Police officers protect the public by detecting and preventing crime. They also work to maintain law, order and public safety. They work for municipal and federal governments, some provincial governments and the Armed Forces. Modern-day police forces emphasize community policing, designed to allow the community to participate in identifying problems and also to deal with solutions cooperatively with the police. This is important in Yukon, especially in First Nations communities.
A Day in the Life
Listen to A Day in the Life
Police officers patrol assigned areas in vehicles, on bicycles, on horseback and on foot, to maintain public safety and order, and to enforce laws and regulations.
They may do some or all of the following tasks:
Investigate crimes and accidents
Secure evidence, interview witnesses, compile notes and reports
Provide testimony in courts of law
Arrest criminal suspects and execute warrants
Provide emergency assistance to victims of accidents and natural disasters
Participate in crime prevention programs and in public information and safety programs
Encourage the involvement of communities in identifying and dealing with various policing problems
Supervise and coordinate the work of other police officers
Trends and Projections
The future job openings for this type of job are in Elevated demand.
This is a good opportunity for people in rural Yukon as this job is required in most Yukon communities. Earnings in this type of job are higher than the average for all workers. The average annual earnings for all workers in this group was $93,700 in 2011.
First Nations Connections
Police officers need a good understanding of Yukon First Nations laws, prevention strategies, and justice resources relevant to the people in the area. An understanding of cross-cultural dynamics is essential in such areas as communication, spirituality and subsistence activities. Police officers should be familiar with the specific region they will be policing.
Important topics include local government systems, traditional clan systems, and spiritual societies and how to work with them for crime prevention purposes as well as social issues historically facing the community, such as residential school syndrome, addictions or family violence, and Yukon First Nations culturallybased prevention initiatives such as workshops on traditional parenting or ceremonies marking stages in personal growth.
Police also need to understand local justice systems, including traditional Yukon First Nations circle courts and restitution systems (giving or paying back) such as special potlatches. Police officers need to know how they can link community policing to self-government, circle sentencing and diversion, "on the land" subsistence experiences and participation in an "adopt a cop" program that introduces the new police officer to the community as a friend. Because police officers move frequently from location to location, they require the ability to adapt to new environments, cultures, communities and people.
Land claims and self-government may see the development of First Nations policing and law enforcement in Yukon First Nations that choose this route.
While some of their work is conducted in reasonably comfortable stations, police officers can experience some of the harshest outdoor work environments of any profession. In Yukon, they may have to spend prolonged periods in the wilderness during very cold weather. Because they are often called upon to deal with dangerous or emergency situations, police officers need to be in good physical condition. They require stamina, agility, knowledge of self-defence and experience in the safe use of firearms. They need to remain calm and levelheaded under pressure. Police officers are in frequent contact with the general public and must be prepared to deal with potentially dangerous situations where people are at risk.
Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are the only police officers serving in the Yukon. They are frequently posted to smaller communities. There they are likely to be the first line of response for an even wider variety of problems and crises than their counterparts in larger municipalities. Their roles in smaller communities depend in part on what services are available in those regions.
Work schedules vary, but shifts can include any hours of the day and night, as well as weekends and holidays. Police officers are susceptible to stress-related problems and need to take steps to keep healthy and calm.
Yukon policing is carried out by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. To become a regular constable, recruits must be at least 19 years old, have Grade 12 or equivalent, possess a valid Canadian driver's licence, and meet the physical and medical requirements of the RCMP. You also need standard first aid and CPR certifications.
Successful applicants are enrolled as cadets and undergo an intensive six-month academic and physical training program at the RCMP training academy in Regina. Academy training is followed by six months of field coaching under the supervision of experienced members. Entry into the RCMP is highly competitive. Applicants can increase their chances of success by taking post secondary education and acquiring special skills, such as fluency in French, a First Nations language, or another language other than English.
In Yukon, people interested in a career in justice-related fields can take Yukon College's two-year university-level Diploma of Northern Justice and Criminology. Credit from the program is transferable to a number of universities outside the Yukon.
Programs in criminology and criminal justice are available at many institutions outside the Yukon, including online distance education courses.