A LEO in Today's Age: The Why, What and How Behind Being a LEO

By Bryan Veliz


Throughout my career as a Law Enforcement Officer, I’ve often been asked questions such as, “Why did you become a police officer?", “What does it take to join a law enforcement agency?” and “How do you perform the job in today’s age?” All great questions, to which I have done my best to provide the “best answer” for those seeking guidance or simply looking to satisfy their general curiosity. I hope to shed some light on these questions as well as provide general guidance and encouragement for those seeking to become a LEO or for those already associated with the profession.

I believe everyone can benefit from a mentor, thus I highly recommend you find yours.

Before we begin, let’s look at WHY I became a law enforcement officer; this will provide some crucial background information and give you a sense of where I am coming from. Throughout my young adolescent life, I had a calling to this profession, if you will; this was further emphasized as I was raised in a family with various family members affiliated with the military/law enforcement. To say this did not have an influence on me would be a lie. I knew from a young age I would either join the military or become a police officer after high school. At the time, I had several relatives and friends (whom I admired and respected) that insisted I join a local or state agency to gain experience and eventually branch off from there. Their positive influence and guiding words are what further piqued my interest in the profession that is law enforcement. I believe everyone can benefit from a mentor, thus I highly recommend you find yours. Unaware of the age requirement to become a police officer in the state of Texas (21 years old), I proceeded to my college studies (being that I was fresh out of high school—a mere 18 years old). I continued my studies until I reached the legal age limit to join an agency. Unfortunately, I did not finish my degree at the time, as I was too eager to begin my career as a police officer. I’ll take this time to provide Lesson #1; if you are in the process of earning your degree and thinking of joining an agency, I highly suggest you obtain your degree as it will only benefit you in the long-run—both in and out of this career. A growing number of agencies now require a bachelor’s degree (for various reasons); aside from this, a degree will help make you marketable and increase opportunities for growth in the field.

There are also various regulatory state agencies that set standards for training and education for licensed peace officers which vary state-wide. In Texas under TCOLE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement), there are several levels of peace officer licenses, ranging from: basic, intermediate, advance and masters with each one requiring various training hours and years of experience. To give you an example, someone without a degree coming into the field would need to complete a minimum of 1200 training hours and 20 years of experience to earn a master peace officer license. Whereas someone joining with a bachelor’s degree would only be required to have 9 years of experience along with mandated training courses (which are a piece of cake). A degree can help expedite your process through various certifications, pay increase, promotion within the agency, or opportunities to join a federal agency one day. This, however, is simply my opinion and experience which have been acquired through my years of service.

I knew I wanted to be a part of a brotherhood, to be a part of something bigger than myself and serve a higher purpose.

So, back to the Why. I knew I wanted to be a part of a brotherhood, to be a part of something bigger than myself and serve a higher purpose. Yes, I wanted to have a badge, wear a uniform, have a gun, and do all the cool ‘guy stuff’ we all secretly yearn to do—who are we kidding? Let’s be real here. However, more importantly, I truly felt I was being called to this profession. I knew that this was a calling from a higher source which I would have to answer. So, what is your Why? It does not have to be complicated nor extensive; it can stem from anything—an experience, incident, mentor—anything and anyone is a viable reason. It simply has to be strong enough. It has to be your driving force and accompany you throughout your journey, because you can’t and shouldn’t quit once the going gets tough. You have to be prepared and eager for the journey ahead of you, especially in today’s age, when it’s a lot harder to be a police officer as violence and discontent is ever-increasing towards police. The Why, needs to be authentic and real. It can’t be solely based off monetary gains or petty reasons, because you are in for a rude awakening if that’s the case. Maybe you’re already in this profession and at a point where you’re feeling “burned out.” Regardless of your status, I encourage you to take this time to ask yourself again “Why” did you become a police officer and really remember Why you started and not lose hold of that reason. Let the Why drive you and be your ever-constant motivation. Stay tuned for more. B.Veliz

Article By Bryan Veliz
Law Enforcement, Shooting
A law enforcement officer who is dedicated to not only making his students better, but himself by attending the best training he can find.


I've heard it said before, "Know Your Why". When you find yourself in that "darkest place" , you have to have a strong why. If you do, the "How" will not be a problem.
As an individual currently working towards becoming a LEO, I look forward to more articles from you.
I really enjoyed this read it was very inspiring! I'm excited for more articles in the future!
Great read man!
Thanks everyone for reading, hope you enjoyed. Stand by for more to follow soon!
Great article brother.
definitely agree having a degree is crucial these days. its important to remember you dont have to get a degree in criminal justice or criminology to be a LEO. A lot of agencies, mainly state and federal, look for diversity.