Applying to the Dog Squad

Different specialty sections within the VPD look for different skill sets in the officers applying to become members of that squad.  Investigative sections look for a strong and proven investigative background, and tactical sections look for excellent operational ability and gun handling skills.  So while a good patrol officer has to excel at being ‘Jacks & Jills of All Trades’, an officer for a specialty squad has to bring a little something extra to the table.  Each section has a different application process, and yes, it is just like applying for any job.  Certain steps have to be taken, and hopefully, the best/most qualified applicant gets the job. 

Because the Dog Squad is my current assignment, I’ll share with you the steps I had to go through to be accepted into the very rewarding world of police dogs.

But let me tell you a little something before I get started – I’ve always wanted to work with police dogs.  Ever since my first week wearing a police uniform, after watching the handlers and dogs work, I knew it was the job I was meant to do.  Actually, my interest in police dogs started long before that – while in Grade 11, I interviewed Constable Roger Shepherd, who was a member of the Dog Squad in the 1980’s (sorry Roger, I realize by saying this I’m dating both of us…).  His interview was key in the direction my schooling went after that, and the direction I focused my career in once I took up the VPD badge.

Anyways, back to the steps I went through in applying to the Dog Squad:

1. I submitted an application with a resume, outlining the skills I would bring to the section.  My application was accepted, and I progressed to:

2. The Dog Squad physical.  Called the DOGPAT, the physical is similar to the POPAT, and is an obstacle course designed to test the applicant’s ability to run with an 80 lb dog, carry/lift the 80 lb dog, jump over and climb under fences and hurdles, all to be completed in less than nine minutes.  It was much harder than the POPAT, and my lungs were burning at the end of it.  But, I completed it in 8 minutes and 12 seconds, so I was off to the next stage:

3. The Driving Test.  This was pretty fun – we went to the driving education center in Boundary Bay, and each of us was put through a scenario that tested our actual driving ability, our tactical and observation skills and our ability to remain calm under stress.  I kept it all together, so next up was:

4. The Scenario.  This day focused on our operational ability, and how we work out on the street.  I found this stressful because my every move was being watched and evaluated, but again, I kept it all together, and moved to the final stage:

5. The Interview.  This was my chance to show them what I would bring to the Dog Squad, and why I was the best candidate for the job.

Once all the applicants had gone through the above process, the Sergeants and HR got to work to make the selections for the section.  This took a number of days (from my perspective it felt like months).  A week went by before I got the ‘phone call’, where the Sergeant I/C offered me a spot on the squad.  Elation!  Yes, I was very happy.  All my hard work and training had finally paid off. 

As I mentioned at the top of this post, each section has a different selection process. If there is a section you are interested in learning more about, then leave a comment so I know to mention that section sooner rather than later. 
 

Bye for now,

Sandra

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