How To Become A Police Officer In Canada & Disqualifiers To Avoid
Choosing a new career , can be an overwhelming process. Opportunities are endless in a country like Canada. Its not easy figuring out which direction to take in the first place.
Canadian Business helps you narrow down your options with a list of The Top 25 Jobs in Canada. And were here to help you break down #14 on that list: police officer.
Being a police officer comes with great responsibility, authority, and trust. Therefore strict standards are upheld in the selection process to ensure only the right candidates are hired. This process typically includes:
- A written exam
- Have no criminal convictions and no criminal charges pending
In addition to the above list, each police force adds its own list of requirements.
Those applying for the RCMP need to meet the following additional requirements:
- Permanent resident applicants need to have resided in Canada for the last 10 years.
- Be at least 19 years old
- Possess a valid, unrestricted driver’s licence
- Be able to spend 26 weeks at the RCMP Academy in Regina, Saskatchewan
- Be willing to relocate anywhere within Canada
- Not have any tattoos that depict or incite hate, harassment, or discrimination against individuals on the basis of the grounds listed in Canadian Human Rights Act, section 3.
- Not wear any personal effects on the body that may interfere with the personal protective equipment.
The Vancouver Police Department asks that their applicants meet the following additional requirements:
How To Become A 911 Dispatcher
The emergency number field is diverse and offers a lot of opportunities to those who find their calling in it, but how does someone become a 911 dispatcher or call taker? At the end of January, the NCT911 training program launched its first ever virtual/in-person hybrid Regional Telecommunicator Academy, which trains brand new 911 dispatchers and call takers on the foundation training theyll need to be successful in their new careers. A 911 telecommunicator is the umbrella term for both 911 call takers, who typically answer 911 calls, and 911 dispatchers, who typically dispatch from the radio.
If youre researching the qualifications, skills, and education youll need to launch your career as a 911 dispatcher, look no further. Weve created this guide to help you on your 911 journey.
What qualifications will I need?
Before you start applying for 911 telecommunicator jobs, make sure you have or can obtain the necessary qualifications. For those searching in Texas, these are a little more strict than in other states.
What skill sets will help me succeed?
So, you know you have or can obtain the necessary qualifications, but what type of skills do you need to be hired as a 911 dispatcher? Some of these are pretty obvious, but there are a few characteristics of a good telecommunicator that may surprise you.
- Customer Service
- Typing Accuracy
- Self Awareness
Where can I find a job as a 911 dispatcher?
Other Helpful Skills And Experience
Prospective police dispatchers should have strong multitasking abilities, since being a 911 dispatcher involves simultaneously taking calls, typing notes, and interacting with other emergency personnel. Police dispatchers should also have a calm demeanor and be able to cope with high levels of stress, as the job routinely involves intense mental pressure. 911 operators should be prepared to work first, second, or third shift especially in larger cities, there can be a higher demand for second and third shift dispatchers as more emergencies tend to occur during these hours. It is not uncommon for police dispatchers to work rotating shifts, including holidays and weekends. The ability to speak a second language fluently, especially Spanish, may give operators an edge in the hiring process. Finally, earning an associateâs or bachelorâs degree may increase an emergency dispatcherâs opportunities for promotion.
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Education Training & Certification
To become a police dispatcher, you must fulfill certain educational and other requirements, as follows:
- Education: A high school diploma is typically the only formal education required to become a dispatcher. You may need to pass a civil service exam.
- Experience: Experience working with other people, especially in customer service-related industries, is very helpful. Strong communications skills are a must, as well as the ability to speak clearly and coherently.
- Technology requirements: As technology is used more and more in law enforcement, dispatchers must be proficient on a computer and must learn some complicated programs. Police dispatchers and 911 operators use computer-aided dispatch programs to help keep track of calls and assign case numbers.
