By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
It’s 3 a.m. and you and your partner are headed to the second domestic disturbance call of the night. It’s your first week on the job as an RCMP recruit fresh from training in Depot.
After six gruelling months at the RCMP basic training division known as Depot, you are at your first detachment. This is the second in a series of articles looking at the RCMP and the members who serve in the rural areas of Canada.
“After six months of fairly hard training, that’s when you get put into the field for another six months of training with a field coach,” said Coronation RCMP Cst. David Van Dalen.
“(In the field you) build on everything you just learned in Depot.”
A recruit entering their first detachment will be partnered with a senior member to continue the learning. The senior member could have two years of seniority, or they could have 20.
“You are very much watching your field coach,” said Van Dalen.
“Seeing how he or she does it, learning from them, and they are teaching you all the specifics to the division.”
Being fresh from Depot, recruits are not expected to jump straight into things, but to take a graduated approach to learning the particulars of the job.
“The first two months, you are pretty much attached at the hip,” said Van Dalen.
“You learn, watch, and shadow.”
After the first two months, the field coach begins to take a step back, giving the recruit more freedom, and more latitude to handle files, though they are there if needed.
After four months, there is less supervision of a recruit, but the field coach does continue working with the member, just at more of a distance. “They are there in case you have questions,” said Van Dalen.
Things that a recruit will learn with their field coach are everyday components of the job, such as dealing with people, learning to write search warrants, production orders – a production order is a document that will compel banks or mobile phone providers to turn over requested documents – or how to build a package for court.
“(In rural), we’re typically a little slower in the crime rate as compared to Stettler, Red Deer, or the big city hubs,” said Van Dalen.
“Taking statements, gathering evidence, taking photographs at the scene, it gives us time to learn all these processes.”
After the six months of training with a field coach, the detachment commander and the field coach will decide whether the recruit is a good fit for the RCMP.
If both agree, the member will be offered a permanent position and be able to begin working on their own.
The next article in the series will delve into a young constable’s first few years on the job, and why they got into policing.