Becoming a Police Officer is a long and drawn out process. But it's necessary. Every department wants to ensure that when they're recruiting, they get the best possible candidates.
Many people are interested in it, but in reality, only some are suited for the job.
Can you imagine what would be happening if the recruiters didn't steps to ensure that they hired the best possible individuals?
Every department would have a force filled with "Tackleberries" (For those of you who are too young to remember, he's a character from the "Police Academy" movies)
At the recruitment stage, departments are looking for mature, level headed people who are honest and sincere.
People who can be trusted to do the "right thing", and who will serve the community as best they can.
These are the ones that can be trained and who will make their respective departments proud.
Many people attend job fairs to discover that their local department has a booth set up.
It's one of the ways that recruiters can get out to the public and reach people that may not otherwise have considered a career with them. You can get the chance to speak to officers in the department and ask questions.
They can give you examples of what it's like to be a cop and some of the difficulties that you may not have realized about the job. As well, they can offer other tips that can be really useful in becoming a police officer.
But you don't have to go to a job fair. You can log onto their official website, or attend a station house to get some information. Most departments have an employment section that
have pamphlets and information for individuals who are interested in becoming a police officer.
You can also register for an information session, where recruiters will discuss issues relating to the job and field questions.
If you decide to take the plunge and apply, be ready to fill out some heavy duty paperwork.
It's nothing compared to the paperwork that you'll be doing if you are successful and become a cop, but for an application, its heavy!
They'll be asking you the standard questions such as age, birthday, address, etc etc, but they'll ask you about your parents, siblings, past addresses over the last several years,
every job you've had, sports you enjoy, references (I've heard of one department asking for 30 references! I personally think that's overkill, how many people know 30 people that
know them well enough to answer personal questions?)
They'll also ask you about volunteer work, education, any additional languages that you speak, cultural background, special skills such as medical training etc...
Basically they want to know everything about you.
Then they'll also ask you to submit a resume as well for any stuff that they may have missed.
Once you're done that, you'll have the following:
Even if you're successful in getting through each stage of the process, there is never any guarantee that you'll be hired immediately.
There's only a certain number of new recruits that any department is going to hire, and you've got to try to stand out from the rest of the crowd.
You can do this by adding to your resume with things such as
Something worth looking into would be starting up a Neighborhood crime watch.
if one doesn't exist in your community yet. You would be taking a leadership role within you neighborhood, and could potentially build some great friendships as references.
Another way to give yourself the advantage in becoming a police officer is by exceeding the minimum education.
Most Departments want you to have at least some post Secondary education.
Another way is to learn a second language.
Officers attend calls and speak to individuals who sometimes aren't good with English. Having individuals with additional languages always comes in handy.
You can also register for a ride along. Most Departments have a "ride along" program. It's designed to give civilians an opportunity to be paired with an officer and go out during a shift on patrol. It can be extremely informative and gives you a
first hand look at front line policing.
You have to keep in mind that because you're an unarmed civilian, the officer that you're paired with is not going to purposefully take you into a code 3 type emergency call where the use of deadly force may be required.
The last thing a department would want is for a ride along to be injured or killed.
But by being involved a ride along, you will get to experience some aspects of policing, and show a recruiter that you have at least taken some steps above what other may have done and truly want to become a cop.
One thing worth mentioning is that the entire recruitment process can vary in time. It really depends on several factors actually, but if you are truly interested in becoming a police officer, you'll have to be patient.
Typically speaking, the larger departments have a higher turn over rate than the smaller ones, whether it be because officers are transferring to different departments, or outright quitting.
The larger ones hire more than the smaller ones, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the entire process is quick.
If there is a hiring push due to a lack of officers, it could be a little faster. If you happen to also fill a certain demographic that the department needs, even quicker still (provided of course, that you are qualified).
But, be prepared to wait for a while. It could take anywhere from 10 months to 2 years. It's hard to gauge. When you're successful in becoming a police officer, there's a saying that you'll become familiar with ..."hurry up and wait."