What Does A Dispatcher Do
Depending on where a dispatcher works, their duties and job responsibilities can vary, but commonly, emergency dispatchers take on several key responsibilities for the agencies they work in:
Answering 911 emergency calls and collecting information and details about the emergency or situation before dispatching personnel
Communicating with individuals and maintaining a calm demeanor in stressful situations
Multi-tasking with answering calls, communicating and coordinating proper response personnel, including police, fire and ambulance units
Coordinating with multiple other police dispatchers in times of extreme emergency
Recording and documenting calls, actions and reported incidents
Filing and maintaining an organized documentation method for keeping records of calls and reports
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Other Skill Sets Requirements & Qualifications
While dispatchers are required to only have a high school diploma, there is plenty of on-the-job training. If you become a 9-1-1 Dispatcher, you will have to go through a 9-1-1 operator certification, which requires you to learn about topics like stress management, obtaining information from callers, legal and liability training, and how to perform CPR. Volunteer certifications include The Association of Public Safety Communications Officials , The National Emergency Number Association , and The International Academies of Emergency Dispatch .
This Will Include The Following
- Criminal history Any arrests or convictions will be looked at. A felony conviction will typically likely disqualify you from a position as a police dispatcher. Minor infractions will be looked at on a case-to-case basis by the hiring manager.
- Family history Your family background may also be looked at to determine any immediate criminal history. Child support history will also be looked at.
- You may have to undergo a polygraph test to ascertain whether the information youve provided is honest. This will vary depending on which police force youre applying to.
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Complete A Background Check
Most all employment processes for becoming an emergency dispatcher involve undergoing a background check. Especially in the case of police dispatchers, all potential dispatchers must pass their background checks prior to employment. Typically, the background check includes several key elements that employers look for:
Motor vehicle records: Background checks will also cover your driving records. While a speeding ticket or traffic infraction won’t make you ineligible for the job, it’s important to be honest about what your background check may contain.
Criminal history: Your background check will cover any convictions or arrests. While in most cases a felony conviction will automatically disqualify you for the role, minor charges are sometimes up to the discretion of the employer.
Family history: The background check also looks at your immediate family, including personal information in the event employers need to review past criminal records. It also covers any child support history.
Polygraph test: While not a common part of the hiring process, the polygraph test can help employers verify the truth of what you share on your application. Most dispatcher jobs don’t require polygraph testing, but in some cases where police dispatchers handle confidential information, some agencies may do so.
Police Dispatcher Duties & Responsibilities
Make no mistake, working as a dispatcher can be incredibly stressful. Dispatchers are often responsible for doing double duty as 911 operators. They take calls for service then send law enforcement to the scene. Dispatchers have a variety of duties, such as the following:
- Acting as the first point of contact for people in desperate need of help, people who may not even be coherent when they make the call
- Make sense of what the caller is dealing with
- Make sure people get the exact emergency services they need
- Monitor and record the location of on-duty police officers
- Take both 911 and non-emergency calls for service
- Perform driver’s license and wanted-person queries
- Assign case numbers and record case notes
- Use computers and computer-aided dispatch
- Monitor police radio traffic
- Dispatch patrol officers to calls for service
- Provide assistance to officers by contacting other services as needed
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Safety And The Police Dispatcher
Police dispatchers are often seen as the lifeline of police officers, as their instructions and information give the police officers direction regarding how to proceed with the incident or emergency.
Police dispatchers must monitor, receive, and relay police alarms, intra-departmental calls, emergency calls, and dispatch police vehicles in the most efficient and productive manner. They must be able to remain calm and composed at all times, and they must be able to collect and relay as much information as possible to the responding police officers as to protect the safety and lives of both the general public and the police force.
Sound judgment and the ability prioritize phone calls and dispatch police officers accordingly are of the utmost importance, particularly in the event of a potentially life-threatening situation.
Information that is not clearly relayed to the officers in a timely fashion could result in injury or death to the police officers, the involved parties, or innocent bystanders therefore, the ability to gather and relay as much information as possible as to allow the police officers to handle the situation accordingly is, without a doubt, one of the most crucial aspects of the police dispatcher job.
List Of Police Services Websites
Thank you for your interest in our local police services. Below is a comprehensive list of of the Police Services in Ontario. Once you click the link, you will be directed to the Police website.
