With multiple police departments teaming up to recruit new members, future cop hopefuls received the opportunity to learn more about their dream career.
The event, held at Lethbridge College Friday, saw members of the Lethbridge Police Service, Blood Tribe Police Service and the RCMP speak to hopefuls about working in law enforcement.
Visitors of the event were also afforded the opportunity to run the new police fitness test, interact with members of the three agencies, visit with a K9 drug dog and much more.
One potential recruit, Ryan Rolls, has served in the Canadian Armed Forces and as a frontline paramedic, though he says a career change may be due.
“I’m just now in the mood for something a little bit different,” he said. “I still love being a first responder, so I thought I’d broaden my horizon and see what else I can do for the community.”
Rolls says he aspires to join the Edmonton Police Service, though this event gave him a good opportunity to interact with those already in a career of policing.
“I like that they have the booths here, so if we have further questions, we can come up and ask,” said Rolls.
He also ran the new fitness test, finishing well within the time frame allotted to him.
“I had a little idea of what to expect, but it was a good run and I’m glad to see where I physically stand,” said Rolls.
Another member of the community, high schooler Carson Pennington, may not have the experience that Rolls has, but he hopes to follow a similar path.
He says his dream to become a police officer originally came from watching television shows and playing video games.
“When I was younger, I always liked watching ‘Cops’ as a kid,” said Pennington. “I always liked the idea of keeping justice.”
He says becoming a police officer is the end goal, but his plan to get there is still open to a few different pathways.
“It’s either going to be doing the criminal justice here [at Lethbridge College], or doing the military then going into policing,” said Pennington.
Meanwhile, Constable Mike Darby with the LPS says the event was a success, with a lot of participants involved.
“We didn’t know what to expect with this being the first time that we’ve partnered RCMP and Blood Tribe Police Service,” said Darby. “Having said that, I’m very happy with the people that are here, I think there are a lot of potential applicants for us.”
He says events like this one are becoming even more crucial than ever before because police recruitment numbers are dwindling.
“Nationally, police services are struggling,” he said. “I think before, where we used to compete for candidates, now it’s about promoting the profession itself,” said Darby.
Furthermore, he says the demand for police officers in Lethbridge is “massive”, with the LPS seeking authorization from the city to increase manpower.
“Our authorized strength went from 173 to 188. We were already at a deficit because of retirements, so for us it’s important because getting new officers in our building helps us bolster our special teams and the other things that we want to do as a service,” said Darby.
He added that an event like this can help bring diversity to the LPS as the service looks to mirror the community by encouraging women and members of the Indigenous community to sign up.
“We want to be reflective of our community,” said Darby. “You can provide a better service to the community when you’re reflective of the community itself.”
He says female police officers are crucial to the day-to-day operations of the LPS, so more female applicants would be a huge bonus for the force.
“They are very important to this occupation and it’s something that’s very needed. In my opinion, not just policing but all industries,” said Darby.
He says the LPS is seeking new applicants for the foreseeable future, so those interested can email the recruiting team at email@example.com
By Justin Sibbet, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on May 19, 2023
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