Most CPS members will likely tell you that as an officer, no two days are the same. It can be routine, it can be challenging, it can be dangerous, but it is always meaningful and important.
A police officer is expected to do many things and play a variety of different roles. In the course of your duties, you may conduct traffic stops, investigate crimes, develop important preventative strategies, or deal with grieving or distressed families. Police work isn’t easy. People don’t call the police when things are going well. What makes this career worthwhile is that police officers are willing to deal with the difficult parts of life, making a real difference in people’s lives.
While always accountable to the community and the chain of command, police officers are also given autonomy to make decisions, big and small. These often need to be made quickly, and under pressure. You’ll be given the knowledge, training and guidance needed to perform your duties, but your own life experience, people skills and common sense are equally important part of being a good police officer. A career with the CPS means countless opportunities. The challenges constantly vary and rewards can be seen everywhere. That’s what appeals to our officers – the opportunity for change and growth.
Effective police officers need a strong foundation in knowledge of the law and modern community-based policing methods. You will learn portions of the Criminal Code of Canada, the Traffic Safety Act, other federal and provincial statutes and CPS departmental policies and procedures.
Day-to-day, this forms the basis of knowledge you need to evaluate information and determine the course of action for any given situation you will encounter. In some cases, exercising discretion and relying on your interpersonal skills to resolve conflicts is all that is required. In other cases, arrest is necessary.
It goes without saying that maintaining a high level of fitness is a must, given the physical nature of police work. Being physically fit allows you to best serve the community and your fellow officers. CPS has a team of highly-qualified fitness trainers whose job it is to ensure you can perform the functions of a police officer. They take their job seriously and are committed to helping create and maintain a healthy workforce.
CPS patrol officers generally work shifts with four working days followed by four days off. Our shifts vary between 8 and 12 hours. You will switch between days and nights during your week, and have various starting times depending on the rotation.
Salary and Benefits
The CPS has a very competitive salary and benefits package. You'll start with three weeks per year of vacation per year (pro-rated) with the opportunity to take overtime hours as additional vacation time. Plus you'll receive full pay and benefits while you receive training.
For the first five years of an officer’s career, salaries increase every year, as they move up in class.
Annual Salaries (as of 2013):
Fifth Class Constable - $59,404.18
Fourth Class Constable - $66,715.44
Third Class Constable - $77,682.36
Second Class Constable - $84,993.72
First Class Constable - $91,391.04
Other benefits of working at the Calgary Police Service:
- Comprehensive health and wellness programs, such as fitness facilities in most CPS buildings. A family doctor and chiropractor are available to members and their immediate families.
- Ongoing education and development opportunities, including funding for approved post
- Pension eligibility after 25 years.
Recruit class graduates are assigned to one of the city’s districts for the initial first few years of their career. On patrol, officers will be involved in a wide variety of experiences, all of which make for continual development of your skill sets. There are often opportunities for assignment to areas within the districts, such as Mountain Bike Patrol, District Response Teams, Community Liaison Officers and special enforcement projects.
After some time working in patrol, officers have the option to use the skills and knowledge to specialize in other areas of the Service. Various opportunities exist for lateral movement and advancement, depending on suitability.
Some specialty areas include:
- Auto Theft Team
- Air Support Unit
- Beat Patrol
- Canine Unit
- Centralized General Investigations Section
- Crime Prevention Team
- Diversity Resource Team
- Domestic Conflict Unit
- Elder Abuse Team
- Firearms Support Team
- Forensic Crime Scene Unit
- Fraud Team
- High Risk Offender Program
- Homicide Unit
- Integrated Child Exploitation
- Multi-Agency School Support Team
- Public Safety Communications
- Public Safety Unit
- Real Time Operation Centre
- Recruiting Unit
- Robbery Unit
- Sex Crimes Unit
- Stolen Property Unit
- Tactical Unit
- Traffic Education Unit
- Truck Unit
- Vice Team
- Vulnerable Persons Team
- Youth At Risk Development Program
- Youth Mentorship Team
We expect a great deal from the people we select to serve the citizens of Calgary as police officers. Our members must have exemplary moral character, a high degree of personal integrity, display sound judgment, intelligent decision making, maturity and common sense.
The CPS has six core values:
The importance of having these traits cannot be stressed enough – nor can they be taught. These are the foundations of what makes a good CPS officer.
Grade 12 diploma or equivalent.
Canadian citizen, landed immigrant status or permanent resident status (living in
Canada or the United States for three years).
At least 18 years of age.
Class 5 Driver's license (non GDL) with no more than five demerit points.
No unpardoned criminal convictions.
No criminal charges pending before the courts.
No criminal activity within the last three years both detected and undetected.
Strong credit rating.
One year clear of discharge date from a bankruptcy.
Please note that these requirements are a prerequisite and you must meet them to apply. Also, remember that having the minimum requirements allow you to apply, but does not necessary mean you will be successful in our competitive hiring process.
Minimum of two years post-secondary education and/or consistent employment history.
Volunteer experience in the community.
Work experience involving a position of responsibility and trust.
Duties that involve significant interaction with the public.
Applied knowledge of computers, including but not limited to, MS Windows, Word, Outlook, etc., and basic typing skills.
Are you ready to apply?
This questionnaire is provided for you to assess your suitability for a career in policing. You know your strengths, skills and abilities better than anyone else.
I meet the minimum requirements.
My lifestyle is one that exhibits high moral character.
I am able to work with all kinds of people in a variety of situations.
I have self-confidence to be assertive when the situation demands it.
In the face of uncertainty, I can make necessary decisions.
I am the type of person who seeks out a challenge.
I am physically fit, emotionally stable and responsible.
I am prepared to work in all types of weather conditions.
I have considered the impact that shift work will have on my home life.
I am just as comfortable working alone as in a team environment.
I demonstrate leadership qualities.
I am willing to work shifts, including evenings, nights and weekends at any time of the year.
I have no medical conditions that will limit my ability to do police work.
I am able to use my own initiative and work with a minimum amount of supervision.
My experience reflects an ongoing interest in serving my community.
My moral, philosophical or religious beliefs would not prevent me from using deadly force if required.
If you think you are ready, or would like any more information about a career in policing with the Calgary Police Service, attending one of our monthly Information Sessions is a great way to fully prepare for our application process. You’ll get to hear a more in-depth presentation of all facets related to the application process and have an opportunity to speak with recruiters and other police officers.