While Recruitment Officer Const. Julie Craddock is adept at extolling the virtues of the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) by explaining the myriad pluses associated with the organization, it's the genuine enthusiasm with which she does so that ultimately sells this career path. The daughter of a police officer who boasts many other law enforcement professionals in her extended family, Craddock makes no bones about how much she loves what she does and how fulfilling it will also be for the right applicants. That said, she quickly points out that the HRPS does not subscribe to a "cookie cutter" approach to hiring, but is committed to diversity in the truest sense of the word among candidates. This means that-- given the expansive range of tasks, challenges and opportunities open to officers within the HRPS-- an equally wide spectrum of individuals is being actively encouraged to apply. They include, but are not limited to, people of different ages, genders, races and languages and those who bring varied educational backgrounds and life experience to the job-- including foreign-trained officers. For that reason, says Media Relations Officer Sgt. Peter Payne, potential applicants should never rule themselves out of contention and let HRPS determine how their attributes can best be utilized. "It's all added-value," said Payne. What might come as a surprise to people, adds Craddock, is that no prior law enforcement education or related work experience is required to apply. Although this will be taken into account, of course, the selection process places a premium on a demonstrated ability to learn-- hence any post-secondary achievement is a definite plus and an indicator that they'll flourish in the on-the-job training environment of policing. "We need to see they can learn new things and adapt," said Craddock, explaining that new officers are called "Constable Generalists." "The learning never stops." Adds Payne: "There are so many things we do daily."
This high degree of variety is one major draw for people who simply can't be satisfied by endless daily routine, said Payne, who adds that even after 24 years in uniform he can't wait to come to work. Craddock explained that, with the right attitude and thirst for learning and new challenges, police officers can virtually "choose their own path" through the service's many units and assignments. "It's a life-long career," she said. Payne agrees: "Variety is the spice of life, so policing is very challenging and rewarding-- plus you can really help people. You can look in the mirror and tell yourself you made a difference. If you're dedicated to helping people, this is the job for you." With that in mind, HRPS is actively hiring and to that end launched a new recruitment campaign recently, complete with advertising in bus shelters and in movie theatres plus billboards throughout Halton. The ads feature a smiling HRPS Const. Noel Bowe. The billboard HRPS was interesting in utilizing in Georgetown was not available. Craddock said the northern part of the region will be targeted more extensively in a future advertising campaign where ads will be run in malls and on GO trains. One reason for the stepped-up recruitment effort is so the police service can draw from as large an applicant pool as possible, something that is becoming increasingly difficult, said Craddock, since applications are down 25 per cent province-wide. At the same time, more than 50 HRPS officers are currently eligible for retirement. Not all plan to leave right away, says Craddock, but the potential is there to impact the service of approximately 500 officers. A large pool is also necessary because so few of those who apply end up making the cut and, says Craddock, HRPS can't and won't lower standards simply to fill its ranks. "They are all good people but not all meet the hiring criteria," said Craddock, explaining that during the January-March 2006 intake period, only six of 105 applicants made the grade after a battery of intense testing. "This is concerning because not everyone is qualified so we need a large pool." Payne said HRPS is making a special appeal to Halton residents to apply and "take ownership of their own community."
Const. Noel Bowe is featured on Halton Police recruitment ads found throughout Halton. "We want to keep a good thing going," he said. "Halton is a world-class place to be and Halton is a world-class place to police." A recruitment information evening is planned for this fall. In the meantime, potential applicants are encouraged to visit www.hrps.on.ca or call the recruitment information line at 905-825-4747 ext. 5116.
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