By Dave Leaderhouse
“A uniform with your name on it is waiting for you.”
That simple phrase could have many connotations, but what it is is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s new recruitment tool in a major campaign to attract those interested in making policing a career choice.
In addition to increased advertising, the RCMP has also formed a number of partnerships and one of the most recent is with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Why the SJHL? League president Bill Chow, a retired 30-year veteran of the Prince Albert Police Service, says the similarities between sports teams and being a police officer is numerous.
“Being a policeman for 30 years, I found my career both challenging and fulfilling,” notes Chow. “Like playing on a hockey team, being a member of the RCMP is very similar. Policing involves teamwork, leadership and perseverance and those are the same characteristics that a lot of the players in the SJHL have.”
The RCMP’s current campaign states that it is looking to hire 50 officers a year in Saskatchewan for the foreseeable future. This is a mandate established to fill numerous vacancies while also provider greater safety for the residents of the province.
In an excerpt from one of the information pages on the RCMP website it is stated: “The RCMP is seeking highly motivated team players who possess strong leadership abilities from a wide range of backgrounds. They must also reflect the core values of integrity, honesty, professionalism, compassion, respect and accountability.”
Sounds a lot like an athlete doesn’t it?
Becoming an RCMP member isn’t as simple as just throwing your name in the hat; there are a number of criteria that must be met and then even more steps in a lengthy hiring process will follow.
Criteria to be eligible for consideration are: must be a Canadian citizen, 19 years of age or older, have a valid driver’s license, possess a high school diploma or an equivalent, meet health and psychological standards, pass vision and hearing tests, have high physical abilities, be willing to spend 26 weeks in training at the RCMP Depot in Regina, be willing to relocate, be willing to work shiftwork, be prepared to carry and use a firearm and finally they must be aware of the expectations in place relating to tattoos and piercing.
Candidates must also have strong personal characteristics and understand they will be playing a significant role in building and maintaining public trust. It goes without saying that there cannot be any past criminal history for those interested in pursuing a career with the RCMP.
If all of the criteria are met then the next step is putting in an application. This is done on-line by going to the Government of Canada job search bank, search for the RCMP and go to the section where jobs are open to the public.
If an application is accepted then an entrance exam consisting of personality and aptitude questions must be completed, along with the required visual and hearing assessments. Pre-employment, polygraph, health, security and field clearances are also done at this time.
Once all that is completed then the candidate goes to Depot for 26 weeks of intense training. Again, off the RCMP website, the training program is explained like this: “The training program at Depot is not designed to get (someone) in shape, but rather to allow candidates to enhance fitness and develop abilities.”
A Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) is done while at Depot with a threshold set at the beginning that must be met and an improved benchmark established before graduation. PARE is used to assess a person’s ability to perform physical demands of police work by simulating a critical incident of chasing, controlling and apprehending a suspect.
Once a candidate graduates they are then offered employment and given their first posting where they will continue their training with six months of field coaching by a senior member of the force.
It is a lengthy process to become a member of the RCMP, but Chow feels what junior hockey players gain from their days on the ice will carry over nicely to a productive career in the future should they choose that path.
“The SJHL believes the partnership created with the RCMP will provide some of the players with an opportunity to have a long and fulfilling career,” says Chow.
There are a number of recruitment sessions planned with the first being March 3 at the RCMP Heritage Centre in Regina. Other upcoming dates in Regina are April 10, May 5 and June 5 while in Saskatoon there will be sessions held at that detachment on March 6, April 7, May 8 and June 9.
Not every hockey player can continue playing the game after their junior career is over; nor do they have plans of furthering their education. This is a great opportunity for those who want to take the traits they picked up from being a part of a team as an athlete and transferring that over to being a public servant.
The SJHL and RCMP partnership is something both parties are very proud of.