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The Key Differences Between Criminal and Civil Law: An Intro for Those in Police Foundations Programs

2018-09-12 by NAHB

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Between 2016 and 2017, the Crime Severity Index (CSI) in Canada reported over 1.9 million police-reported criminal code incidents. For police officers working on the frontlines of law enforcement, having a keen understanding of criminal law is essential. In addition, under certain circumstances they may be called upon as a witness during civil cases. Developing an in-depth understanding of both is therefore an essential part of training for this career path.

Here is a quick guide to some of the differences between civil and criminal litigation for students interested in beginning a career in law enforcement.

An Overview of Criminal Law for Students in Police Foundations Training

In Canada, once a Crown prosecutor decides to bring charges against someone who has allegedly committed a criminal offence, this person then becomes the defendant, and their case is brought to trial. The prosecutor represents the community at large and acts as a public employee who is provided to the victim by the Crown counsel’s budget.

Criminal law involves a Crown-appointed prosecutor and a high burden of proof

Criminal law involves a Crown-appointed prosecutor and a high burden of proof

Additionally, during trial the defendant’s guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning that the judge or jury must be convinced that there is a high probability that the accused in fact committed the crime. As students in a police foundations program know, criminal law addresses offences which were committed with intentional harm against an individual and the community at large. For instance, a home invasion is considered a criminal offence because although it involves property, it violates the privacy and safety of the home’s occupants as well as the community’s notion of the home as a safe space. In order for a defendant to be convicted of a crime, it must be proven based upon the evidence presented that it was committed intentionally. It is important to remember that in Canada, the defendant should be considered innocent until a guilty verdict has been determined.

A Quick Overview of Civil Law

Civil law, in contrast to criminal litigation, concerns a dispute between private parties. In addition, the defendant may be held responsible for damages or injury which occurs as a result of their negligence. A majority of civil law presented to the court includes family law, which involves divorce, child custody, as well as spousal and child support. Allegations of medical malpractice, distribution of estate, and employment complaints are also covered in civil court. Students in police foundations training should be aware that they can be called a witness in a civil trial if they serve a subpoena to anyone involved or acted within the dispute in a law enforcement capacity.

If a case is found to have merit, the court may order the losing party to pay for sufficient damages, which usually involves financial compensation. Other means of resolving a civil case, known as a remedy, are through a declaration which states the rights of the parties, and an injunction, which is a restraining order that states a party has or does not have the ability to take a certain action.

What Are the Main Differences?

Generally, the main difference between civil law and criminal law is that to find the accused at fault, more evidence is required in criminal cases than civil ones. To prove that a crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt, the prosecution must also demonstrate that the act was committed with intent. Civil cases, however, must be proven on what’s known as a balance of probabilities, which indicates if it is more probable than not that the defendant can be held liable for causing harm or loss to the plaintiff. There is a lower standard of proof involved because a civil trial does not use incarceration or jail time as punishment, but instead settles disputes financially.

Standards of liability and punishment differ between criminal and civil court

Standards of liability and punishment differ between criminal and civil court

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Careers You Can Pursue After Police School: What Qualities Make for a Good Immigration Officer?

2018-05-30 by NAHB

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Becoming an immigration officer is ideal for graduates who enjoy working with people, and who want a career that truly makes a difference. However, it’s important to note that being an immigration officer takes commitment and integrity, and comes with its own unique set of challenges. With the right training and attitude, though, it can be a very rewarding option.

Are you curious to learn more about the qualities and characteristics that make law enforcement professionals a good fit for this career? Read on to find out more!

The Best Immigration Officers Are Organized and Detail Oriented

To have what it takes to be a great immigration officer, future candidates must be coordinated and highly organized individuals. A career as an immigration officer is a busy one, whether working in an airport or at a land border. As such, immigration officers benefit from being organized and from maintaining a neat workspace, in order to deal with such a high volume of arrivals.

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Since 2015, over 27,554,943 foreign residents have visited Canada. That’s a lot!

Apart from examining passports and conducting surveillance, immigration officers may also be tasked with interviewing non-Canadian citizens, asking questions, and taking fingerprints. As such, they will need to be effective multitaskers in order to balance their various responsibilities and avoid making errors. Graduates of police school looking to pursue careers as immigration officers will also need to pay close attention to passport details in order to ensure that they’re properly enforcing Canada’s immigration legislation.

Great Immigration Officers Have Excellent Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Another important quality that makes a great immigration officer is the ability to communicate clearly and professionally. For those interested in linguistics, learning a second language could also help them better communicate with visitors and non-Canadian citizens who may not be fluent English speakers.

