By Sharon Aschaiek
Special to the Toronto Sun
For almost 20 years, Roberto Hausman, founder of the Canadian Law Enforcement Training College, has been helping people train for careers in law enforcement and security.
Roberto Hausman, centre, founder of the Canadian Law Enforcement Training College, says 90% of the college's students are placed in jobs within 16 weeks of graduation.
While most students who enter police foundations courses such as Hausman's are seeking careers as police officers, some want to try their hand as security guards. Either way, he says, the training, which runs six hours a day, five days a week, for 10 months straight, is rigorous, intensive and prepares students for successful futures.
"The reason we specialize in police foundations and nothing else is because when you dedicate all of your resources and money to one area, the results are phenomenal," says Hausman, who says 90% of students are placed in jobs within 16 weeks of graduation.
Small classes of 15 to 20 students, taught by active or retired police officers, allow students to get the most out of their curriculum. Instruction is a mix of academics and physical tests and covers the basics in five main areas: communication, human behaviour, law administration, policing and extra curriculars. This last area includes survival techniques, graffiti eradication initiatives, and visits to police stations, jails, courts, morgues and government buildings.
Involvement in community service projects and developing positive, civic-minded attitudes make up key components of the college's philosophy.
"They have to be positive about serving the community," Hausman says. "We instil in them that they need to be problem solvers instead of having others solve their problems."
| Ted Salter
V-P at Paragon Protection
By the time students graduate, if they choose to explore positions in security, Hausman says, students will be equipped to handle security details such as those at nuclear power plants, the CN Tower, CN Rail and with armoured trucks.
If they connect with a security company such as Paragon Protection Ltd., they will join one of more than 1,000 security guards working for the company across Ontario, in places such as Toronto, the GTA, Oshawa, Belleville, Brantford, Thunder Bay and Sudbury.
Ted Salter, Paragon's vice-president of corporate services, says that the individual qualities needed to work in security depend largely on the nature of the position. For example, those watching security monitors at a condo will largely supervise traffic in and out of the building. But working in a shopping mall, he says, is the most demanding of all security jobs.
"In a shopping centre, they have to do a lot of walking, so they need to be physically fit. They have to deal with many issues, such as disorderly conduct, fights, assaults and trespassing," Salter says.
To prepare them for the variety of responsibilities they may encounter, Paragon security guards spend three full days, upon being hired, training in report writing, patrol, conflict resolution, legal authority, use of force and search procedures. All those who will carry handcuffs on the job will also receive additional training in that area.
"Our main function is to protect life, to protect property, and to minimize liability, in that order. If we do the first two well, then the third one is a given," Salter says.
THE RIGHT STUFF|
To enter the Police Foundations Training Program at the Canadian Law Enforcement Training College, you must:
Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant.
Have a Grade 12 diploma or equivalent.
Have a good command of the English language.
Have a strong interest in working in policing/law enforcement/security.
Be in good physical health.
Have no criminal record.
Pass an entry level pre-admission test which includes: math, English, psychology, physical fitness, reasoning and logical thinking, memory retention and personality profile.
Have a valid driver's license and a good driving record.
Have a positive attitude and be willing to follow instructions.
Salter acknowledges that the pay in this industry can be less than stellar, and concedes Paragon experiences a yearly turnover of about a third of its staff, but says this figure beats most provincial competitors. That said, the work is plentiful, and, as in most professions, he says, opportunities exist to work up to better-paying positions.
Knows the challenges
Fred Lew-a-King knows first- hand about the challenges involved in protecting people and property. As a new Paragon employee, he's just completed his training and now guards the North York City Centre. He first cut his teeth in security seven years ago, protecting visitors and shopkeepers at Lawrence Square Mall from youth crime and drug dealing. In between he spent almost three years guarding an office tower in downtown Toronto.
What he most enjoys about working in security are the opportunities it affords him to help people.
"The best thing is to know that you've resolved a situation in a positive way, and you have helped the person in need, your colleagues and so on. That's the best reward for me," says Lew-a-King, 35.
But he has seen too many people enter the profession with a macho attitude and something to prove -- an attitude, he says, that's sure to backfire.
"Many guys puff their chests out, walk with their arms out and have no smile on their faces. But that can lead aggression to escalate in certain situations," he says. "They need to approach the work in a way that they're going to go home in one piece. It's also a customer service industry, and they have to have a good attitude to be successful."
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