The RCMP needs to fill close to 1,000 positions a year for the foreseeable future and detachments based in the NWT are looking in their own backyards.
Cpl. Wendy Picknell was in Hay River last week for a recruitment presentation at the new fire hall. Although only three people attended, she said she was pleased with the turnout.
“We’re always trying to recruit qualified people from all different backgrounds,” she said. “Right now, the RCMP are really looking to recruit women, aboriginal people, and visible minorities.”
Picknell explained that while everyone writes the same entrance exams for the program and must pass the same physical requirements, the hiring policy is to break applicants down into categories and then hire the best from those groups.
But that’s just the beginning of the process. Picknell explained the training process as rigorous and requiring dedication. She also noted that although officers have to be willing to move anywhere in Canada, posting in the North is entirely voluntary, with only the top graduates accepted right out of Depot, which is the RCMP’s training facility in Regina.
There are some challenges in hiring Northern recruits, Picknell said, who is based in Yellowknife and is the only recruitment officer in the territory. She noted one of the biggest things people don’t realize is a requirement is a valid, unrestricted drivers’ licence.
She said although presentations in the capital can draw an average of 10 people, events in the communities typically pull in about half that figure.
Scott Hendrickson attended the session in Hay River last week and said he found it informative.
“The videos were pretty motivating,” he said. “You could see how rewarding being an RCMP officer would be.”
Picknell was keen to promote the program to people who are under-represented in the police force and said that although there is currently a focus on three specific groups, all qualified applicants would be duly considered.
“It’s not that we’re lowering our standards, it’s that there are more positions to fill,” she explained. “It’s great to be travelling around, getting the message out there, and we’re starting to see the results.”