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Expert-Instructor Interview – Pursuing a Career in Law Enforcement

By March 2, 2022April 22nd, 2022No Comments
police foundation course

There are few professionals more deserving of our admiration and respect than those who choose to dedicate their lives to protecting and serving citizens and putting community safety ahead of their own.

Are you drawn to serve your community, imagine yourself being part of a law enforcement team and making a powerful difference in the lives of others? If yes, and you want to become a police officer in Ontario, become a security guard or explore private investigator training or security guard training, understanding the education required and selecting a program that will ensure you’re career ready and in demand is essential.

Anderson College has designed a comprehensive 42-week program, blending theoretical and practical learning, including a 4-week practicum with on-the-job training, offsite with potential employers. It is a joint initiative between the Police Learning System Advisory Committee and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities to establish minimum entrance standards for police services in Ontario. It is designed to prepare you for your testing and application processes in law enforcement, special constable, customs and immigration, security and private investigations, court security or fraud departments.

Those are the specifics, but to get the full picture, there is simply no better way to get informed than to hear from an expert instructor, with years of professional experience, passionate about sharing it with dedicated students.

Here are the insights our resident expert, and Police Foundations and Law Enforcement instructor, John McGrinder, had to share during our interview …

Can you talk about your background John?

Sure … I’ve had 25 years experience as a military policeman with the Canadian Army. When I left the army I did private investigations for a couple of years, specializing in copyright and trademark infringement. And then I worked for 10 years as Head of Security for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton. And now I’ve been teaching at Anderson College for the last three years.

What is the Law Enforcement (LE) /Police Foundations (PF) program about?

The Police Foundations / Law Enforcement program is designed to educate students who want a career in law enforcement in either policing, border protection, corrections or in the private sector as private investigators or in-house security with corporations or contract security.

Take the “Anderson College Law Enforcement Career Discovery Quiz”

What will students learn in the program?

Students learn a lot in this program. We cover criminal law. We touch on civil law. They also learn court etiquette, court procedures, ethics and a number of other subjects that will prepare them for a career in law enforcement.

Can you tell us more about the firearm training?

The firearms training is a two-day course. It’s very intense. It’s hands on and we show students different types of firearms that are available out there such as: bolt action, shotguns, handguns. When you finish it, there are two classifications for non-restricted and restricted firearms. Restricted firearms being things like automatic rifles or pistols and non-restricted would be bolt action rifles and shotguns. It’s hands-on, you don’t fire it, but you are familiarized with it. That is because it’s a safety course more than anything.

Can you tell us more about ‘Use of Force Training’?

During the Use of Force Training, we talk specifically about the use of force, the legal aspects of using force, as a police officer, as security or even just as an ordinary citizen – what you can and cannot do with respect to the amount of force that you use in apprehending somebody. It’s also hands-on. We teach you how to use batons, how to handcuff people, how to take them out of a cruiser or a car, or whatever needs to be done. We have a specialized instructor who will teach you that. His name is Terry Oliver and Terry is a former Hamilton Police Officer. Once you have the firearm safety course, you can apply for your PAL (Possession and Acquisition License) through the federal government. There is a Firearms Office of Canada and usually it’s done through the RCMP. Once you get your PAL, it helps you apply for certain jobs. For example, if you want to go into the private sector and you want to work in an armored car, armored car guards carry guns. So, you need your PAL to carry the guns. If you want to apply for Border Protection, you have to have a PAL prior to making your application. It’s just not something that we threw in thinking, oh this is attractive. No, it’s not, there is a practical purpose to it.

What job opportunities are there for students after graduation?

Two of my former graduates have become police officers. One graduated just before Christmas from Ontario Police College and he’s now with the OPP. Another one is with Durham Region right now. I have a student who is working in Corrections at one of the jails in Toronto. And a lot of the other students are in the private sector climbing their way up the ladder there, which can be very profitable. A lot of people look at private security and they think, (or what they see on the street is), they see somebody sitting in a garage or in a booth somewhere saying, “Can’t park there”. Well, to start with, you will probably do that, but you can move up the ladder and make a very good living as you get up and become a supervisor and then a manager. Some people even start their own businesses, private investigation, or private security businesses, and they’re making six figures or more after maybe four or five years of devoting attention to the private sector. So profitable, yes, but a lot of people have preconceived misconceptions about what the job is, and I try to correct those misconceptions.

Can you tell us more about the practicum?

Most of our students have to do 160 hours of placement at the end of the theoretical portion of the course. That works out to about one month based on 40 hours/week. We usually have partnerships with a number of security guard companies. We usually go with security guard companies because to get a placement with a police department is just too time consuming and expensive on their part because they don’t want to bring anybody on board without doing background checks and this type of thing. So, we do placements with security guard companies. The advantage of security guard companies is that a lot of times they will offer them a job. And also they get a lot of experience in service and customer service, dealing with public, dealing with people coming in and asking questions and giving them directions and being of assistance to the population at large.

What is your advice to future student?

My advice to them is from the moment they start the course, (as we’re doing 10 months of the course), I start asking them to get ready physically. Do physical fitness testing, because that’s going to be one of the things required. Also, start applying to police departments as soon as they start with the course, because by the time they graduate from the course, they will be about two thirds into their application. The average application for police departments is about a year. People who have taken the course with me and some of the other teachers, we do become sort of a clique, you become friends and you’re going to make friends that will last you forever. So just when you graduate from the course, when you finish the course, it’s not everybody just going in every direction. You do make friends here. I try to make the course as enjoyable as possible. There’s book learning to do but throw in a few war stories and people seem to enjoy the course very much! So, I enjoy teaching the course. I’ve never had a bad experience with any of my students.

To become part of the experience and find out more about our police foundation course/law enforcement course and the opportunities that can come of pursuing your Law Enforcement / Police Foundations diploma, book a virtual appointment with our Admissions team today!

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