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Thinking of a Career in Policing?

Ashling McWilliam for local2 sault ste. marie
July 16th, 2012 at 9:48am

This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

opp badgeThis past weekend I had the opportunity of attending the O.P.P. Bound mini-recruitment camp held at the Provincial Police Academy in Orillia Ontario. I donít think Iíve ever spent a more jam-packed, educational and inspiring 3 days in all of my life.

Before attending this camp, I envisioned a weekend of extreme physical training, with an emphasis on brute strength, speed and agility. Although physical fitness is of utmost importance as a police officer, I found that the majority of the weekend highlighted the value and necessity of communication skills. Every Sergeant, Constable and Superintendent spoke of treating the public with dignity and respect no matter what the situation. Chief Superintendent Bob Bruce emphasized the need for professionalism in the police force and the importance of hating the crime, not the person. No matter how heinous the offense, a police officer needs to remain impartial and refrain from hating the individual, because as soon as you begin hating the criminal rather than the crime, you will begin to resent the public you serve and protect.

I was surprised at how personable and warm each and every officer was, regardless of rank or position. Each O.P.P officer or O.P.P civilian worker possessed excellent communication skills. Meaning, they were ACTIVE listeners, with calm, reassuring, yet firm voices, establishing respect and authority without ever having to raise their voice. I believe that Sergeant Cindy Collins could bring a bar room brawl to a halt in a matter of seconds by simply reasoning with those involved, using her composed and calming voice. But donít let their patient composure fool you; each and every officer is ready and trained to spring in to action when the situation calls for it!

I have always felt a keen sense of respect for the police officers in my community, but after attending this mini-recruitment camp my respect for these public servants has deepened. The public is always quick to criticize police services here in Ontario, before taking a look at other countries and realizing that Ontario is one of the greatest places in the world, in part thanks to police forces who keep our communities safe. I have always felt secure in my community and the many other places I have lived or visited in Ontario, and I attribute this to the hard work and dedication of the various police forces throughout the province.

This year was O.P.P Boundís 10th anniversary and included firearm exercises, self defense classes, practical scenarios and physical training as well as mentoring sessions with various O.P.P officers, sharing experiences and insight into the world of policing. Commissioner Chris D. Lewis even spoke to us before our departure, reiterating the importance of integrity and respect within the Ontario Provincial Police. (By the way the Commissioner is originally from Sault Ste. Marie!!!) Each of us also received insight into the vigorous recruitment and application process, and how to prepare ourselves for the different tests, both physical and written.

I could go on for pages and pages about everything I learned and my favorite topics or sessions. In short, O.P.P Bound was a well organized, informative and inspiring weekend which solidified my interest in policing. My only complaint would be the duration; I wish we had had more time!

If you are thinking of a career in policing and would like some insight into the hiring process, keep your eyes peeled for this opportunity next year, or come and see me at the Sault Community Career Centre for some application pointers!


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