Edmonton police have an arresting idea for anyone who has lost a job during the current economic meltdown.

Why not trade in those underused overalls, or that business suit, for a uniform and a badge?

The police department needs to hire 160 new officers this year, and is reaching out to workers who've been laid off because of the downturn in oil prices.

"We're looking for people from a wide variety of backgrounds," said acting Sgt. Terry Mishio with the department's recruit selection unit. "This is a stable, lifelong career choice for a lot of people."

He was quick to mention another important fact for those looking for work.

"We start paying day one, when you're hired."

Alberta suffered its worst year for job losses since the early 1980s last year, according revised numbers put out by Statistics Canada. Revisions to the national Labour Force Survey data pegged Alberta's job losses for 2015 at 19,600, up from the 14,600 StatsCan originally reported in its survey released in early January.

Worst year since 1982

That adds up to the worst year since 1982, when the province lost more than 45,000 jobs during a global recession that was worsened by the National Energy Program, which capped oil prices, raised taxes and hurt investment in the oilpatch.

In recent years, Edmonton police have held job fairs in the Maritimes, and recruited officers from as far away as Britain and Ireland.

Now the department is looking closer to home and wants people from a variety of backgrounds.

"We feel we really could use these skilled workers," Mishio said.

Andrew Fahlman worked as a truck driver and heavy equipment operator for more than a decade, but joined the police department last year. He spent more than five months in classroom training, and just finished five months of field training in a patrol car.

"I was used to working oilfield," said Fahlman, who will graduate later this week. "Generally, the hours that come with it are usually 60 to 100 hours a week. And that was the case for me."

Variety of work a benefit

He likes the regular hours and the variety of police work. "I get to see people at their best and at their worst, and I get to feel that I do get to help people."

Cayle Larocque works as a heavy duty mechanic. He attended a police information session Tuesday evening because he's worried he might be laid off at any time.

"I'm not high on the seniority list," he said. "So, I'm definitely looking at other avenues."

Blayze Bruyer, 24, first talked to a police recruiter four years ago, but was told he needed more life experience. He worked as an oilfield instrumentation technician, then went back last year and was accepted by the force.

"It's been my goal from the age of six or seven," he said of becoming a police officer.