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RCMP officers told not to wear symbol depicting ‘thin blue line’

Colin Parkinson

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I worked with some excellent NCO's that had been given the army option by the judge. I also know a few RCMP that started out as troubled kids and decided to clean up their act and become police officers, because of the way they were treated by firm but fair officer.
 

Jarnhamar

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Should someone charged with sexual assault, breach of trust, assault with a weapon, assault, criminal harassment, pointing a firearm and forcible confinement by 7 different victims be given an option to join the military instead of jail time?
 

Haggis

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Should someone charged with sexual assault, breach of trust, assault with a weapon, assault, criminal harassment, pointing a firearm and forcible confinement by 7 different victims be given an option to join the military instead of jail time?
Charged is not convicted. They should be afforded the same opportunity as any other applicant, until the time when they are found guilty by a court.

Once convicted, and their sentence served, it is up to the recruiting system to deem them suitable. Or not.
 

lenaitch

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Even the city I worked for, interviewed potential employees. And it wasn't one-on-one.

It was an Oral Board ( a panel of five interviewers ).

A stressful and toxic experience. The interviewers were cold and unpleasant.

It was a technique to test how the applicant handled stress by taking them out of their comfort zone.

Of course that was long before websites such as this that tell applicants what to expect , and how to handle themselves, during the Interview. Even how to dress.

It was just them playing a little game with you.

I was already used to getting yelled at in the PRes anyway. :)

Another thing was different in the emergency services was that, prior to the early 1980's, new members tended to be under the age of 25.

I read that, now, "Joining the RCMP as a second career isn't unusual — the average age of a cadet at Depot, the RCMP's national training centre, is 28."

( By comparison, In New York City, recruits must be under the age of 29. )

Seems to be more about "Life Experience" now.

Back then, the belief seemed to be that it should not be the second career of an individual. That young men ( as it was at the time ) were more "moldable" than older individuals to the departmental subculture. And that young individuals were less likely to have developed bad habits.

This was in line with the CAF SSEP program. Where your BMQ ( GMT back then ) was all 16-year olds such as yourself. You went on to take your trade training with that same age group.

Lots of jobs were like that back them. Especially if you had a family "legacy".

Not to suggest back then was better, or worse, than now. Just different.

I don't know how true it was but I was once told that, back in the day, the RCMP felt the ideal recruit was a farm boy who didn't even have a driver's licence so they could teach him to do everything, their way. When I joined my service in the '70s, it was not unusual for members to have a few working years under their belt; perhaps not a career, but a job - carpenter, truck driver, etc. Even today, I would take 'life experience' over somebody who went from high school to post secondary any day, but I was never in recruiting, just lived with the ones they sent.

Charged is not convicted. They should be afforded the same opportunity as any other applicant, until the time when they are found guilty by a court.

Once convicted, and their sentence served, it is up to the recruiting system to deem them suitable. Or not.
In CAF, does not having charges before the court put an applicant's file in the 'over here' pile until it is dealt with?
 

Jarnhamar

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Charged is not convicted. They should be afforded the same opportunity as any other applicant, until the time when they are found guilty by a court.

Once convicted, and their sentence served, it is up to the recruiting system to deem them suitable. Or not.
True. I was thinking more along the lines of the plea deal from the story I spoke to earlier as in not all sentences are a good fit to give the option of joining the CAF. I'm shocked at how the justice system seems to work.
 

brihard

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Charged is not convicted. They should be afforded the same opportunity as any other applicant, until the time when they are found guilty by a court.

Once convicted, and their sentence served, it is up to the recruiting system to deem them suitable. Or not.
No, not necessarily. Criminal convictions are held to a very high standard, and often end up detached from the objective facts. Those discerned facts, gained through investigation, can and should absolutely be enough to inform a public organization as to whether an applicant should be given the necessary security clearance for policing. In the RCMP at least, any officer could quite easily end up incidentally privy to information at the levels of Protected C or Secret, if not higher. Decisions for reliability status / security clearance can and should be made with more fulsome consideration of recorded behaviour beyond just what someone can be convicted of.
 
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Haggis

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In CAF, does not having charges before the court put an applicant's file in the 'over here' pile until it is dealt with?
Jarnhamar wasn't specific on the outcome of the charges. If the charges are pending, yes, the file goes into a "wait and see how this turns out" pile. . If the charges were withdrawn, no. However, the applicant's security screening may unearth unsavoury behaviour which would result in a rejection, you'd hope.

