Before entering the police program in Sudbury, one thing potential law enforcement officers always ask themselves is whether or not police work is truly right for them. It can be a highly rewarding profession, both physically and mentally, but upholding and enforcing the law can also be challenging – and of course, comes with a certain degree of risk.
Whether we’re talking about local police departments, provincial forces like the OPP or the federal RCMP, it takes a certain type of person to work as a police officer. A police officer needs to be:
This is one of those qualities that is valued in many different professional fields. It’s important for payroll college graduates, lawyers, and auto mechanics to be able to juggle many different tasks at once – and the same is most definitely true for police officers as well.
For example, a police officer could find themselves on a routine patrol and see something suspicious. As they go to investigate, they get a call two blocks away, make an arrest and help stabilize a victim while waiting for the professional with paramedic training to arrive. Afterward they go back to the station to complete important paperwork, making sure to call in the original suspicious incident to a colleague who will carry out an investigation.
Urban areas are inhabited by people from a wide array of cultural backgrounds, with varying approaches to authority figures such as police officers. Likewise some rural settings are predominately populated by First Nations Canadians who may employ their own police forces independent of other law enforcement.
A culturally sensitive police officer will be keenly aware of cultural difference when dealing with people from diverse backgrounds. This is essential for the officer in particular and the force in general to have a positive relationship with Canada’s increasingly multicultural communities.
Calm Under Pressure
Police officers deal with all sorts of high stakes situations on a daily basis. Whether responding to a domestic abuse call, pulling over someone who is combative, chasing a suspect on foot, or interviewing a witness – they need to apply the same calm, rational thinking they would when filling out paperwork about a routine traffic violation.
Police need to make split-second decisions. To make them effectively, they must employ strategies for keeping calm under pressure. In order to carry out their responsibilities, police officers must learn to communicate with a mix of compassion, authority and professional detachment.
For all the excitement, physical exhilaration, mental puzzles and interactive experiences police work offers, there is also paperwork to be filled out and bureaucracy to be dealt with. Officers must have an eye for detail when completing reports to ensure that events are recorded accurately. As the police serve the public, proper record-keeping and documentation are extremely important.
So do you think you’re ready to become a police officer? What draws you to this noble profession?