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CF experience relevant to RCMP, civ policing? (merged)


Army.ca Veteran
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I was not sure if I should post this in the RCMP section or just the National Security part but I will put it here some can feel free to move if it needs to be.

First I am not a police officer (yet   :)), but I did get to the interview stage for the Toronto Police Auxillary, which is was a scaled down version of the real thing (the ECI portion), my program co-ordinator at my school was a D/Sgt in the Toronto Police Recruiting unit, and several other instructors were/are involved in training/recruitment with Toronto Police (I am not going to post there names here, but if you really want to know and have a valid reason for knowing you can PM me).   So this info is from my experiences from attending LFI/ECI mentoring, my aux app, conversations I have had with my profs and stuff available from the websites of police services.

The biggest thing that will pass or fail you for most services is the interview.   Most services (especially in Ontario were the majority of services follow the OACP Constable Selection Process) are moving towards or have moved towards behavioral/competency based interviews.   They are not easy, and require preparation on your part (note: if the service you are applying to offers mentoring sessions for any component of their recruitment process, I strongly encourage you to attend one).   I talked about what I was informed of at an ECI mentoring WRT to Mil experience/life experience here http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/30943.15.html

"Life Experience" is just that, you have gone out and done something other than sit in a classroom rotting you brain and going bankrupt.   They (At least in Toronto) don't care were that experience comes from, as I already pointed out.   I know I am not a cop, but my intstuctors at school were/are, and all of them were/are involved somehow in recruiting/training.   This info is straight from them.   heck they even told us, if we feel ready to apply there is no need to finish the program,   granted only like 4-6 people in my class of 60 were under 21, so thats probably why were told that.  

As for the military angle, when I went to an ECI/LFI mentoring session run by Toronto, the recruiter described interviewing a guy who spent a little over in a decade in the regs as an Engineer, and immedidately after him a woman who had run a catering company for about the same length of time.   While both people had very different backgrounds, and different stories about dealing with stress/pressure/self control etc.   It was thier abilities to articulate those experiences and relate them back to the questions posed at them by the recruiters, that got them the job, not what they had done.   Thats what they are looking for, the ability to relate events in your life to a list of competencies.   The more things you have done in your life the easier it is, to do that.

My profs explained to me, the reason why military members tend to fair better than the average joe in getting on the services is because they have seen and done more things (for the most part), it not like the "old" days were being ex-army was an automatic in.

Which leads to these FAQ and selection criteria (including lateral hire info where available, for those who were thinking of going from MP to civy cop) from a number of services.   "Military service is neither an advantage or disadvantage"

York Regional Police

Peel Regional Police

Hamilton Police Service


Vancouver Police Service

Edmonton Police Service (note: they specifically mention MPs cannot make lateral transfers)

Calgary Police Service (note: they specifically mention MPs cannot make lateral transfers)

Also a tip my program co-ordinator mentioned was get know to some serving/retired officers (in a good way that is ;)) who would be able to write letters of reference for you.

P.S. most large police services have recruiters you can contact.   So if you have questions regarding mil service and whether or not they would allow a lateral transfer if you were an MP contact them directly, as not every services website provides info regarding mil/MP experience.
Will Military Expierience Up The Chances For Police Recruiting?  

I was just looking at a few applications for calgary police and basically what it said that is, military expierience will not make it easier nor an exception over regular joes that apply. I find this kind of hard to believe knowing that course training in the military that I've went through anyway would make me a better team leader and have me ready for Police Academy in much more ways than John Bloggans that just graduated High School.  
Whit3 said:
Will Military Expierience Up The Chances For Police Recruiting?  
Does in Edmonton. Leadership courses help with the RCMP. At least as recently as '04, when I was doing research to apply.
Was told that by RCMP and City of Wpg that military experience does help....although its not helpping me get in!!!lol
Military service gives you many examples of life experience to bring forward during the interview process. Things such as teamwork, leadership, self discipline, initiative, motivation and all the other buzz words.

Your PER's should also be forwarded with your applications, as most Police Departments also have an annual evaluation report and will be able to draw some comparisons from them.

The above being said, it will also depend on the individual who handles your recruiting file. If he or she has military service they will be able to relate to your service and experience. If they don't have any service then you will have to work harder to civilianize your experience I.E instead of being a Sgt Section Commander in charge of an infantry section, you could change it to Leader of an 8-10 person team  responsible  to upper management for meeting tasks on time and within the framework and direction of the company's vision.....yeah bullshit I know, but some folks just don't get it!