EDIT: Brihard beat me to it, but in more detail.
 

mariomike

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Even today, I would take 'life experience' over somebody who went from high school to post secondary any day, but I was never in recruiting, just lived with the ones they sent.
Times have changed. Where I worked the two-year college diploma is mandatory to even apply now. Those with the four-year U of T degree go to the front of the line.

But, back then you could hire on with Metro Police ( as a Cadet ), or the Metro Emergency Services at age 18. Right after graduation from a Toronto high school.
( There was a Residency Requirement at the time. )

The main thing was to get into the academy ASAP. That was when your pay, seniority, sick bank, pension, vacation credit, probation etc. all started.

I was in the PRes. Perhaps that got me a few points during the Interview.

At the time, we came under the watchful under the watchful eyes of the ’46ers – post-war era, hard-nosed old vets who were big on, and instilled, the military values, which the departments followed to a high degree back then.
 

lenaitch

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Times have changed. Where I worked the two-year college diploma is mandatory to even apply now. Those with the four-year U of T degree go to the front of the line.

But, back then you could hire on with Metro Police ( as a Cadet ), or the Metro Emergency Services at age 18. Right after graduation from a Toronto high school.
( There was a Residency Requirement at the time. )

The main thing was to get into the academy ASAP. That was when your pay, seniority, sick bank, pension, vacation credit, probation etc. all started.

I was in the PRes. Perhaps that got me a few points during the Interview.

At the time, we came under the watchful under the watchful eyes of the ’46ers – post-war era, hard-nosed old vets who were big on, and instilled, the military values, which the departments followed to a high degree back then.

I suppose it depends on the profession. I still think life experience has merit (and so do many recruiters) and you can get both - a two or three year program plus a couple of years 'in the world' and still apply in mid-20s. I was channeling what some recruiters have mentioned: kid goes from high school to a local post secondary so they can live from home and brings very little to the table except a sheepskin.

Actually, with many Ontario police services, the various 'police foundations', 'police sciences', etc. programs are losing their aura; they are finding that they are not producing the maturing, problem solving and other skill sets they are seeking. I imagine with EMS there are a lot more technical/practical skills. I have no idea how the various post secondary fire course are faring.
 

Haggis

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The oldest recruit I have personally seen in my Agency's program was 61 years old. Some of the jobs/careers people have held before joining us are fascinating.
 

mariomike

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I think a problem the police, military and other professions are facing is the "Baby Boom" generation is retiring ( if they haven't already ).

Since subsequent generations are typically much smaller, I imagine the employers are experiencing difficulty in recruiting suitably trained replacement staff.
 

brihard

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I think a problem the police, military and other professions are facing is the "Baby Boom" generation is retiring ( if they haven't already ).

Since subsequent generations are typically much smaller, I imagine the employers are experiencing difficulty in recruiting suitably trained replacement staff.
Yup. And as soon as RCMP see the pretty sizeable pay hike that’s gonna be coming soon, there will be a glut of retirements as soon as ‘best five’ pensionable years are boosted. That’s gonna be an ugly staffing crunch. There are a lot of members just hanging on til the raise hits and pumps their pension.
 

lenaitch

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The oldest recruit I have personally seen in my Agency's program was 61 years old. Some of the jobs/careers people have held before joining us are fascinating.

Apparently not there to build pension points.
 

Haggis

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Apparently not there to build pension points.
One recruit I remember quite well was a former locomotive engineer for 20 years. He said the job paid him a generous salary with tons of OT but the stress was through the roof.
 

mariomike

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One recruit I remember quite well was a former locomotive engineer for 20 years. He said the job paid him a generous salary with tons of OT but the stress was through the roof.
Sorry to hear that. My father was a VIA Rail locomotive engineer from 1946 to 1991. Joined straight out of the Navy. Assigned to high speed passenger trains out of Union Station. Same as his father before him. It's a good job.
 

Alberta Bound

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Yes and no.

I absolutely think we can do ‘better than average’ in terms of the conduct and values of who we bring in. Part of that would come from a solid recruiting and vetting process that identifies and weeds out people with overt problems. Largely this is achieved already, though not fully. The bigger challenge will be the covert dirtbags- those with an unrecorded history of domestic violence; the rare few who get busted years later for child porn, etc.

