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Policing

The Job

Police work is often routine, sometimes dangerous – but always important.

A police officer is expected to be many things to many different people. In the course of a shift you might conduct an investigation and make an arrest, and just hours later console a family over the death of a loved one. You won't be doing the easy tasks, because the police are usually called when nobody else is able or willing to step forward.

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Every shift, VPD officers make decisions both big and small. You'll be autonomous in how you handle calls, while being guided by the law, the VPD's policies, and your own common sense. That's why we're looking for people who can think independently and have strong communication and interpersonal skills.

No two calls will ever be the same, and at the start of a shift you never know what your day will hold. While others might cringe at that prospect, it's exactly what attracts most of our officers to this job. Best of all, you'll work with other talented, dynamic people and form a unique bond with your co-workers.

Technical Aspects of Policing

To be an effective police officer, you're going to need a sound knowledge of the law and modern policing methods.

You will learn:

  • portions of the Criminal Code of Canada
  • the Motor Vehicle Act
  • other federal and provincial statutes
  • the VPD's departmental policies and procedures

As a police officer, you will evaluate situations based on your knowledge, experience, and available information when determining if a crime has occurred and who committed that crime. In some cases, you will need to exercise discretion and tact in persuading people to comply with directions so that an arrest is not necessary.

At crime scenes, you'll pay close attention to detail and make observations on suspects and the crime scene itself. You will gather relevant physical evidence and ensure that it remains safe and uncontaminated. Often, you'll be required to visualize and recall an event after the fact so it can be documented accurately, possibly for court purposes.

Physical Demands

Given the physical demand of police work, you must recognize the importance of maintaining a high level of fitness.

Whether you are patrolling by bicycle, chasing a suspect on foot, or driving in an emergency situation, being physically fit will give you a necessary advantage.

In addition to knowing arrest and control tactics, you will be trained to handle and care for a variety of firearms and to operate police vehicles in emergency situations. You may go for extended periods without drawing your firearm in the field; however, you must be prepared to use deadly force to protect yourself or others from grievous bodily harm or death.

Challenges & Risks

Police work isn't without its risks. Although high-stress and risky situations are the exception rather than the rule, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Long periods of routine tasks can be suddenly interrupted by an urgent call requiring immediate intervention.

Today's recruits are the best trained and best equipped in the history of the Vancouver Police Department. That training, and experience, will help you evaluate situations to ensure an appropriate level of response. At times you will deal with people who are intoxicated, high on drugs or mentally unstable and, on occasion, people may direct their hostility at you. Again, your training and experience will ensure you are able to respond professionally to any situation.

Remember, with these risks come rewards, although they can't all be measured in dollars and cents. Saving a life, making a difference, taking a criminal off the streets: these are your everyday rewards.

Working Environment

Patrol officers in the VPD work shifts with four working days followed by four days off.

Our shifts are between 11 and 12 hours, depending on the shift. You'll work rotating shifts, meaning you won't have to switch between days and nights in the same week as most other agencies do. Instead our officers work an entire week of the same shift, allowing your body to better adjust.

The majority of our officers work in partnerships, so you'll often have a partner to work with. The strong bonds forged with your co-workers mean many of your workmates will become lifelong friends.

Salary and Benefits

The Vancouver Police Department's salary and benefits package is considered one of the most generous of all Canadian police forces.

Our pension plan ranks among the best government and private sector plans in terms of eligibility and monthly payments.

You'll start with three weeks per year of vacation per year with the opportunity to take overtime hours as additional vacation time. Plus you'll be paid and receiving benefits while you train at the Police Academy.

Annual Salaries

Effective 2013:

  • Probationary Constable – $60,008
  • 4th Class Constable (after 1 year) – $64,272
  • 3rd Class Constable (after 2 years) – $68,577
  • 2nd Class Constable (after 3 years) –$77,126
  • 1st Class Constable (after 4 years) – $85,716

Salary Levels for 1st Class Constable

  • after 10 years – $90,002
  • after 15 years – $94,288
  • after 20 years – $98,571

Benefits

  • three weeks paid holidays to start
  • medical and dental benefits package
  • membership in the BC Municipal Pension Plan
  • all uniforms and equipment provided
  • uniform and plainclothes drycleaning provided

Career Diversity

Graduates from the Police Academy are assigned to the Patrol Division for the initial five to seven years of their career.

In Patrol, you can hone your policing skills and have an opportunity to experience diverse assignments such as bicycle patrol, undercover duties, plainclothes patrol, community liaison and special enforcement projects.

Our frontline officers conduct the majority of criminal investigations in the City of Vancouver. You'll have the chance to prepare reports to Crown Counsel on a variety of issues and present your evidence in court. You'll be the first on scene at the biggest calls and events in the City of Vancouver.

After the mandatory period in the Patrol Division, your previous policing work or your educational background will enhance your suitability for transfer to specialty squads:

Secondment to other agencies is also possible. These agencies include the B.C. Police Academy and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit - B.C.

Advancement

Just as you're competing for a position as a police officer, you can compete for promotion to higher ranks.

Supervisory Positions

The first promotion from Constable is to the rank of Sergeant. Patrol teams, specialty squads and other work units are supervised by Sergeants. Some technical administrative positions are also filled by Sergeants. Newly promoted Sergeants tend to have at least 15 years of service.

Managerial Positions

Inspectors head sections such as Patrol Districts, Major Crime, and Traffic. Newly promoted inspectors tend to have at least 22 years of service.

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VPD Blog: Behind the Blue Line

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Follow VPD Cst. Sandra Glendinning and her police service dog Hondo as she blogs about life Behind the Blue Line.

VPD Blog: Eastside Stories

Read about life as a VPD officer on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in Cst. Steve Addison's Eastside Stories: Diary of a Beat Cop.

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