Even if you’re mid-career in your desk job or studied technology instead of police foundations and never saw yourself as a police officer, someone else might have.

 

The Ottawa Police Service is looking for new members, and they may not be who you’d expect.

 

Gone is any stereotype of a police officer — in a city where over 70 languages are spoken, Ottawa police want to recruit members that are as diverse as the community it serves, said Sgt. Paul McIntyre with the recruit outreach team.

 

While the OPS currently hires between 50 and 100 people a year, they’re looking to increase those numbers in 2010 and 2011 to replace retiring officers.


And that situation is not unique to Ottawa.


“All police services are looking at recruitment strategies that will attract youth,” he said. “And stats suggest that youth are not necessarily considering policing as a career.”


Being physically fit is only one of the requirements in becoming a police officer.


“We look for a wide range of skills,” said McIntyre. “People have to have integrity, be honest and trustworthy with strong values and character,” he said.


People don’t necessarily need a background in law and security. Officers “come from a wide range of educational backgrounds,” McIntyre said. “We have people that have immigrated from other countries and have different life experiences and people that have worked their whole careers in banking or high tech and are now living the dream,” he said.


While recruits can be as young as 18, “to be competitive, you should have some life experience and background,” McIntyre said.


One minority group police are looking to hire from is female. Currently, 23.6 per cent of Ottawa police officers are women.


“It’s important for our service to represent that community so that we can understand, learn from and work with the community,” McIntyre said. “And the community feels more included if they have representation within us.”