A lot of the biggest issues seem to come from those who develop problematic behaviour along the way. The ones who become abusive in their power, who become abusive to a romantic partner, who develop addictions that they fund through corrupt processes. I believe a lot of this ties to the mental health baggage that cops pick up and carry along the way (not unlike some of CAF’s discipline cases).

Now I’m not saying that mental health problems excuse bad conduct. Far from it. Those here who actually know me, know be to be a big advocate of mental health awareness, and also know me to value accountability for behaviour. If a police officer starts sliding mentally and starts making poor choices, they own their choices- but their police employer still owns the problem. I think there’s a lot more room for some serious early intervention and ‘tough love’ when it becomes apparent that conduct is beginning to show concerning behaviours. Get those muckled on to before they become a pattern. I think investment into mental health care for police officers, coupled with the expectation that it be utilized, would have a considerable return in terms of saved costs, and public perception.
I totally agree that we need better mental health supports. Some of the down the road issues are directly tied to some of the working and living conditions that we let our members and their families suffer through. Again not an excuse, just what it is. The end product of “do more with less, again and again, in places that other people won’t go to”.

But I know we are also having serious issues on the recruiting side. It is the perfect storm. I think we are sitting at 131 of the 135 Police Services in Canada In pay, down grading of our benefits, increase in our pension costs. Add in reduced isolated post benefits, increased rents for Force Housing, etc. So financially we have no incentive.
Now combine that with a change in people’s attitudes. Why live in a community where you can’t buy a house and get some equity, your spouse has reduced or no employment options, your kids have reduced or no community options.
The sense of adventure is not there like it used to be.

if your option is better pay/etc and better home life options and include a slow recruiting system. I think many of the best candidates are going to other services right now.
 

Haggis

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Sorry to hear that. My father was a VIA Rail locomotive engineer from 1946 to 1991. Joined straight out of the Navy. Assigned to high speed passenger trains out of Union Station. Same as his father before him. It's a good job.
This fellow ran freight in western Canada. He said that due to staff shortages, many engineers and conductors were rode hard and put away wet.
 

Weinie

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I totally agree that we need better mental health supports. Some of the down the road issues are directly tied to some of the working and living conditions that we let our members and their families suffer through. Again not an excuse, just what it is. The end product of “do more with less, again and again, in places that other people won’t go to”.

But I know we are also having serious issues on the recruiting side. It is the perfect storm. I think we are sitting at 131 of the 135 Police Services in Canada In pay, down grading of our benefits, increase in our pension costs. Add in reduced isolated post benefits, increased rents for Force Housing, etc. So financially we have no incentive.
Now combine that with a change in people’s attitudes. Why live in a community where you can’t buy a house and get some equity, your spouse has reduced or no employment options, your kids have reduced or no community options.
The sense of adventure is not there like it used to be.

if your option is better pay/etc and better home life options and include a slow recruiting system. I think many of the best candidates are going to other services right now.
A good friend of mine spent 10 years in the RCMP, most of it in northern communities. His wife, a RN, struggled to find work, or lurched from contract to contract. He finally had enough in the early nineties, and moved back to our local municipal force.

He retired last year after spending 6 years as Chief, his wife was the head of nursing in her branch at our local hospital.

He doesn't regret his decision.
 

Eaglelord17

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The issue with the police at the moment is people are becoming more aware of the bad stuff going on in the background that historically wasn't brought to light. Plenty of examples of serious police misconduct that have resulted in next to no punishment. Things such as pulling a firearm on a fellow officer because you were mad and only getting reassigned with a few days pay taken, to having a police officer almost beat a non-resisting man to death, dragging him cell to cell well a superior officer watched, then finally bringing him to the hospital where he almost died. A abuse of force that even the judge ruled it was excessive force (which is exceptionally rare for a judge to say so). Meanwhile the SIU had taken a look at the case twice and found no issue. Ultimate punishment for this scumbag of a cop (whose father was once the police chief) was loss of two days pay.

Things that would land a average citizen in jail result in next to no punishment for a cop, that needs to change. If anything it should be the opposite. As a police officer you are entrusted with some huge responsibilities and if you can't meet them you need to be removed from the position as quickly as possible.
 
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