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
Police work is increasingly focusing on partnerships with communities in order to produce better-informed and better-connected police forces as well as safer and more cohesive neighborhoods. Community based policing focuses on partnerships with community organizations, not-for-profits, local politicians, community leaders, private businesses, and local media outlets. These partnerships involve circulating information to maintain the safety of the local community.
Read on for a brief introduction to the practice of community based policing.
Students in Police Foundations Courses Might Know That Community Policing Is a Philosophy
Community based policing isn’t necessarily a program or set of guidelines that are implemented in the day-to-day activities of policing, but rather an overarching philosophy that informs conduct. Community policing is a philosophy and strategy that promotes partnerships and friendly interactions with community organizations and community members. These partnerships utilize problem-solving techniques to address public safety issues including social disorders and crime.
One example of a community based policing solution includes ‘Citizen’s Patrol’ groups that can observe interactions and assist police in addressing suspicious activity. These types of community organizations can be joined while you’re still in your police foundations program!
Community based policing focused on partnering with different community leaders
Teamwork Is Imperative for Successful Police Foundations Training and Community Policing
A huge part of the community policing philosophy is the recognition that effective policing can’t be done alone; teamwork is essential for safe communities. As you’ll soon learn throughout your studies, teamwork in an important part of any police officer’s career—so much so that you’ll even learn effective team building techniques as part of your program.
Community policing also involves teamwork, but on a much bigger scale. Community partnerships with local politicians and organizations mean that all members of the community work together to find solutions for public safety issues. These partnerships help develop the public’s trust in the police force by making forces more visible in the community and by having community leaders openly endorsing police work. This work also helps improve public trust by ultimately making police work more effective, therefore demonstrating that police forces are working hard to make their neighborhoods even safer.
Effective Community Policing Addresses the Causes of Crime
When you graduate from police foundations courses, keep in mind that community policing doesn’t necessarily look to solve crimes. Rather than seeking to address crime only after it occurs, community policing looks to respond to underlying conditions that give rise to deviance and crime. Community policing tries to touch on only things it can have an immediate impact on. One such thing is increased guardianship for children or students that may not have a support system in their life. By acting as a mentor to a young child, or inspiring the next generation to avoid illicit substances, you can make a tangible difference throughout your community by employing a community based approach.
Integrating police as guardians in the community is a great way to prevent crime
Earning a police foundations diploma is personally rewarding, since this line of work can provide you with the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others. Whether you choose to work behind the wheel of a patrol car, respond to domestic disputes, or work with teenagers at a local youth center, your role will focus on upholding the safety and security of Canadian citizens. While police officers are required to manage difficult situations daily, they also reap the benefits associated with helping others.
If you’re planning to enroll in a police foundations college, you’ll receive the training needed to launch a wide variety of law enforcement careers—some may even take you across the country! Read on for a closer look at the responsibilities of municipal, provincial, and federal police officers.
Police Foundations Training Could Lead to a Career With The Municipal Police
Municipal police officers are required to perform a wide range of duties. Most of these revolve around protecting citizens and property. If you decide to become a municipal police officer, you will have plenty of opportunity to move up in the ranks, and to work in different areas of your city.
Once you become a municipal police officer, you’ll be responsible for patrolling neighborhoods, responding to calls, working at the police station and more. While on duty, municipal police officers also perform clerical work, such as filling out various forms and writing reports. They sometimes testify in municipal court for ongoing investigations, make arrests and issue citations. Police foundations trainingwill provide you with working knowledge of municipal laws, criminology, and much more in order to prepare you for a career as a police officer in your community.
The primary function of a municipal police officer is to keep the peace in the community
Work With The Provincial Police After Completing Police Foundations Courses
Once you’ve completed yourpolice foundations courses, you might find work on a provincial police force like the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). Provincial police provide services to the entire province and they offer specialized support to municipal police forces in dealing with some crimes.
As a provincial police officer, you would have the chance to work on province-wide investigations. Rather than patrolling city streets, you would be responsible for law enforcement on provincial highways. Provincial police officers often team-up with other provincial agencies, such as the Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Natural Resources to enforce highway safety and conservation laws.
Working with provincial police like the OPP will have you enforcing highway laws and much more
Apply For Work With The RCMP After Your Police Foundations Training
Working with Canada’s national police force means you would be responsible for ensuring public safety and security country-wide. RCMP officers are also required to enforce the law, conduct investigations, create community awareness and more. In your police foundations courses, you’ll examine criminal statistics on a national level and gain a solid understanding of Canadian legal acts and regulations. Receiving this knowledge is a great starting point and will prepare you for a career as an RCMP officer.
New recruits with the RCMP begin their career by performing patrolling and law enforcement duties that are similar to those of municipal officers. However, because this police force is nation-wide, there are opportunities for many specialized jobs down the line, such as working on drug enforcement investigations or administrative positions. The RCMP has locations throughout Canada, so if you’re considering working with the RCMP, you might be asked to relocate.
RCMP officers are highly-respected by law enforcement agencies all over the world
Author Malcolm Gladwell in his novel “Outliers” writes about a gathering of criminologists in 1940s New York. The finest minds in the detective world are gathered to understand the motives and nature of the Con Edison bomber.
In the nick of time it seems, a young psychiatrist by the name of James Brussel forwards a theory. “The bomber,” he said, “would be of Polish decent, unmarried, and when you catch him he will be dressed in a buttoned double-breasted suit.”
Sure enough, the police arrested the man, George Metesky, and he was indeed dressed how Brussel described.
This story was cited on CBS’s hit show Criminal Minds, which has been famous for bringing the practice of criminology into the public sphere. However, the truth of the matter is that much of the criminology seen on television is the work of elaborate guessing and suspenseful story-telling. Students taking police foundations training to enter the police force will discover for themselves that criminology is, in fact a science – one which requires professional training and in-depth knowledge of criminal patterns.
The Purpose of Criminal Profiling
Criminology is also known as criminal profiling, which means typecasting a criminal’s behavioural patterns in order to solve a crime. Criminal profiling is used to catch criminals who have committed crimes of all types – whether they are single or serial cases. These crimes could range from robberies, arson and serious threats, to crimes such as assault and fraud.
One of the first steps to profiling a criminal is to form a personality profile. Police may determine specific characteristics and traits of the criminal, which will allow others to recognize him or her. After determining the personality profile, police will assess how to approach confronting and interviewing the suspect. Police will consider:
The suspect’s strengths, weaknesses
What interviewing techniques would be appropriate
Trial and courtroom strategy
Reviewing the Evidence
Before an investigation can truly begin, law enforcement professionals must retrieve evidence from both the scene of the crime and any witnesses. This means investigating the crime scene for clues which could hint at either who the criminal is or their behaviour pattern. Graduates of police foundations courses know that it is not until police begin bringing witnesses into the station for interviews that they can start piecing together a profile of who the perpetrator may be.
Interviews and Trial
Once witnesses have given police enough information to begin narrowing down potential suspects, law enforcers can begin the interview process. The process of interviewing will help determine who the perpetrator may be – after which the interrogation process can begin. An interview can reveal important information about the suspect’s thoughts and behaviour patterns, and in some cases may lead to an admission of guilt.
When enough evidence is gathered, the police have the right to make an arrest and charge the suspect. The profile built around the criminal leading up to the charges all help create a trial strategy which law enforcers and legal professionals will use to convict the criminal in court.