Accomidations for officers with disabilities

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Jukka
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Accomidations for officers with disabilities

Postby Jukka » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:33 am

I was wondering if anyone had any insight or experience with a service that provides accomidations for officers with disabilities, mainly learning disabilities or minor physical?

The reason I ask is because while looking through application packages for services across the country, I found that only two services list on thier applications a spot to identify your self as someone with a disability, and from my understanding, do so to ensure that they will be able to make some sort of accomidation for said disabilty.

I was just wondering if anyone out there had any personal experiences dealing with disabilities in this type of work, and if the service you work for has made any sort of accomidations (ie. use of an electronic device for your notes, allowing you use of body camera, use of voice recorder, etc)?

EDIT: Got my answer from the service I applied for, can be found on page 2.
Last edited by Jukka on Sat Mar 23, 2013 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby 48highlander » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:52 am

I presume that you have some sort of disability. In which cases your chances are slim, as most services across the country have well established BFORs (http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/en/browsesubjects/bfors.asp) in order to get hired, if you can't meet them you won't be hired.

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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby Jukka » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:32 pm

I do have disabilities, but they are very minor ones, none of which would affect my performance as a police officer. My disabilities are basicly two different ones, the first of which would be viewed as I have ADHD, but it is actually that my visual spatial learning is at an elevated level (I'm classified within the top 2 percential of visual spatial learning). So in other words, I look like I have ADHD (will randomly look at something that I catch out of the corner of my eye, will get distracted visually by something while talking to someone), but my brain still allows me to stay focused on another task at hand (if something distracts me while speaking to someone, I will look at what ever distracted me, but be able to completely understand and retain all information given to me by the person speaking). Essentially I was the kid who the teacher would yell at in class because I was looking out the window and when they say "What did I just say?!", I'd be able to say back exactly what they were talking about for the last five minutes verbatim.

My other disability is my hand writing is, well, not very good. Essentially I was born left handed, but due to a very cruel teacher in my early education, I was forced to switch to my right hand for all of my writing. And before anyone asks "why don't you just switch back to left handed?", it is because doing something for 26 years, then trying to switch to the other hand, would be like anyone whos right handed trying to switch to their left for the hell of it. It would not improve my writing skills at all. Anyways, because of this teacher, my hand gets cramped if I'm writing long reports and as time goes on, the writing becomes less legible. I have taken notes in a memo book, from when I worked as an LP and from a volunteer group I am part of that works along side TPS, and know how to take notes properly, but the problem is that my notes are not the most legible at times. Talking to a friend of mine in TPS, he says it doesn't matter because as long as I can read my notes, thats fine. The rest of the report will be done on computer, where I have no issue. My typing skills are exceptional due to the use of a laptop during my schooling, as part of my accomdiations for the disabilities.

As for the BFROs, I understand that, and I shouldn't have any issue passing them, but I was more wondering about if any services out there do anything to assist or accomidate officers who have managed to pass the BFROs of the job. For example, in Alberta, they list under the provinces Humna Rights commision, that "In Alberta, employers, landlords, tenants and service providers are expected to make reasonable efforts to accommodate individuals with disabilities unless it would cause undue hardship". If I were to pass the level of BFROs that is set by say Calgary Police, would they provide me with any sort of accomidation to assist me with my duties as a police officer?

It isn't like I have physical disabilities that limit my mobility or require special accomidations everywhere I go (ie wheelchair access), which I can understand would not allow me to pass the BFROs set out for the career.

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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby GoodWitness » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:08 pm

For what it's worth, from the description of your handwriting issues it sounds to me like you have a type of dysgraphia, and it may not have much to do with your early experience with being forced to switch handedness. You can probably stop regretting the actions of that teacher, they probably didn't cause it. I think there's a thread somewhere on here where another applicant was talking about it.

I have no idea how a police service would view your situation, but good luck to you.

