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Alberta Peace Officer Careers

The following information is a comprehensive compilation of the key information related to peace officer careers. If this is a career you are considering for yourself, this information will help assist you in your decision making process and guide you in next steps towards becoming a peace officer in the province of Alberta.

What is a peace officer?

Communities and organizations in Alberta have the ability to hire peace officers to fulfill supplemental law enforcement roles, specific to their needs. For example, if it's a rural municipality who often experiences break and enters and thefts, a peace officer may be hired with a specific appointment and authorities (permissions) to address these offenses. Likewise, if a post-secondary institution often sees students breaking parking bylaws, they may hire a peace officer to enforce these bylaws. Peace officers can be hired by the province of Alberta, a municipality, or an organization (such as an educational institution) in Alberta, once they have been granted approval to enforce specific authorities.

 

Peace officers (POs) help our communities maintain peace and safety to citizens in Alberta. Peace officers add support and flexibility to law enforcement organizations by providing a variety of specific, limited law enforcement functions and support services to the communities in which they serve, according to what the community requires. Their appointment may include duties such as public education and outreach, security in public facilities and enforcing laws based on the authorities they have been granted. Types of peace officers and their duties may range from animal control, bylaw enforcement, traffic control, fish and wildlife, to others.

You are a peace officer when you are:
•    Lawfully employed as a peace officer
•    On duty as a peace officer
•    Performing duties and responsibilities as a peace officer
You are not a peace officer when one or more of these requirements are not met. So, if you are not on duty, then you are not a peace officer. If you are investigating or enforcing a piece of legislation that is not listed under your appointment, then you are not a peace officer.  In the event that you act outside of your authority as peace officer, you risk potential prosecution, civil suit, and disciplinary action. In the event that you are a witness to an incident that falls outside your authorities, you are directed to contact local law enforcement.

The Peace Officer Oath outlines the commitment made by every peace officer to the public to whom they have been entrusted. Anyone who has sworn the oath has the obligation to; diligently, faithfully and to the best of their ability, execute according to law in their office as a peace officer within their appointment. The peace officer also swears that they will not except when executing their duties, disclose to any person, any matter or evidence brought forward to them while they are active in their role as a peace officer.

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Sheriff

What types of peace officers are there?

There are two main types of peace officers in Alberta: Alberta Peace Officers and Community Peace Officers.

 

Alberta Peace Officers are employed directly by the Government of Alberta and typically have provincial authorities. These types of peace officer jobs are posted on the Government of Alberta website and include the following types of roles and authorities:

  • conservation officers

  • fish and wildlife officers - help conserve and protect the province’s natural resources by ensuring everyone understands and complies with the laws meant to safeguard its natural resources, and ensure the public’s safety and protection of property in regards to wildlife

  • corrections officers or parole / probation officer

  • Sheriffs (may include prisoner transport and court security, protection services for government officials)

    • ​law courts / legislature – transport inmates and ensure the safety of those in courthouses and at the legislature

    • communications – track sheriff units across the province; monitor surveillance equipment and inform response agencies of emergencies

    • surveillance – gather evidence of criminal activity and investigate specific property-related complaints

    • traffic – enforce traffic safety laws, investigate collisions and conduct commercial vehicle inspections
      fish and wildlife – responsible for wildlife and fisheries enforcement work in the province (learn how to become a fish and wildlife officer)

  • regulatory inspection and investigative officers

Community Peace Officers can be employed by municipalities or other organizations and have municipal authorities. The following organizations may choose to apply to request specific authorities for community peace officers to enforce: 

  • municipalities and counties

  • automated traffic enforcement programs

  • transit services

  • police services

  • hospitals

  • animal protection agencies

  • post-secondary institutions

  • Indigenous communities

The Province of Alberta has two main appointments for community peace officers: Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 has more authorities than Level 2 peace officers. As of December 31, 2022, the province is eliminating the Level 2 appointment, thereby requiring all Level 2 CPOs with active appointments to upgrade their training to Level 1 status.

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Fish and Wildlife Officer

What types of authorities can a peace officer have?

Peace officers have the powers (authorities) of arrest, detention and use of force.  These special authorities are accompanied with certain expectations. Peace officers are to be held accountable for their actions and are expected to conduct themselves with professionalism.  They are also held accountable by legislation for their actions and are liable to criminal/civil prosecution, disciplinary action and liability.

An appointment further defines and describes the roles and responsibilities of the peace officer position and must include the following aspects: 

  • Authority – what is the authority, responsibility and duties of the Peace Officer

  • Jurisdiction - what is the territorial jurisdiction of the Peace Officer

  • Weapons - what weapons is the Peace Officer authorized to carry, if any 

  • Equipment – what equipment is the Peace Officer authorized to use, if any

  • Title - what is the title the Peace Officer is authorized to use

  • Terms & Conditions - what terms and conditions the Minister considers appropriate

  • Other - any other matter specified in the regulations
     

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Animal Protection Officer

What are the requirements to become a peace officer?

Candidates for peace officer status must meet the following basic requirements:

  • at least 18 years old

  • no criminal record or outstanding criminal charges

  • successful physical abilities test in the past 6 months

    • Alberta Fish & Wildlife or Conservation: PARE

    • Alberta Sheriffs: SOPAT (except Communications Officers)

    • Alberta Corrections: COPAT

    • Alberta Community POs: PARE

  • meet certain medical standards, depending on the position

  • education and experience:​

    • Fish & Wildlife POs: conservation law enforcement degree, or natural resource management diploma and several years of directly related experience, or related bachelor of science degree 

    • Conservation POs: degree or applied degree in conservation, natural resource management, law enforcement, or related field

    • Sheriff POs: diploma in a related field or 2 years of progressively responsible related experience*

    • Community POs or Corrections POs: minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent*

*If employed by the Alberta government: relevant diploma or degree is preferred by most employers

  • ​employment with an authorized employer of peace officers

  • successful completion of required training

    • through Tip of Spear or The Justice and Solicitor General Training Academy

Additional qualifications that may be required include:

  • A valid Alberta class 5 driver’s licence with a clean driving record

  • A current Standard First Aid certificate (level A)

  • A current CPR certificate (level C)

  • Customer service experience

  • Computer skills: inputting and searching information

Important soft skills:

  • Solid integrity, character and maturity

  • Sound judgement and common sense

  • Excellent problem-solving and decision-making skills

  • Excellent communication skills

  • High confidence in yourself

  • Strong leadership

  • Able to work alone or with a team

  • Willingness to work shiftwork, including weekend or holidays

Note that the particular agency you are applying to will have their own specific set of requirements, specific to that job. The skills listed above are typical for most Alberta peace officer roles.

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Parole Officer

How do I get a job as a peace officer?

You can get a job as a peace officer one of two ways:

  1. Apply directly to the organization for the position you want. They provide funding for your training.

  2. Take the training and physical test yourself, then apply for the position you want. This has greater success as the organization is able to employ you as a peace officer immediately, which is to their benefit, rather than having to wait 1-2 years for the training. It is also of benefit to you as you get to take the training when you want and start working as a peace officer sooner.

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Transit Officer

What are the benefits of working as a peace officer?

As a peace officer, you get:

  • a rewarding, challenging and dynamic work environment

  • to be on a highly professional law enforcement team

  • to serve your community

  • to protect life and property

  • training and growth opportunities that are extensive and diverse

  • promotion opportunities

  • If you work for the government, you also get a pension, excellent benefits and job security

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Community Peace Officer