Alberta Police Use Game to Recruit Young People

Alberta Police have an interesting way of luring youngsters in to learn more about being a police officer: a video game. The Police department is using new approaches to get youngsters interested in a career in law enforcement and what works better than video games?

The official game of the Alberta Police Department is appropriately called Alberta C.O.P.S. Impaired Driver and was developed by Edmonton-based software company Firetext International. C.O.P.S. stands for Career Opportunities in Police Services.

Alberta C.O.P.S. Impaired Driver begins by letting the player select one of five police officers who come from different backgrounds. Next, the player is briefed on objectives for the day, and then sent out in a patrol car to investigate and arrest suspects who appear to be breaking the law. The player has 12 minutes to complete three tasks. For every achieved objective the player is awarded a badge.

The game is being billed as a role-playing simulation, and a recruiting tool, of course. If it’s good enough for the United States Army, it’s certainly good enough for a police department in Alberta – or anywhere else for that matter. The game and other recruiting efforts are funded by the Alberta solicitor general, which aides all 12 police agencies in the province attract 18- 30 year olds into the profession. As the population changes, people retire and the number of people, living in the province grows, it is important to keep pace with the needs of the community.

The game is almost as interesting as the people that developed it. The alliance approached Firetext with the idea of creating a game a year and a half ago, but the company is best known for creating software that allows nightclub patrons to send text messages to a phone hooked to a computer, which then broadcasts the messages on big screens in the bar for everyone to see.

Firetext owner Raoul Bhatt describes the development of the game as an "exciting opportunity to do positive, community-oriented work for the police." Bhatt said that the challenge for him in developing a game about police work was to keep the experience interesting and deliver a positive message about it.

After six months of planning, storywriting, and obtaining approvals, Bhatt went on two police ride-alongs for research.

"Basically, we had to be very respectful," Bhatt told the Edmonton Journal. "There was no drawing of a gun, no shooting people. We had to keep the game really positive. … You can do a shooter game, which is so easy to do — just blow away people. We had to focus on storyline and strategy and really try to be as accurate as possible as to what real police officers have to go through."

You can check out the game here.

Source: Edmonton Journal

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