On a personal note, I firmly believe that it's the skill sets and experience that I developed as a young soldier which make me successfull as a LEO today. I find that most former soldiers entering the law enforcement field today have two attributes that you can't teach but that are developed , those being common sense and life experience.
Noneck is spot on. IMHO all employers are realizing, more and more, that technical skills can be taught: what they really need in employees is traits such as reliability, intelligence, initiative, ability to work as part of a team, and to understand and follow intent without micro-supervision. Military people (especially NCOs and officers) usually have these traits in spades. Many (especially younger) people out there today simply don't have these things. Most employers would kill for a good Inf MCpl, if they understood what that is.

Agree fully on the resume advice: don't use military terminology that nobody will understand. Instead, focus on those desireable traits, and translate your military experience into "civilianese". An excellent book for this (if you can find it...) is a US publication called "Does Your Resume Wear Combat Boots?" written by a former ComdSgtMaj of the US Army.

Good point about changing military terms on your resume to civy traits. I had one person sit and ask me over and over again what different things mean't. Also a good point to include your PER with your resume or at least bring it to the interview.
I have been told it helps, But I guess i am going to have to wait and see when i actually start applying for the POPO in a 1 year and a half
Military definately helps.  During my interview, all my examples were from the army and I passed with flying colors.  Having said that, ANY life experience is going to help you be a cop.  The one thing to be careful about is, try to show your initiative and intelligence.  There are still lots of people in the country who think members of the CF are dumb and just do what they are told.  We who have served know better, but you have to focus the "i" and "i".

My 2 cents.

I think it more what you make of your service. No police agency is going to look at your resume and see military service and say, oh he/she was in the military, short list him/her. Police agencies want life experience. I know a guy in the RCMP, they liked him because he was a manager at a convenience store, no military service. Many civilian jobs can give an advantage just like they military. That being said, someone with service will quite likely have confidence, especially in an interview, and odds are displayed responsibility and accountability in their job, which they would obviously like. You would also have experiences that most people in civilian world wouldn't have the opportunity to get, and police agencies often like that, and to see what makes you unique, what talents you have. Any time you have experiences that are unique that obviously will translate to good "life experience" Police agencies will often have on a FAQ or something that military experience does not make you a better or worse candidate that anyone else, simply because they don't want to and can't and shouldn't say yeah, he was in service so hes better than Joe Blow...whos to say it wont turn out that joe blow has traveled all over the world and speaks 4 languages yah know? You can't say your more qualified that anyone else, because its totally based on the individual.
len173 said:
I think it more what you make of your service.
see, now, here's the thing: a few posters have stated what they know based on personal experience. You jump in with conjecture apparently based on nothing, while contradicting the former.
paracowboy said:
see, now, here's the thing: a few posters have stated what they know based on personal experience. You jump in with conjecture apparently based on nothing, while contradicting the former.

Well...he started out by saying "I think...". Isn't that like saying "IMHO", or " I believe that...." ?

If most police forces really understood the military, I bet they would open a recruiting det outside every base. But, like most organizations today, from what I have seen they are probably full of people who never served in the CF and don't know much about it. In my (limited) dealings with various police services around the country as an ops planner, I have been amazed by how little knowledge and understanding of the military existed. I think that after OP GRIZZLY it may be getting better with the RCMP, but I'm still not surprised that people say that they "know" their local PS would not favour a military applicant. Why would they?

pbi said:
Well...he started out by saying "I think...". Isn't that like saying "IMHO", or " I believe that...." ?
exactly the same thing. So why do any of the above, when there is definitive evidence to the contrary? If one has concrete evidence that previous posts are incorrect, that would be entirely different, wouldn't it? So, rather than see him get flamed, I offered some guidance. I'm crazy like that.

If most police forces really understood the military, I bet they would open a recruiting det outside every base.
like the EPS, who have advertised for recruits in newspapers in both Edmonton Garrison and Petawawa? (Yeah, Pet. If my re-badge hadn't gone through, I was taking that route to get my wife home.) Or like Peel-Regional (the unofficial 5th RCR Battalion), and uses the Old Boy's Network to recruit? Or the Calgary Police Service, who have flyers put up in the Garrison gym here, in Edmonton?
The Calgary Police are, according to at least on constable I have breakfast with once a month, desperate for new recruits, so advertising in gyms may not be SOP when times are better.  Also worthy of note is the connection with the military - our current CO was recently a constable, and other members of our officers mess in recent years have been CPS. CPS recruits drill at our armoury on occasion and graduation parades are staged here. The latter ensures they are aware we exist, as to how much they "know" about us, the former suggests they are not completely ignorant to what we do. 
Ya'll make some good points about having military experience and getting into law enforcement. It's important to document your military experience in ways that a civilian HR manager will understand. When I first left active duty, I tried to get a job as a meter reader for our local electric utility. When I didn't get the job, I thought, "You have got to be kidding!" I spent about six or seven months in the job search and began to think my military service had no connection to the outside world. I applied with our local PD, mostly out of economic necessity. I almost couldn't believe it when I actually got hired. The hurdle is getting your foot in the door. Once you make it through the POPAT, all the assessment centers, etc, it's worth it if law enforcement is what you want to do.

