't know that much about the driving side of the industry. I live in the Kansas City metro area and there doesn't appear to be any shortage when it comes to logistics corporations.

I'm mentally prepared for the first year to be tough, but I don't want to regret leaving law enforcement. I read reviews on trucking companies and see all the horror stories, which is a little off-putting. Of course this can be the case in any profession and I know from experience that the grass isn't always greener.

A good friend of mine who is working for Forward Air Freight suggest I apply to Werner as it is a good place to get my feet wet. I suppose I would like some opinions as far as places to apply goes as well.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you for your service. I'd recommend that you use this link to Apply For Truck Driving Jobs and see who offers you a job. One problem you will likely run into is lack of experience. Some companies will pass due to that, others will want you to go through their schooling (without taking the state test) and others may just require a 40 hour refresher course.

Peter M.'s Comment
member avatar

Best of luck to you.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

I agree, apply everywhere and see who makes you an offer. As said be prepared to go through the cdl class again or at a minimum a refresher.

Once you get a year in you should be able to find a ltl job in your area without any problem. It will be alot easier than the police academy.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier
Andrew W.'s Comment
member avatar

Like you, I work in law enforcement (corrections side) and thinking about a career change. But not willingly. There’s a chance I get laid off come early next year and I’m trying to figure out what I want to do.

I’ve considered trucking as I already have a CDL and experience in driving for my department but it would be a large pay cut for me so I would never make the decision if I don’t get laid off. Time will tell...

Good luck to you.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I agree with PJ, being in that area you will have no shortage of LTL companies, might even be worth a call to see what they have to say. Jobs at LTL companies can upto 120k for linehaul and in the 85k range for top P&D runs.

LTL:

Less Than Truckload

Refers to carriers that make a lot of smaller pickups and deliveries for multiple customers as opposed to hauling one big load of freight for one customer. This type of hauling is normally done by companies with terminals scattered throughout the country where freight is sorted before being moved on to its destination.

LTL carriers include:

  • FedEx Freight
  • Con-way
  • YRC Freight
  • UPS
  • Old Dominion
  • Estes
  • Yellow-Roadway
  • ABF Freight
  • R+L Carrier

P&D:

Pickup & Delivery

Local drivers that stay around their area, usually within 100 mile radius of a terminal, picking up and delivering loads.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers for instance will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.

Linehaul:

Linehaul drivers will normally run loads from terminal to terminal for LTL (Less than Truckload) companies.

LTL (Less Than Truckload) carriers will have Linehaul drivers and P&D drivers. The P&D drivers will deliver loads locally from the terminal and pick up loads returning them to the terminal. Linehaul drivers will then run truckloads from terminal to terminal.
Sean H.'s Comment
member avatar

Guys, thanks for all the input. It puts my mind more at ease. I'll keep updating as time goes on and see where this journey leads.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

These kind of threads pull at my heart strings the most. It kills me thinking about how terribly officers are being treated. And I can't even imagine having to explain common sense actions that you had to take to defend yourself to a superior. Then I go on facebook and read a bunch of women who work in offices who have probably never had a life or death situation happen in their lives critiquing the actions of an officer when they don't know jack. All of a sudden everyone is an expert.

Thank you Sean for what you do. You and your fellow officers are a blessing.

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