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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby goaliegibson » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:39 pm

I don't see what special accommodations you'd need...My hand cramps while doing notes too.
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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby esucal » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:02 pm

My two cents are this....I don't think that penmanship is an issue. I print everything....no script writing. Some is very quick and not so legible by others, but can always be transposed. Much of our reports are dictated to a report writer or direct entry via a computer.

What you describe as your visual distraction could be an officer safetly issue though. To become visually distracted can mean the matter of life and death in certain situations. If you study knife assailants, gun threats and the like, you will find that the time to incident and the time to respond can be milliseconds. For your gaze to be averted for any reason could be detrimental possibly costing you or your partners life.

This is one area that I think you need to focus on and continue to seek a remedy. While it may not be an issue to you, if you feel confident in your abilities, you do not work alone and must consider your partner. It is his life that is in your hands and yours in his.

Just thoughts. I hope you are sucessful in your application.

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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby Jukka » Mon Feb 04, 2013 2:23 pm

Thats undstandable, but my hand cramps after maybe a minute of writing and my writing becomes smaller and less legible. Its also not very fast either. As for accomidations, if I were given something like a laptop to do my notes on and some other way to record conversations with complaintants, then transfer them to a computer, it would make things much easier for me. I'm not going into this with the expectation of them providing me with it, I'm just curious if anyone has any experience with being a cop with a disability and if their service has provided them with any accomidation.

And @GoodWitness, it's not dysgraphia. I've had 3 or 4 Psycho-educational evalutions done over the years, and that was never the diagnosis. It is a disconnect with the fine motorskills, mainly due to the fact that my brain processes everything as I should do it with my left hand, but then transplants it going to my right. I've tried occupational therapy, going to places like Bloorview McMillan to try and correct it, but it's not happening anytime soon. I have started to do more exercises with my left hand with a program that my friend (who is an OT) has set out for me. So it may be corrected over the years, but it's not something thats going to be corrected over night.

@esucal, I can concentrate on things if need be, so in a life and death situation (such as with a knife or gun), but in a situation like a domestic, it would come as an advantage. If my partner was on the other side of the room with one subject and I am on the otherside, I would be able to keep an eye on him and his subject, as well as mine, while keeping track of what the person I am talking to has to say. I have managed to find ways to control it, but every so often I will be seduced by the visual.

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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby goaliegibson » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:14 pm

@esucal, I can concentrate on things if need be, so in a life and death situation (such as with a knife or gun), but in a situation like a domestic, it would come as an advantage. If my partner was on the other side of the room with one subject and I am on the otherside, I would be able to keep an eye on him and his subject, as well as mine, while keeping track of what the person I am talking to has to say. I have managed to find ways to control it, but every so often I will be seduced by the visual.
That's not really an advantage. That's expected. As long as you can focus on the task at hand I don't see this being a problem requiring any special accommodations.

Just based on disclosure expectations I cant see them allowing you do notes any other way then by hand in your notebook. I have no idea how CPS does things though.
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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby VanSmack » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:15 pm

I had a pretty lengthy response to this, but since some people think I'm too hard on new members for no good reason I'm going to give the cole's notes version:

Your handwriting thing is not really something I care to comment on.

As far as the other thing goes, if you know you have this problem, and still want to get into police work, you either have a death wish or are completely ignorant to the potential danger in which you will be placing yourself, your co-workers, and ultimately the general public in. Your assertion that you'd be able to pay attention at a gun or knife call is admirable, if every time there was a knife or a gun at a call you knew about it before hand you'd be in business. Unfortunately the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of the time a weapon comes into play at a police-involved incident, it's not something that was generally known about beforehand. The ability to focus on what you're doing while having a peripheral view of your surroundings is more important than being able to hear what's being said by someone while zeroing in on one thing that happened to grab your attention. What happens when you're at the domestic, you catch the reflection off someone's iPhone screen while you're supposed to be talking to the estranged husband, who notices that while you're still talking to him you're not really paying attention, so he decides that it's a good opportunity to jab a 4" screwdriver into your ear canal instead of going to jail again? As a cop I can say that without a doubt I wouldn't want to have someone who couldn't focus on what's in front of them 100% of the time to be the person to show up at any type of call with me, whether it's an active shooter call or a barking dog complaint. It's not the shit you know about that gets people killed on this job, it's the stuff people don't expect, aren't looking for, and ultimately aren't prepared for. I'm fairly confident that while the various policing agencies recruiting departments are most certainly sympathetic to your situation, they likely have the same view of your condition as I do. If you think otherwise, I invite you to call specific agencies' recruiting departments, describe the condition and see what they say.
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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby 48highlander » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:42 pm