After you get hired, you can leverage your military experience into expanding your duties and helping your department. I helped set up the patrol rifle program and am an armorer based, to a great extent, on my military experience. The attached picture of me at the range is just for fun...

PS- That vehicle in the back ground is a trash truck. Our range is on land right next to the county dump.
Right now it's an applicants market. There is just not enough qualified warm bodies out there.

There was a scathing article on the RCMP in MacLeans a few months back that highlighted the recruiting shortfall. Just last night there was a feature on the BCTV  news about 100 + senior members retiring from the VPD thats almost 10% of their strength and most of their senior patrol officers and specialized investigators.

I would hazard a guess that this is a nationwide problem. PARACOWBOY mentioned that EPS was recruiting at the Garrison in Edmonton and in Pet, I'll go one further....London England! My buddy went to one of thier recruiting info sessions in London (Even though it was mainly aimed toward serving British Police Officers) as he was just getting out of the Marines at the time. This is interesting as the last big influx of British police officers to Canada was in the late 60's early 70's...the cycle repeats itself.

If anyone on the board has every contemplated law enforcement as a career now is the time to apply! Don't limit yourself to one agency, apply to a bunch and when you get to the middle stages of the process the departments will be competing to hire you.

oh yeah! And as it was explained to me: any form of civic service stuff goes a long way to looking good on your application. On top of the physical and educational stuff, get involved in the community.

Even if you don't get picked up, at least you did something good for your fellow citizens.
Most definitely "Unpaid volunteer' service carries a lot of weight. Even more so if it's in a leadership or mentoring roll with youth. It DOESN'T need to be in a community police office, victim service organization  or crime watch type of position.

When I was applying the first time in 1994 I had the advise of a good friend who told me about the four minimum pillars to a successfull application;

1.Background- Clean with positive life experience.
2.Education- Some (at least 30-60 credits) to show a demonstrated ability to complete a course of academic study. Some police departments accept military experience in lieu of post secondary, Delta PD comes to mind.
3.Community service- Explained above
4.Health- Both physical and medical

Anything over and above this makes you more of a competitive applicant, things such as a foreign language, knowledge of different cultures, specialized training (Everything from a locksmith to an accountant). 

For those folks on this forum who are really interested in a career as an LEO there is a great reference site with information and threads for applicants. It's the Blueline.ca forum and its best described as to the Canadian police world what army.ca is to the CF world.

see, now, here's the thing: a few posters have stated what they know based on personal experience. You jump in with conjecture apparently based on nothing, while contradicting the former.

I do not base this on nothing. Far from it. I base it on several sessions i had with cst.'s and commissioned officers. ranging from inspector to superintendant in charge of the every detachment in North District.(Northern BC). These sessions were all simply question and answer periods where you get to pick the brains of senior officers and members to see what their opinions are on how to get in adn anything else you want to know about the RCMP.  And most of all i base it on a classroom lecture i atteneded at the RCMP youth academy three months ago. This lecture was given by the man in charge of recruiting for north district. The lecture was in short. "this is what were looking for in a candidiate. this is what you should do". I have probably done more research on this subject than most people out there. So i base this on far from nothing, that being said, I am far from an expert, the only people who know exactly what they want are the recruiters. But i am not some moron who just considers himself an authority on everything. I posted because i know a thing or two about it. I did not want to say THIS IS HOW IT IS PEOPLE. because with something like this it is impossible to say that. I apologize for not stating this is where i got my info eariler, my bad. there you have it, haha.
First off, is it my computer, or is the poll question screwed up?  I have both options as "99".  I assume they were supposed to be yes or no.  My vote would be "yes" BTW. 
It surprises me that anyone was told that their military experience would not help them.  Perhaps whomever the query was posed to thought it meant "will this guarantee me a job" and the short answer there is nothing does. 
Here in Windsor, the DND closed the old garrison, and built a new training facility in the west end.  Our Department jumped on the band wagon, and they now have a joint training facility.  Pretty decent set up for all parties concerned.  So the military and police have quite a bit of contact.  Here is a bit of UFI if anyone is interested :

As a generality, you need a good resume and life experience to get an interview.  The interview is the most critical part of the process, since the written and physical testing is more or less a pass/fail situation.  Having the benefit of being from the military can help you in the interview IMO since you end up being afforded opportunities to exercise leadership and problem solving while in (already mentioned I think).  If you pass the interview(s) then it comes down to who is the most competitive.  That is where your community service/volunteer work comes in.  Since upon hiring you the city will be paying you to serve the community, it would be nice to see how you have done that on your own. 
I don't believe having military experience could ever hurt your chances.