Although being an immigration officer is a serious job, it is important to stay friendly and cordial with non-Canadian citizens crossing the border. Thankfully, top programs like the police foundations program at the National Academy of Health and Business (NAHB) help graduates develop a thorough understanding of interpersonal relationships within the context of law enforcement occupations. As a result, graduates enter their careers ready to communicate both politely and professionally.

Graduates of Police School Who Exercise Good Judgment Make Great Immigration Officers

While good immigration officers must exercise constant vigilance in order to successfully mitigate security risks, good judgement also means not being too rash to profile migrants. Immigration officers must always remember that foreign travellers deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.

Social perceptiveness means having the ability to read subtle cues in someone’s body language. For immigration officers, this ability may be useful for picking out suspicious behaviour. However, experienced immigration officers also know that some behaviours can mean very different things. For example, a lack of eye contact can be interpreted as a sign of insincerity, but it can also be a sign of nervousness or shyness. Some non-Canadian citizens arriving in airports may be nervous flyers and feel shaken up from their flight, or feel nervous around law enforcement officials. Therefore, their hesitation when answering questions may simply be a manifestation of these feelings, rather than signs of suspicious behaviour. Telling these behaviours apart can be tricky, which is why one of the greatest signs of an excellent immigration officer is the ability to exercise sound judgement and avoid jumping to quick conclusions.

Are you ready to become a police officer or immigration officer?

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What to Consider Before You Decide to Become a Police Officer

2017-12-27 by Isabelle Schumacher

police foundations training

For individuals who are looking to begin their careers or find a new path after some time in the workforce, the prospect of becoming a police officer may be an appealing option. Police officers are highly visible and important figures in every community, making it no surprise that this is a popular prospective career path.

However, working as a police officer is a unique job with characteristics that many individuals may not be aware of, and it is important to work toward a new career path with all the information you will need to succeed. Keep reading to learn about a few factors that you should keep in mind before you decide that becoming a police officer is the right option for you.

There is No Typical Day When You Become a Police Officer

The workday of a police officer can often be quite unpredictable. While you may be assigned to specific units or neighbourhoods, you will have no way of knowing what type of calls will come in on any given day. Police officers need to be ready to fill whatever duties are required of them, whether this means a shift of traffic direction beginning at 5:00am, or responding to violent incidents late at night. If you intend to pursue police foundations training, you should know that every day as a police officer will come with unique experiences.

Police Foundations Training Is Part of a Rigorous Learning Process

Another important thing to keep in mind is that police officers are highly-trained professionals. Your police foundations program will provide just that—the foundational knowledge needed to succeed as a police officer. From there, different police forces require recruits to attend their specific academies, such as the Ontario Provincial Police Academy. Police academy training is rigorous, and having completed a police foundations program is essential to students who want to pursue this path.

police foundations program

A police foundations program is excellent preparation for specialized police academy training

When You Become a Police Officer, You Serve Your Community

One of the most critical aspects of the job of any police officer is the opportunity to serve one’s community. Whether helping victims of crimes, questioning witnesses, giving tickets, participating in community events, or providing support to vulnerable people, police officers engage with their communities in extremely valuable ways on a daily basis. Community service is a rewarding component of being a police officer, and individuals interested in this career path should make sure that this is something they will value in their careers.

become a police officer

Police officers engage with and serve their communities every day on the job

Work After Police Foundations Training Requires Strength of Character

Finally, if you are interested in pursuing a career as a police officer, you should keep in mind that this is a role that comes with both respect and responsibility. Police officers have to deal with challenging and sometimes unpleasant situations. While this takes awhile to get used to, it also offers valuable opportunities for personal growth. Further, the difficulty that comes with this career garners police officers significant respect from their colleagues and other community members, which can serve as a strong motivating force to consistently strive for excellent work. With foresight and a clear understanding of the role of police officers, you can move confidently toward this career goal!

Do these considerations appeal to you?

Contact us at NAHB to learn more about the steps you can take to become a police officer!

Starting Police School? Here Are 3 Myths About the Law Worth Knowing

2017-01-04 by NAHB

Your police foundations training will teach you about many different aspects of the law

Many law abiding citizens believe they know the law. However, many would be surprised to find out a lot of what they think to be law is actually myth. When people hear the same rule repeated over and over, it can be hard to distinguish reality from false information. The longer this goes on, the more people believe the mythical law and come to accept it as fact. This is why so many fall victim to believing in laws that might not even exist.

As an aspiring police officer, it will be your job to uphold the law in the line of duty. While your training will help make sure that you are well-versed in which laws are fact and which are fiction, you might sometimes encounter citizens who might not have the same in-depth training.

