A look at law enforcement recruitment challenges
November 17, 2023 By Brittani Schroeder
We’ve just about made it through another year—can you believe it? Somehow, January through October raced by, and now we’re left with a little over a month before 2024 makes its grand entrance. I’ve had the honour of meeting so many members of law enforcement throughout 2023, at events, police departments and out in the community, and I can’t wait to meet more of you in the near future.
In October, I co-hosted the first-ever Career Expo West, where Blue Line’s Security • Police • Fire Career Expo ventured to Calgary, Alta. The event was a great success and it had me thinking about why these events are so important for the emergency services industry.
Law enforcement has faced significant challenges for several years when it comes to recruitment. The ever-changing public perception of police officers has taken a turn for the worse in recent years, which has not been helped by events taking place in the United States. In a recent conversation with Chief Mike Callaghan of the Belleville Police Service, he said, “Whether we’d like to admit it or not, we’re heavily influenced by U.S. media and culture. I know that when we’ve done outreach programs to try to encourage members to apply to the police, they said ‘You could not pay me enough to do that job. Why would I want to be under constant scrutiny and judgement? It’s not worth it.’ So, police services have that to contend with.”
In April, the Ontario government made two significant changes in the hopes of drawing more people to a career in law enforcement. It was announced that basic constable training tuition fees at the Ontario Police College would be removed, and that the requirement for post-secondary education was also eliminated. Both of these moves make policing more accessible to a wider range of the greater population.
The law enforcement industry has faced significant challenges for several years when it comes to recruitment.
It is a promising sign that recruitment challenges are being considered at the provincial level, and not just municipally.
It’s important to remember while revamping recruitment campaigns to get out into the community, attend events and be visible to potential applicants; start speaking with people about the job and what it entails. I think that’s why events like the Security • Police • Fire Career Expo are so important: any attendee can learn from those who are already in the industry about what they can expect, and they can see for themselves who is looking to hire. There are dedicated mentoring sessions where one-on-one conversations can be had, and mock interview sessions to get an understanding of what is being looked for.
In 2024, we’re bringing the Security • Police • Fire Career Expo to three locations, so emergency service organizations can reach more people. In March, we will return to Mississauga, in May we will move to Vancouver, and in October we will host the event in Edmonton.
New recruits can come from anywhere—a recent graduate, or someone who is looking for a career change and wants to serve their community. Making the connection with them is just the first step.
As we head into 2024, I wish you all the best in your recruitment efforts. Always keep in mind that if there is a topic that you think we should be talking about, please reach out to me at any time (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Until next time, happy reading, happy holidays and be well.
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