The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) is always looking for potential new recruits, but finding the right candidates sometimes proves difficult.
Const. John Wilcox of the recruiting section said the department is currently looking to fill nine positions left vacant by the retirement or resignation of existing officers.
But he said many applicants don’t do enough research to meet even the basic criteria – for example, they don’t have basic first aid or they haven’t had an eye exam within the last six months.
Human resources director Patricia Coldrey Lo said another area where they are often unprepared is the grueling Peace Officers Physical Abilities Testing (POPAT), which includes obstacles, jumps, an agility bar, an 80-pound push-pull exercise and a 100-pound bag carry.
“I think people who are new to the program aren’t aware of how rigorous this physical test is,” she said.
The test must be completed within four minutes and 15 seconds, and applicants are also required to finish a 2.4 km run following the completion of the POPAT.
Wilcox said although many people are fit enough to complete the run, they underestimate the stamina and strength needed to finish the POPAT.
He advised interested applicants to thoroughly review all the steps of the selection process.
“The key is to be prepared for every one of them before you hit ‘submit’ on your application,” Wilcox said.
He and Coldrey Lo said they are hoping to draw more people to the APD, and they want to dispel any myths that policing in the “city in the country” is not as busy or interesting as elsewhere.
“There are not (police officers) sitting around here watching cows in the fields,” Wilcox said.
Video billboard signs at the Port Mann and Pattullo bridges and in Abbotsford state “Fight crime, not traffic” – a message to encourage applicants to either stay in the community or to move here from other areas and avoid having to commute.
Wilcox and Coldrey Lo also emphasize that Abbotsford is an affordable place to live and a “great place to raise your family.”
Information about the selection process and all the required steps is on the APD website at abbypd.ca under the “careers” tab. Interested people can apply at any time.
The APD is also holding an information session for prospective applicants on Wednesday, March 16 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Clearbrook Library (32320 George Ferguson Way).
Those planning to attend should RSPV to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 11.