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From Civilian to Police Officer

Updated: Jan 7

Your coach - Lonnie-

“It takes a lot more than just fancy flying” Top Gun (1986)

 

Speak to a Recruiter

Find a College

Volunteer

Surround Yourself with Quality

Social Media – Clean it up

Run – A Lot

Drive Like Everyone Is Watching

No Drugs

No Drinking & Driving

Show Up Ready – At Every Stage




1. Your path to a police career is never a straight line. Seek out advice and insight from all the available recruiters. These specially trained professionals are the public face of the agency. They are handpicked to represent their agency well. Seek them out – watch them. Listen to what they have to say. They have insight into the agency’s recruiting needs, the type of people that they are looking for, the attributes and character that they want in a recruit, and deadlines. Find out what career-ending activities that prevent someone from being recruited.


2. Police agencies are still hiring those who hold high school diplomas. The RCMP and the Military Police are still hiring 19- and 20-year-old applicants, but these are very rare situations. Taxpayers demand well-educated police officers. And rightly so considering a first-year police officer can reach $90,000.00+ a year with overtime and stat holiday pay. Well-educated applicants make better problem-solvers, make better decisions, surround themselves with quality friends and put up boundaries around everything, and are focussed on service to their communities. There isn’t enough that can be said about education. This is a profession. Policing is not a trade nor is it for those not serious about their future. Good dentists go to good dentist schools, good teachers go to good teacher schools, and good police officers should go to good justice schools.


3. Applicants are going to be selected based on their interest in “community.” Community health and wellness is a police officer’s primary goal, but it must start long before the applicant can serve. If the applicant wants to end their chances early share not having time to volunteer will do it. Volunteering is not giving blood or providing moral support to children in need either. Recruiters listening to the excuses of “when you can get time” is weak. Especially when organizations need your help right now. Not having the time, or rather not making the time is a deal breaker. A great place to start is the Special Olympics organization and their partners at the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). LETR is the “Charity of Choice” for all Canadian Police and Peace Officers in Canada and around the world. Not sure where to start, Special Olympics and the LETR has a branch in every jurisdiction in every country around the world waiting for you to call.


4. It’s time to let go of your friends and acquaintances who do not add quality to your life. The applicant needs to foster a close-knit group that understands them, share common values, and respect who the applicant is striving to become. It’s time to grow up and gather only those who care deeply. Having people close who are good citizens, contribute to their families and community, and take care of each other is so important that your recruiters are going to want to know who they are too. Select wisely.


5. Cleaning up social media is a great start to recruitment. It is one of the first places to find out who the applicant is and what they are up to in life. If the applicant is serious, each one must have a look at each photo and text and imagine describing the context to a recruiter. That means the hidden and secret accounts as well. Remove photographs and texts depicting alcohol and drug consumption, pictures showing questionable and risky behaviour and the tags. It (almost) goes without saying that highly politicized issues and opinions need be removed. It is the author's public face…use this great platform wisely.


6.. Run – and run a lot. But a word to the wise – slow and steady wins the race. Running provides an amazing opportunity for a lifestyle of fitness and good heart health. Of all the fitness activities available, running is the most economical and readily available. An investment in a good quality pair of running shoes is all that is required. And space to run. When traveling or working remotely, there is no gym needed. Running slow and steady for three to four times a week does not require a gym membership or fancy outfits. Following a balanced diet, limiting carbs, and picking heart-healthy activities is the perfect way to realize your recruiting goals. Every legitimate police or law enforcement agency will have its new hires running the first week of training and will continue throughout.


7. Driving is an attitude. Every time the applicant gets behind the wheel there is a choice in how it will be operated. Two words come to mind always when driving. Safe and curious. There are several police agencies that post “drive like everyone is watching – because they are.” This principle is a reminder to keep stay defensive and courteous. Leave the phone in the backseat to avoid being 1. tempted to read or answer it. The best advice that was ever given was “forgive the bad drivers.” Aggressive and dangerous drivers need not apply.


8. There is very little advocacy surrounding drug use. There is no more “keeping kids off drugs” campaigns. While the government has a tolerant attitude, justice agencies are not. And because a doctor prescribed medicinal marijuana doesn’t mean you are not going to be deferred. Think about it seriously before throwing all your hard work, your education, and preparation away along with your dreams.


9. Drinking and drinking is (almost) a given. “No drinking and driving” means no drinking and driving – it is just that simple. It’s too easy to push the limits and while you may not be over the blood/alcohol limits and the law, there will always be a question of the driver’s “impairment”. Like drug use, there is no advocacy for abstaining from drinking and driving. To a recruiter, the important message from the applicant is a healthy respect for alcohol – and zero drinking and driving


10. Everything that is asked of the applicant at every stage in recruiting is by design. Everything. These steps are built to see just how prepared, how serious, and how much sacrifice the applicant to prepared to go for this amazing career. Understand this point of view, the taxpayer expects that those responsible for hiring the next generation of officer will do their due diligence in finding out who the applicant really is and is this person worthy of a career in community service. And only hiring those who are ready enough, committed enough and knowledgeable enough to serve their communities are given the opportunity. In the current economy the candidate is a three-million-dollar investment. Our communities expect that everything will be done to ensure that only those worthy of a career in public service be considered. This is an amazing opportunity and a choice.

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