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Cape Breton Regional Police seeking assistance for new recruits

SYDNEY—Let the recruiting commence.

The Cape Breton Regional Police Service is preparing to go on a hiring spree, as the force looks to fill voids due to impending retirements, long-term illnesses and staff leave-of-absences, as well as looking to create a more diverse police unit .

Recently, the force posted ads seeking new constables which, according to communications/PR adviser Desiree Magnus, “will remain open until all the positions are filled and the applications can be processed on a case-by-case basis.” Neither she nor police Chief Robert Walsh could provide a specific number of constables they’re seeking.

Previous police commission board meetings have addressed issues of an aging workforce, going as far as hiring a consulting firm for a comprehensive review, which last year identified the force as employing officers over the age of 50 and even fewer women.

During Monday’s board of police commissioners meeting at city hall, Magnus explained the police service hopes to maintain financial stability with a “fully staffed organization based on predictive retirements, anticipated staffing leaves and replacement hires.”

Desiree Magnus, communications/PR adviser with the Cape Breton Regional Police Service: “We have developed strong relationships with people within our community. We are trusted.” IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON POST – IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON POST

PART OF AN INITIATIVE

This would explain why the three “proactive recruitment sessions we are hosting this week (are) part of an initiative to identify individuals to give them the supports to get into the Atlantic Police Academy,” Walsh said after the meeting, “in the hope that it will provide more people for us to be able to hire, as we address issues around vacancies in our organization.”

The sessions will be held today to Thursday night in North Sydney, Glace Bay and Sydney.

Walsh told the Cape Breton Post just before Christmas that the police force is well aware the community demographics have changed and it needs to improve “in recruiting diversity within our organization to better reflect the community that we serve.”

“We’ve made some progress — including seven hires who represent diversity over the last two years,” he said at the time. “I’m proud to say we now have more female officers in specialized sections than ever before, and our most recent promotional routine included the first woman to the inspector rank in the history of our police service.”

Magnus also confirmed that the force employs four Indigenous officers on patrol.

HIGH SCHOOL VISITS IN WORKS?

Cape Breton Regional Municipality Coun. Steve Gillespie, who also serves as one of three police board commissioners, inquired whether the police service would look at going into high schools to consider potential recruits.

“So far, it has been some youth community groups that we’ve done (in schools),” Magnus told board members.

She reiterated that any interested persons — high schooler or adult — looking at the police force as a career opportunity should attend one of the three recruitment sessions this week. Officers will be on-site to answer questions, along with educators from the Atlantic Police Academy as well as representatives from the provincial Department of Labor for information on funding opportunities and support for prerequisites.

“We have developed strong relationships with people within our community,” she said. “We are trusted; police are coming to the first call for any kind of need in the community.

Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Robert Walsh:
Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Robert Walsh: “(These) proactive recruitment sessions we are hosting this week (are) part of an initiative to identify individuals to give them the supports to get into the Atlantic Police Academy.” IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON POST – IAN NATHANSON/CAPE BRETON POST

‘A FIRST STEP’

“It will be a first step in what we believe will be many opportunities to try to do some direct reach to many under-represented groups.”

Walsh added that there’s a possibility the police service will visit schools “in the future, partnering with the (Cape Breton-Victoria Regional) Center for Education” to talk about careers with the force.

“We’ve already had conversations about going in early in students’ careers — around the Grade 9-10 period of their education — and informing them what is needed in order to get accepted into the police academy, and hopefully help them find the tools and resources to make those steps.”

According to the police service’s website, the CBRPS employs 200 officers and 30 civilian staff members. Along with regular patrol officers, the service has nearly 15 different specialized sections and teams, making it one of the few full-service police agencies in Nova Scotia.

Ian Nathanson is a political reporter at the Cape Breton Post. Follow him on Twitter at @CBPost_Ian

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