Beyond the Badge - From applicant to cadet to officer

January 11, 2018 - 12:48pm

“Let us cultivate our Garden.” - Voltaire

After successfully navigating nine months of police aptitude testing, physical fitness, background checks, polygraphs and seven stages of the selection processes, the nearly 100 police cadet applicants were reduced to eight who will participate in the 2018 MHPS cadet class. The Cadet Recruit Training is delivered in a pre-employment model, which means the cadets compete in a rigorous 20-week training program, where only the top candidates are selected to join the ranks of the MHPS.

Make no mistake, the cadet training at the MHPS is comprehensive, physically and academically challenging. Cadet training hours are usually 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, but these hours may vary to include some afternoon shifts, some early morning runs and some long study evenings. The cadets’ days will be spent divided between lectures, physical training and learning the operational skills necessary to carry out their future duties as police officers.

The cadet training program uses adult learning practices, problem solving and community based policing concepts to teach the cadets the tools of the trade. Each Cadet is expected to demonstrate self-discipline, dedication and motivation in pursuit of success and excellence in the program. Upon graduation, the new police officer is required to enforce the law, be an independent thinker, team player, facilitator, mediator, problem solver, relationship builder and community leader. 

The MHPS Cadet curriculum is presented through learning outcomes contained in modules designed by MHPS, Lethbridge Police Service, Blood Tribe Police Service and Lethbridge College Criminal Justice Studies. Designated subject matters experts within MHPS will provide all the instruction. The design of the curriculum allows cadets to demonstrate policing industry competencies during each course and while being assessed by trained evaluators. By partnering with Lethbridge College on curriculum design and delivery, we ensure that the Initial Learning suite of courses remains current, contemporary and congruous with advancements in law and best practices provincially and nationally. Once the course is completed every cadet will be credited with 34.5 college credits approved by Alberta Advanced Education.

The cadet curriculum is specifically designed to introduce the cadets to the many aspects of policing they will experience at the first responder level. These topics include investigative processes, forensics, mental health and dealing with people in crisis, report writing, equality and human rights, search and seizure, firearms, law, control tactics and emergency vehicle operations to name but a few.  The cadet learning experience is extremely rich and each course uses a blend of delivery methods. Cadets will experience learning in the classroom and the workplace. The learning experience is supported by a variety of teaching methodologies including:

-case studies/scenarios

-note taking and report writing

-e-learning modules

-facilitated group discussions

-individual and group exercises

-practical exercises


-workplace coaching/mentoring

-supported role plays

-knowledge checks and tests

-formative assessments

The successful cadets will have achieved a standard of proficiency where they are capable of dealing with all situations that they will encounter in the course of their duties and will be able to carrying out any investigation for any event that is not overly complex or of a protracted nature. The new cadet graduate police officer will be able to identify situations where a referral is required to another specialty police unit or investigate the situation until its finality themselves.

After completion of the program, the successful cadets will be offered employment with MHPS and are placed on a probationary period for 18 months where they need to demonstrate a high level of competence on the job. These newly trained police officers are now assigned to the watchful eye of a specially trained and experienced Field Training Officer (FTO) for the next 3-6 months. The new officer will be coached by the FTO through all their calls, investigations, inquiries, documentation submissions, customer service activities and will provide them all the necessary support and guidance along the way.


Inspector Tim McGough served six years in the British Army and started his career with the Medicine Hat Police Service in 1991. He has served in numerous units, including patrols, Tactical Team and the Special Operations Unit. 

Beyond the Badge
By Medicine Hat Police Service