POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 25 POLICE TRAINING COSTS TIME AND MONEY By Frank Zakem commentary I am old enough to remember that in order to get hired on the city police force, you had to be over 200 pounds, be a good hockey player and have a connection at City Hall. Thankfully things have changed over the years. Policing has become an important profession that requires unique qualifications of those desiring to enter the field. When I was elected to city council in 1964, training for police officers in the region was inadequate. Police officers were often trained on the job or through short courses arranged by their departments. At the annual meeting of the Maritime Provinces Chamber of Commerce in Charlottetown in June of 1970, the chief of police for te City of Chatham, N.B., Dan Allan, put forward a resolution asking that support be given to establish formal training for police officers in the region. I represented the city at the chamber meeting and I became very interested and excited with Chief Allan’s resolution and the support the chamber gave. I was chair of the police committee at the time. Chief Sterns Webster and I were quite anxious to provide our police some formal training. I joined Holland College in 1970 to set up the business administration program. Chief Webster and I approached Dr. Glendenning and discussed police training and Chief Allan’s resolution. We invited Chief Allan to the college to discuss his vision, an advisory committee of the police was established, and an analysis of the skills required for municipal policing were identified. The college moved quickly. It hired W.J.R (Mac) MacDonald who was able to professionally put together a one-year program. In february 1971, The First 15 students, including three females, began their training in the new police technology program at Holland College. The police program went through a lot of ‘growing pains’ but eventually became the Atlantic Police Academy funded by the four provinces and is now recognized by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and the Canadian Professional Police Association. I was prompted to write this letter when I read that the Charlottetown Police Report identified that the police required more training. If you read the courses required for the current cadet program you will find the following outline: •Police vehicle operation and speed measurement devices. •Police reporting systems and computer literacy. •Occupational safety for police. •Intervention and use of force: restraints and intermediate weapons. •Judgmental use of force simulation training. •Police firearm proficiency and tactical training. •Police physical abilities development. •On the job training workplace experience program. •Law; criminal code and Federal Statues 1 and 2. •Principals of traffic services. •Psychology: Police applied social sciences. •Sociology: Police applied social sciences and community based policing. •Criminal investigations 1 and 2. This seems like a very comprehensive program and should produce a good qualified police officer. I could be wrong, but the problem, as I see it, is that this is only a 25-week program and 10 of those weeks are on-the-job training. That leaves 15 weeks for all the other courses. There is no way you can do justice to the profession in 25 weeks. My recollection is that our first cadet program was a one-year program. Even that was too short 37 years ago. With more complex problems in our society such as drug problems, family breakdown and disputes, sensitivity to our diverse population and the importance of communications between the police and the public, one would think that the 25 week program for police training would be far from adequate. One of the big problems is the cost of training. It costs $16,250 tuition. Add on room and board and the total comes to almost $25,000. Double the time of the training and you can almost double the cost of training. Next to our family, church and school, the police profession will likely have the most impact on our daily lives. We owe it to our citizens to have a well-trained proficient police department and we owe it to our police to ensure they have the opportunity to keep up and improve their skills. It’s time to think outside the box to see how the 25week cadet program can be expanded to allow the cadets more time to cover their courses. At the same time there should be, if it is not already in place, an in-house refresher course to help our police to keep abreast of the latest advances in the police field. Frank Zakem is a former Mayor of Charlottetown. Originally Published Tuesday, March 31, 2009 The Guardian Next to our family, church and school, the police profession will likely have the most impact on our daily lives I D.A.R.E. you Constable Gary Clow accepts a donation from Blair Cutcliff, Charlottetown Y’s Men’s Club. The Y’s Men’s Club made a $2000 donation towards the Drug Abuse R e s i s t a n c e E d u c a t i o n ( D . A . R . E . ) program for elementary school Grade 6 students.