Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Personal Development (or a follow-up to my most frequently asked question.)

Most people get home from a long day at work or school and need to give their precious time to the people most important to them, their family. With a policing application you need to have a balance amongst all aspects of your life, this means you must demonstrate a commitment to your community, volunteering is expected of you and you need to fit it in somewhere. Volunteering can manifest itself in such a large variety of ways. Don’t get anxious or worked up about it, if you have just begun the testing process or are preparing for testing, now is the time to get on those volunteer experiences. For instance, to volunteer as a big brother or sister you need to commit to a minimum of one year. If you don’t have the time to consistently volunteer yourself then look for volunteer opportunities where you volunteer for one day at an event where you don’t have to make an extended commitment. This could include the kids school, a local church, community centre, maybe you volunteer your time to a fundraising cancer research car wash. Local fundraisers and community projects typically offer these kinds of one or two day volunteer experiences. Get yourself out there and research opportunities within your community. Also, never overlook the possibility of getting your family and friends involved, volunteering can be fun events. Services look toward those who have a balance in their lives, education, family, work, giving back to the community. You must fulfill this criteria to some satisfaction in order to make it. This doesn’t mean that someone with little to no volunteer experience will not make it or get a call. They do, however, in many instances when they’re waiting to move on to the next interview stage, have a background investigation or are waiting for their offer of employment they get rejection letters because someone else was a more competitive candidate. Don’t let this happen to you, there is absolutely no reason why a lack of volunteering should hinder you in getting hired.

Let’s talk about a different aspect of personal development. Have you ever taken a defensive driving class? You need your full G license for all Ontario Police Services and I highly recommend a defensive driving class, it’s a great way to increase your driving confidence and develop some skills you may be rusty with. Have you ever handled a firearm or handgun before? In Canada in order to go to a shooting range and fire a handgun in a calibre larger than that meant for squirrel and rabbit hunting you must posses a valid Possession Acquisition License (PAL). PAL’s come in non-restricted only or both non-restricted and restricted. Restricted firearms are all handguns with an exception to some that have barrels so short they are prohibited, less than 106mm. Non-restricted firearms are most rifles and shotguns. In order to have a restricted PAL you must take the course for non-restricted. Regardless of whether you are a law enforcement officer or not you must follow the same rules as citizens and have a valid license in order to privately own a firearm. Many Police Constables purchase the same pistol they are issued on the job to practice or compete with. Typically this will either be a Glock or SiG. Typically chambered in .40 S&W. I am a great advocate of the shooting sports and highly recommend getting your non-restricted, restricted PAL if for nothing more than to learn to identify ammunition, identify the types of firearms and understand how those firearms operate in addition to safe handling. This includes loading, unloading, how to prove that they’re safe, and many other very interesting facts about ballistics, safety and general information on firearms including the specifics about Canadian firearms law. During my testing process I took the non-restricted and restricted PAL courses merely for personal development. I had never had any interest in firearms, seen a real firearm outside of a rifle rack at Canadian Tire or a museum let alone touched one or fired one! The PAL course was a huge learning experience. I also must admit, I’ve really come to love shooting as a sport.

A few messages have come in since last weeks post asking if all this development is really necessary. It is! I hate to hark back on a subject I wrote so much about only the week before as I’m sure you’re all probably sick of it but think of who a Police Constable is; I believe it’s a proactive person. So, yes, take any and all training available at your workplace, demonstrate that you are committed to developing yourself, maybe take the new guy under your wing at work, demonstrate your willingness to help, support and share with others to see them grow. You may find yourself asking that question all over again “Is all this going to get me hired?” Well, yes. You’re making experiences that develop your competencies, fill your resume and most importantly these things combined make you a more competitive applicant!

No comments: