Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering

How much time is expected of me if I am accepted into the volunteer program?

Once the screening and selection process is complete, each volunteer will be assigned to a supervisor. The Supervisor is responsible for all aspects of the volunteer’s placement and schedule.  Most supervisors are requesting a minimum four-hour shift weekly from each volunteer.

I work during the day. Can I volunteer at night and on weekends?

At the present time, very few of our sites offer the volunteers work during the evening and weekend hours.  A few do but they might not be in your neighbourhood.  You would be best to contact the Community Police Centre in your neighbourhood to ask about their hours of operation.

Can my child earn their community service hours as a volunteer with you?

The minimum age for volunteers is 18, unless the applicant is hoping to become a member of the Cadet Corps.  The OPS has a policy against applying mandatory Community Service hours to volunteer placements.

Can I work more than four hours weekly?

This is the type of detail you would have to work out between your supervisor and yourself.

Would I be working with police officers?

All volunteers have the opportunity to meet police officers.  Not every volunteer opportunity calls for direct contact with an officer, but most do.

Would I be able to socialize with Police Officers?

As in any work environment, work relationships sometimes develop into social relationships.  We expect our volunteers to observe appropriate workplace decorum; inappropriate comments or suggestions will not be tolerated.  Our definition of “the workplace” extends beyond the four walls of the office and the Ottawa Police Service has a zero tolerance to workplace discrimination and harassment.  A policy explaining our zero tolerance position, extends to volunteers as well as paid members and is available to all volunteers.  Volunteers and their associates are screened to ensure that they are of good moral character.

Will I get a uniform?

Volunteers are issued one navy blue golf shirt annually, it is embroidered with the Ottawa Police emblem and the word “volunteer”.  We strive to eliminate the perception that our volunteers are police officers or that they perform the same tasks as police officers.

Is this a good way to become a police officer?

Applicants hoping get a “foot in the door” by volunteering while they await the results of the constable Selection Process are discouraged from volunteering with us.  We do request that our volunteers commit to at least a year of duty with us; the average stay is 3.5 years.  It is recommended that Police Constable hopefuls volunteer at a community social service agency where they will gain more sensitivity to the clientele they will be dealing with as police officers.

How will I know the rules and regulations?

Each new volunteer will receive a copy of the “Quick Reference Guide”, an abridged version of the Volunteer Source Book, Policies and Procedures Manual.  These policies cover all aspects of the volunteer’s involvement, from application to departure and beyond.

Can I tell people what I do, or is it secret?

We want you to tell people what you do for us.  Statistics show that most people heard about their volunteer placement through word of mouth.  Our current volunteers are our best recruiters.  You will not be performing any tasks which are classified, dangerous or inappropriate for a volunteer.

Where will I work?

Depending on the program for which you have applied, you will either work at a specific Community Police Centre or use one for a home base.  If you have applied for our chorus, pipes and drums or for the Cadet Corps, you will work at one of our Police buildings for regular meetings, but you could be asked to travel in the line of your duties.

Can I work wherever I want, like in the cells or the front desk?

Volunteers are asked to apply for specific available opportunities only; like applying for a job.  Knowing in advance where you want to volunteer your time helps us to decide when, and how, to involve you.  Insurance coverage for our volunteers dictates that it is important for the volunteer to know their specific assigned duties, and not to exceed the boundaries of these duties.  We are permitted to place volunteers only in assignments which have been approved through a process of review of the assignment and its components. If an assignment is not posted on the web site, it is not available.

Can I drive one of the community vans or a car that says police?

Ottawa Police Service Volunteers do not drive as part of their volunteer assignments.  City Insurance provisions are clear; only under exceptional circumstances would a volunteer be requested to drive a Police Fleet vehicle, and never on a regular basis.

Who would be my boss?

Each of the volunteer opportunities is overseen by a specific Supervisor.  Your supervisor will always be an Ottawa Police Service staff member.  Depending on the area in which you are expressing an interest, your supervisor will be either a police officer or a civilian member.

How will I learn what to do?

The Community Police Centre Officer who is your supervisor will do much of the training with you, and will probably assign you to a senior volunteer for the first months of your placement with us.  Some of the more complicated Crime Prevention Programs, such as Home Security Inspection Program, have regular off site training sessions for new volunteers.

Will you tell me the reason if I don’t get selected?

If your skills do not match the requirements of the position for which you have applied, we may get back to you with a suggestion for an alternate volunteer placement more suited to your abilities.  However, if you are not successful at the background stage of the selection process, a request for information about this process will not be considered, in keeping with the Freedom of Information Legislation and the protection of Privacy Act.