There are people in the world who are excited to greet the day, and who look forward to whatever challenges it might bring. They return home at the end of the day, satisfied knowing that they have made a positive difference in the world, and in the lives of other human beings. And if those days are difficult, they have an extraordinary group of co-workers, pulling them through, lifting them up, and making the world right again.
The men and women of the VPD show up every day. They see hurting and suffering, and terrible injustice, but they also see the very best of the human spirit. They know that they are sometimes the only thing standing between life and death, and that they can affect an entire life by making an arrest, holding the hand of a frightened child, or deciding to take another look because something just doesn’t feel right.
While there is a common bond among the people who choose policing as a profession, the members of the VPD come from very diverse backgrounds, all with different strengths and skills to offer. As the police department of a major port city, the VPD can provide many opportunities that other departments cannot. Your career path can be as unique as you.
Your workplace may be the streets of Vancouver or the water surrounding it, a local school or community policing centre, at the end of a police dog leash or undercover in the drug world, at the helm of a boat or an armoured response vehicle, in a crime lab or in the online world, on horseback or motorcycle – the choices are many and no two days will ever look the same.
Police work is not without risk. While high-stress and risky situations are the exception rather than the rule, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. Long periods of routine tasks can be suddenly interrupted by an urgent call requiring immediate intervention.
Today, VPD’s recruits are better trained and equipped than they have ever been. That training, and experience, will help you evaluate situations to ensure an appropriate response. At times, you will deal with people who are intoxicated, high on drugs or mentally unstable and, on occasion, people may direct their hostility at you. Again, your training and experience will ensure you are able to respond professionally to any situation.
Remember, with these risks come rewards, although they can’t all be measured in dollars and cents. Saving a life, making a difference, taking a criminal off the streets: these are your everyday rewards.
To be an effective police officer, you are going to need a sound knowledge of the law and modern policing methods.
You will learn:
- portions of the Criminal Code of Canada
- the Motor Vehicle Act
- other federal and provincial statutes
- the VPD’s departmental policies and procedures
As a police officer, you will evaluate situations based on your knowledge, experience, and available information when determining if a crime has occurred and who committed that crime. In some cases, you will need to exercise discretion and tact in persuading people to comply with directions so that an arrest is not necessary.
At crime scenes, you will pay close attention to detail and make observations on suspects and the crime scene itself. You will gather relevant physical evidence and ensure that it remains safe and uncontaminated. Often, you will be required to visualize and recall an event after the fact so it can be documented accurately, possibly for court purposes.
Given the physical demand of police work, maintaining a high level of fitness is essential.
Whether you are patrolling by bicycle, chasing a suspect on foot, or driving in an emergency situation, being physically fit will give you a necessary advantage.
In addition to knowing arrest and control, and de-escalation tactics, you will be trained to handle and care for a variety of firearms and to operate police vehicles in emergency situations. You may go for extended periods without drawing your firearm in the field, however, you must be prepared to use deadly force to protect yourself or others from grievous bodily harm or death.
Graduates from the police academy are assigned to the Patrol Division for the initial five to seven years of their career.
In Patrol, you can hone your policing skills and have an opportunity to experience diverse assignments such as bicycle patrol, undercover duties, plainclothes patrol, community liaison, and special enforcement projects.
Our front line officers conduct the majority of criminal investigations in Vancouver. You will have the chance to prepare Reports to Crown Counsel on a variety of issues and present your evidence in court, and you will be the first on scene at the biggest calls and events in the city.
After the mandatory period in the Patrol Division, your previous policing work or your educational background will enhance your suitability for transfer to specialty squads.
Secondment to other agencies is also possible. These agencies include the B.C. Police Academy and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU).
VPD Patrol officers work shifts with four working days followed by four days off. Shifts are between 11 and 12 hours, depending on the shift, and are rotating, meaning you won’t have to switch between days and nights in the same week. Instead, our officers work an entire week of the same shift, allowing your body to better adjust.
The majority of our officers work in partnerships, so you will often have a partner to work with. The strong bonds forged with your co-workers mean many of your workmates will become lifelong friends.
Just as you are competing for a position as a police officer, you can compete for promotion to higher ranks.
The first promotion from constable is to the rank of sergeant. Patrol teams, specialty squads and other work units, are supervised by sergeants, as are some technical administrative positions. Newly promoted sergeants usually have at least 15 years of service.
Inspectors head sections such as patrol districts, Major Crime, and Traffic. Newly promoted inspectors generally have at least 22 years of service.
The Vancouver Police Department is looking for exceptional people, with the VPD’s five ICARE core values:
- minimum 19 years of age
- excellent character
- physically fit and in excellent health
- Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident
- no criminal convictions, no adult criminal charges pending
- a valid BC Class 5 driver’s licence with no restrictions and a good driving record
- meet the visual acuity standards
- valid current standard first aid / CPR “C” certification
- Grade 12 diploma or equivalent, plus a minimum of 30 academic post-secondary credits
- a degree or diploma in any field of study
- second language
- volunteer experience
The Vancouver Police Department salary and benefits package is considered one of the most generous of all Canadian police forces. Our pension plan ranks among the best government and private sector plans in terms of eligibility and monthly payments.
Officers start with two weeks of vacation per year, with the opportunity to take overtime hours as additional vacation time. Plus, you will be paid and receive benefits while you train at the police academy.
