We often see portrayals of police officers in movies and TV shows, as well as in the media. And while some of these may accurately represent police officers and their policies and procedures, oftentimes they completely miss the mark. In fact, many movies and television shows have contributed towards promoting popular myths about police work, often depicting officers as violent and dangerous.
Since police officers represent an important part of the community, it is not difficult to understand why they make their way onto our screens in the first place. However, it is quite alarming to see just how many people believe some of these common misconceptions about police work.
If you are planning to pursue a law enforcement career, read on to learn the truth behind various common police myths.
Myth 1: Being a Successful Police Officer Means Being Aggressive and Confrontational
TV shows often like to depict angry cops that use violence to intimidate criminals and get what they want. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Often, police officers will use their communication skills to help control a situation that might otherwise turn violent. In fact, students pursuing police training will be required to take several law enforcement courses that focus on communication skills as well as culture and sensitivity training.
Myth 2: You Can’t Become a Police Officer if You Are a Returning Student
While it’s true that there are physical requirements to becoming a police officer, there’s no reason why you cannot pursue your dream career later on in life. In fact, the added life experience you’ve had from a previous job might even be an asset – especially if it involved dealing with the public.
Myth 3: Police Work is More Dangerous Now Than Ever Before
Everyone knows that police officers are sometimes required to handle dangerous situations. In fact, once you start your career you will likely be exposed to trauma, violence and other disturbing situations—this is part of the job after all. However, it is important to note that police work is actually much safer now than it was several decades ago. In Canada, casualties in the line of duty have been decreasing steadily since the 1960s.
Myth 4: It’s Much More Difficult for Women to Become Police Officers
Women are an important part of law enforcement in Canada and have been for decades. In fact, approximately 21% of RCMP officers are female, and those numbers are expected to keep rising as more and more women choose to pursue a rewarding career in police work.
Myth 5: You Need to be a Self-Defense Expert Before Enrolling into Police Foundations
A lot of students interested in enrolling in police foundations programs tend hold back on applying. This is because they worry that they do not have the self-defence or firearm handling skills required to succeed as an officer. While it is true that some schools do not offer self-defence training, there are actually several law enforcement colleges in Ontario that do in fact offer self-defense and safety training.