Those interested in federal-wide policing can contact the RCMP for job opportunities. Please note that the RCMP does have a different Constable Selection Process and does not require the OACP Certificate in order to apply.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Section 83 of the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019, stipulates a person appointed as a police officer must:
is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
is at least 18 years of age
is physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to his or her own safety and the safety of members of the public
is of good character
has successfully completed, prescribed training by the Minister
In addition, you must
obtained a University Degree or a diploma from a college of applied arts and technology,
possess a valid driver’s licence with no more than six accumulated demerit-points, permitting you to drive an automobile in Ontario with full driving privileges
have current certification in Standard First Aid Level C CPR by the time the offer of employment is given
be able to pass a security clearance as well as background investigation, credit and reference checks.
This certificate is valid for 2 years. That includes all documents in Part A and the Part B, Part C testing.
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Identify 911 Dispatcher Employers
One of the best ways for individuals to locate 911 dispatchers is to find the states public safety answering points , which are defined as primary points of contact for individuals who dial 911. In addition to primary PSAPs, there may also be a number of professional opportunities throughout a states secondary PSAPs, centers to which calls are transferred after being received at the primary PSAP.
The FCC maintains a master list of PSAPs located throughout the country for easy reference.
PSAPs may be found at dedicated call centers, police stations, fire departments, and public safety departments. Depending on the state in which the PSAP is located, it may be organized at the county level or the city level, and in many states, PSAPs represent a coordinated effort between a number of counties, cities, towns or municipalities.
From Security Guard To Police Officer
While there are a fair number of employment opportunities, as you have seen in the information presented in this article, policy agencies hire only the most suitable candidates. So you need to do what you can to ensure that your application stands out from the rest.
Police agency recruiters advise applicants to significantly improve their chances of being selected through:
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Local Needs Of Police Services
Apart from the competencies, individual police services may also require certain special skills and abilities in order to address issues pertaining to the service or the community. A local need may be a second language, a special type or level of computer skills or prior experience in working with victims and/or members of a vulnerable community.
Pass Your Exam And Get To Work
Although, if youre interested in alternative law enforcement positions, then check out my Police Officer Job Description and Police Officer Interview Questions, as well as my Crime Scene Investigator Job Description, or my guides on How To Become A Detective and How To Become A CIA Agent, which could be a very exciting career path!
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Knowledge Abilities And Skills
What Degree Do You Need
High School Diploma
One of the most common questions that we always get is what major or degree do I need to become 911 Operators or what courses do I need to take.
We also asked 911 Operators what did they major in college or university and here are the top 5 most popular majors that came up.
Most police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers have a high school diploma.
Start In Customer Services
Customer service departments are a great place to learn how to deal with stressed members of the public. Its not quite the same situation as handling emergency calls, but its a good stepping stone all the same.
Having an extensive knowledge of the geographic area, you plan to work in will also work in your favor. If youre intimately familiar with street names, shop locations, and the landmarks of your town or city, this will aid immensely when fielding calls and passing information on.
The Dispatcher Career Roadmap
Entry-level Dispatchers may shadow and train with a more experienced employee until they have completed training and feel comfortable handling calls. Many people start as truck Dispatchers or delivery Dispatchers, which is a little less high stress than an emergency Dispatcher. Once an employee has had a couple of years of experience built up, they may become senior dispatchers or supervisors.
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What Does A Police Dispatcher Do
A police dispatcher answers emergency calls and directs support to locations. When someone calls 9-1-1, a police dispatcher gathers information from the caller, then alerts the police and other emergency service providers where to go. Some other duties may also include:
Speaking with callers and keeping them calm until the emergency response arrives
Guiding callers through safety and first aid procedures as necessary
Monitoring the police radio and sending dispatches to on-duty officers
Conducting wanted-persons queries
Assigning and recording case numbers
Police dispatchers will also deal with non-emergency calls, providing information to callers or directing police to the situation.
Salaries for police dispatchers may vary depending on a candidate’s level of experience and geographical location.
Common salary for police dispatcher in the U.S.:
Salaries range from $7.25 to $37.80 per hour.
Complete The Required Level Of Education
Most agencies require emergency dispatchers to have at least a high school diploma or GED. It is helpful to have some college experience or even an associate’s degree, but it’s not always necessary. Just be sure to inquire through the agency you’re interested in working for about what educational requirements they may have for their dispatcher role.
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