Police in need of recruits fight for U of C students

By Rhiannon Kirkland

Police recruiters can’t get enough of University of Calgary students. Last week the Vancouver Police Department set up a booth at the U of C to recruit police officers. On top of this, Alberta police departments have begun a project to try to get university students to consider careers in policing.

The Recruiting Alberta Police Initiative was launched across Alberta in September. University students designed recruiting campaigns for youth to develop a new perspective and increase knowledge of policing in our community.

“The Recruiting Alberta Police Initiative’s main goal is to develop a unique marketing strategy designed by post-secondary students targeting post-secondary students to increase that awareness of career opportunities with policing services,” said Calgary Police staff sergeant Craig Skeleton.

Skeleton works with marketing students at the U of C as part of this initiative. They are developing a brand for the Calgary Police Department and making it more youth friendly by using websites and social networking.

“We get a unique perspective that we’re not always privy to that is the perspective of youth,” said Skeleton. “It’s valuable to enter into these kinds of partnerships with the students to work towards a rather meaningful goal for the province and for the city.”

The Vancouver Police Department was also on campus last week, trying to recruit U of C students at a booth near Career Planning.

“We just wanted to reach out to students and see if any of them were interested in a career in policing,” said Vancouver detective Jason Tremblay. “If they were, we let them know the benefits that a career with the Vancouver police would have.”

The Vancouver Police Depart-ment’s efforts are a part of new recruitment campaign sparked by the planned addition of 110 new officers over the next eight months as a part of the city’s preparation for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

“We’re finding that recently we’re not getting the same amount of applications that we have been getting in past years,” said Tremblay. “You’ve got to start thinking outside of the box and start reaching out, looking at other places where you can find potential applicants.”

Tremblay believes they had trouble filling these additional positions because the economy is hot and unemployment is low.

“At the Vancouver Police, we have very successful police officers that did come out of the U of C,” said Tremblay.

He added there isn’t a shortage of police officers in the Vancouver area, arguing the problem isn’t with current numbers, but with a shortage of applicants for positions that have recently been added.

In Calgary, recruits are needed to ensure a maintained level of safety.

“We do have growth that is happening in the city [and] we certainly have a need for additional police officers to combat some of the issues that we’re faced with,” said Skeleton. “I’m sure that the other municipalities in the province are facing similar challenges.”

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