- Probationary Constable – $70,154
- 4th Class Constable (after 1 year) – $75,165
- 3rd Class Constable (after 2 years) – $80,176
- 2nd Class Constable (after 3 years) –$90,198
- 1st Class Constable (after 4 years) – $100,220
- two weeks paid holidays to start, three weeks starting the second year, and four weeks starting the eighth year
- medical and dental benefits package
- membership in the BC Municipal Pension Plan
- all uniforms and equipment provided
- uniform and plainclothes drycleaning provided
After graduation from the police academy, you will be prepared to hit the streets of Vancouver. However, your training does not end there; the VPD is committed to training throughout your career.
You will have numerous opportunities to develop new skills, through in-house courses and advanced programs at the JIBC or the Canadian Police College. VPD members also train annually at our state-of-the-art Tactical Training Centre, which includes an indoor firearms range and force options gymnasium.
You can also qualify for tuition reimbursement for select courses taken on your own time.
1. Information Session
Attend a mandatory Information Session at the JIBC New Westminster campus. Please dress professionally.
2. Application Package
2120 Cambie Street
Vancouver, BC V5K 5J5
You can drop off the package in a sealed envelope marked “Attention: Recruiting” at our Public Information Counter.
Once your application is reviewed, you may be invited to an exam sitting.
3. Written Testing
The three-hour exam sits on Saturdays. You will be tested on grammar, spelling, composition, comprehension, and mathematics at a Grade 12 level. The exam also includes a section on memory and short essay responses, and will be handwritten, with no spell check or calculators. Errors in spelling and grammar will result in marks deducted from your score. A pass mark of 60% is required for Police Officer applicants.
See sample written exam for some sample questions.
4. Physical Testing
Your physical testing will consist of the POPAT and the Leger Shuttle Run.
On the day of testing, applicants will attempt the POPAT first. If successfully completed in under 4:15, you will continue on to the Leger Shuttle Run. There will be a minimum 30-minute break between completing the POPAT and starting the Leger Shuttle Run, which is run as a group. A score of 7.1 or higher must be achieved to meet the VPD’s physical standards.
What is the Leger Shuttle Run?
Also known as the beep test, this 20-metre shuttle run is between two markers and consists of 21 levels.
Applicants start at marker 1. On “GO,” they must run 20 metres to marker 2 before the beep sounds. Once they arrive at marker 2, they must wait until the beep sounds before heading back to marker 1. Once again, they must get to the marker before the beep sounds.
Approximately every minute, the interval between beeps is decreased, signalled with a double beep and the announcement of a new level, and requiring the applicant to run a faster pace. Runners must keep pace with the timed beeps – if they do not make it to the marker for a shuttle before the beep, they must still complete that shuttle and get back to the previous marker before the beep sounds. If they miss it again, they have only one more chance to make it to a marker before the beep.
If an applicant misses three consecutive shuttles, their test is complete. Their score will be the last level and shuttle number they achieved by getting to the cone before the beep. As long as they catch up to a marker before the beep sounds, they have achieved that level, and can continue the test until they miss three consecutive beeps.
Practicing the Leger Shuttle Run
VPD POPAT practices are on Tuesday nights, some of which include a practice Leger Shuttle Run after everyone has run the POPAT. Once you have been invited to write the three-hour exam, contact VPD Athletic Therapist Rebecca Swan at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about practice POPAT sessions and dates that include the Leger Shuttle Run.
There are many Leger Shuttle Run or “beep test” Apps that are free to download on smartphones, making it fairly accessible to practice on your own.
When practicing, measure out 20 metres, putting a cone at 0 metres and another at 20 metres. The key aspects you want to focus on while practicing the test are:
- Your pace – you want to arrive at the cone just before the beep goes. If you have to wait for the beep you are running too fast.
- Changing direction – you want to touch your foot beside one of the cones and then push off and head back to the previous cone. Your whole body does not have to cross the marker you are running towards, just one foot.
In this stage of the process, a Recruiting Unit detective will interview you, and review your integrity and lifestyle questionnaire and personal history.
The interview will assess your integrity, problem-solving abilities, respect for diversity, community service orientation, self-initiative, and acceptance of responsibility.
6. Psychological Assessment
A written psychological assessment is completed following a successful interview. The assessment is not a test you can study or prepare for.
7. Polygraph Examination
If you have been honest and forthcoming throughout the application process, you should have no concerns about the polygraph stage.
8. Recruiting Sergeant Interview
You will participate in an interview with a Recruiting sergeant, where a review of your file will take place. You will also provide your personal autobiography and a list of 30 references.
9. Background Investigation
A thorough background investigation by a detective from the Recruiting Unit will include interviews with your family, long-time friends, present and past employers and colleagues, neighbours, and landlords.
10. Medical Examination
At the background stage, an applicant is required to complete a medical examination by a physician contracted by the City of Vancouver. Hearing standards will be assessed at this stage. Basic Function Movement testing will be completed during the medical exam, which tests abilities in fitness, such as push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, and flexibility.
The cost of the medical exam is approximately $480 and is paid by the applicant.
11. Final Approval
Upon a successful background investigation and approval by the VPD Executive, you will become a member of the Vancouver Police Department.
After successfully completing the VPD’s selection process, you will be sworn in as a police officer with the VPD in an official ceremony in front of your family and friends. Training and orientation will take place prior to attending the police academy.
VPD recruits train at the Justice Institute of B.C. Police Academy located in New Westminster. Recruits attend the academy during the week, and in some cases on weekends. There are no living accommodations at the JIBC. Recruits are full employees of the VPD during training, receiving salary and benefits, but are required to pay their training tuition fees.
Recruit training is divided into three stages, or blocks.
- Block 1: basic recruit training at the JIBC covering a wide variety of disciplines (11 weeks)
- Block 2: recruits work in patrol under the direction of an experienced field trainer (18-22 weeks)
- Block 3: recruits return to the JIBC for advanced recruit training (11 weeks)