If its like the CF, it would ultimately be a decision for medical staff, who would have received specific instructions/documents/training/guidance to screen for a number of incompatible conditions as they relate to BFOR's. And given that those BFOR's are made using the knowledge and experience of people who actually do the job (Hint VanSmack is on the job)....you are very likely setting yourself up for a huge disappointment.

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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby VanSmack » Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:59 pm

48highlander wrote:If its like the CF, it would ultimately be a decision for medical staff, who would have received specific instructions/documents/training/guidance to screen for a number of incompatible conditions as they relate to BFOR's. And given that those BFOR's are made using the knowledge and experience of people who actually do the job (Hint VanSmack is on the job)....you are very likely setting yourself up for a huge disappointment.
Even if he got past the medical and managed to show up to training, the job-simulation exercises would be borderline impossible, since there are inherent qualities built into them designed to weed out people who can't focus on the task at hand while continuously scanning the surroundings for threat cues.
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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby Dave Jenkins » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:27 pm

I think most points have been covered here as to why policing as a career wouldn't work for you. Perhaps do a little more studying of the Ontario Human Rights Code. Pay particular attention to the term "bona fide qualification". Police Services, Fire Services etcetera, have established bona fide qualifications that a person must meet in order to qualify for these positions. Accommodation is very important, and I certainly am not saying it should not be explored by persons such as yourself. However, accommodation, even within the structure of the Ontario Human Rights Code, has built in limitations to guard against unrealistic claims.

Discrimination is lawful if a bona fide qualification for a special job is present. An example: A front line fire fighter must be able to climb a ladder. If you do not have the use of your legs, and therefore can not climb a ladder, the Fire Service has a bona fide qualification you can not meet. A good police example has already been give by VanSmack. A Police Service has many bona fide qualifications in place. Your lack of ability to visually focus on an object/person is an extreme issue. Without getting into specifics in a public forum, you'd be weeded out during use of force training if no where else in the process. Your disability will prevent you from meeting a number of bona fide qualifications in that mandatory training process.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsklBWeuXT4
Video shows a boxer becoming distracted and the consequence. In her case it was simply a stupid move. In your case, as you present you disability, you might not be able to help yourself becoming distracted. They outcome could be fatal to not only you, but others. Something to think long and hard about.
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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby Jukka » Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:05 am

I appreciate the responses, as candid as they may be.

I did, kind of, get the answer I was looking for in regards to the writing aspect, as that was my biggest concern. If most reports are now done electronically or are transferred to an electronic copy vs a hard copy solely, then I'm not too worried about it.

As for the evaluation given about my other disability, I don't think I explained my self as well as I could have. I do understand that by the way I described things, there would be concern, but once again, I don't think I described my situation as well as I possibly could have. I have talked to a bunch of officers with different services about it in past, and they have indicated that it wouldn't be an issue. I feel confident about my ability to adapt/overcome and use my disability as an advantage.

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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby A.T.R. » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:54 pm

TPS K9 handler lost his hand PRIOR to being hired.

Has a hook.

Solid worker and someone to look upto.


But if you cannot be physically fit and cannot do the job as it entails fighting someone, then you are not what we need on the street.

Plenty of jobs in support roles available.
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Re: Accimidations for officers with disabilities

Postby A.T.R. » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:55 pm

So man up and give the specifics of the disability.

Ill tell you if Ill work with you.
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