Here are three common myths you might encounter throughout your career.

Myth #1: U-Turns Are Illegal and Can be Punished by Professionals with Police Foundations Training

The U-turn is a hot topic of debate amongst drivers. Many believe pulling such a maneuver violates the law. However, U-turns are completely legal unless there are signs stating otherwise. After police foundations training you won’t be ticketing drivers for pulling a U-turn as long as they are performed safely. This mean the intersection must not be within 30 metres of a railroad crossing, and oncoming drivers must be able to clearly see from 150 meters away.

Myth #2: A Signed Contract Is Always Enforceable Once You Become a Police Officer

Contract law is intricate and can be confusing, which is why there are many myths about what constitutes a binding contract. After you become a police officer you may notice that in some cases, a judge may choose not to honour a contract signed by both parties. If important conditions are not met, it can unravel the contract. For example, in contract law, parties must have the “capacity” to participate in a contract. This means they are of sound mind, age, and ability to understand what they are signing. If a judge believes one party’s capacity and judgement was hindered, the judge could refuse to uphold the contract. This also applies to contracts signed under duress, pressure, or as a result of threats.

Myth #3: Driving Over the Legal Limit is the Same as Impaired Driving

Many do not realize that being charged for having a blood alcohol level above the legal limit is not the same charge as driving impaired. In Canada, the maximum legal blood alcohol content is 80 milligrams in 100 millilitres of blood (0.08). This is oftentimes referred to as “over 80”. For some drivers, operating a vehicle with this much alcohol in their system won’t hinder their function, but for many it could render them completely useless at the wheel. This is why impaired driving is an additional and separate charge. If someone is over the legal limit but driving normally, they will be charged for driving over the legal limit, but not for impaired driving. On the other hand, someone can be charged with impaired driving because of erratic driving behaviour while being within the legal alcohol limit.

Driving while over the legal alcohol limit is different than driving impaired

Driving while over the legal alcohol limit is different than driving impaired

Are you interested in enrolling in police foundations training?

Contact an advisor at the National Academy of Health and Business to get started!

Why Grads of Police Foundations Programs Want Body Cameras

2016-12-07 by NAHB
police foundations program

Police officers and the public are in support of body cameras

Several programs are being rolled out across Canada and the United States to study how body cameras affect the work of police officers, and assess the pros and cons of wearing one of these cameras while on the job. Although body cameras are a large financial investment, many police officers believe they are well worth it.

If you’re interested in pursuing police training, read on to discover why you may want to wear a body camera once you graduate from your program.

Body Cameras Provide Solid Evidence to Be Used in Court Proceedings

During your training you will learn about the importance of evidence. As you may soon discover, having video footage strengthens a criminal case. During court proceedings it can be difficult for a jury to visualize what actually transpired in a situation. Having actual footage from the incident in question can help mitigate this issue.

police diploma

Video footage can provide solid evidence for court proceedings

Video footage can also assist you once you become a police officer by helping you keep more accurate records of what occurred during your shifts. It may even help you record details you wouldn’t have otherwise remembered without seeing the video tape. This elevated method of recording evidence could help create a stronger case in court and convict wrong doers even faster.

Body Camera Footage Can Help Officers with a Police Diploma Review Crime Scene Evidence

When a police officer arrives at a crime scene, it can be hectic. Between interviews, analyzing the scene, and calming the public, there’s a lot to focus on. Having a body camera on at all times will capture everything a police officer sees, even if they don’t realize they are seeing it. This can be especially handy after a crime scene has been disturbed, as it will offer a permanent record of what it actually looked like. Officers with a police diploma can refer back to the footage to recall things that may have caught their attention previously and that could help solve a case.

become a police officer

Body cam footage can be used after the fact to review evidence

Body Cameras Prevent Officers with a Police Diploma from Receiving False Allegations

Even great police officers can sometimes face malicious accusations regarding how they handled a situation. It is not uncommon for criminals to try to pin a negative situation on a police officer. Fortunately, wearing a body camera ensures maximum transparency between police and the public when analyzing what happened. As the Government of Canada’s public safety assessment Police Officer Body-Worn Cameras: Assessing the Evidence states, “What is clear is that the process of considering any complaint was made much easier by using the evidence from [body-worn] cameras. This will have provided some reassurance to the officer involved.” By using body cameras throughout your career, you can help promote transparency and prevent false allegations.

Are you looking for an exciting and rewarding career? Consider enrolling in a police foundations program.

Contact the National Academy of Health and Business today to learn more!

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