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Students investigate RCMP careers

By: Amy Crofts

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 06:00 am

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Three students from Morinville Community High School got a behind the scenes look at what Mounties do as part of a national program in Ottawa.

The weeklong trip to the nation’s capital back in February was part of Encounters with Canada, a youth forum where students across the country have the opportunity to learn about different career paths.

Every week of the school year the forum has a different theme. Amy Leung, Christine Neill and Daniel Ricard of Morinville spent an entire week learning about what it takes to be a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“It was so awesome,” said Grade 11 student Daniel Ricard.

“My favourite day was when we visited one of their facilities that had guns, drones, the prime minister’s (armoured) Cadillac, surveillance – we got to see everything!”

Students spent a full day at RCMP national headquarters. They toured forensics labs and practiced handcuffing and fingerprinting each other, said Ricard.

They also visited the RCMP stables and watched a musical ride rehearsal.

Neill, a Grade 12 student, said her favourite part was meeting new people. There were 122 students aged 14 to 17 from all provinces except the Northwest Territories.

Neill said she appreciated seeing the different sections and capacities RCMP officers can work in, but as the end of the school year draws near, she has no plans to join the force.

Ricard on the other hand, plans to pursue police studies at Grant MacEwan University right after high school.

He first became interested when he joined the Morinville detachment’s Citizens Academy – a night school for members of the public to learn about the RCMP.

“Going to the Citizens Academy got me hooked. Then we went to Ottawa and I thought ‘Yes! This is what I want to do!’”

The three Morinville students heard about the forum through Const. Yelena Avoine, who attended Encounters when she was in high school. Back then, the program was only in its second year.

“It had a huge impact on me and if I could give them that same experience … it would be great,” said Avoine.

When she heard the three were interested, she immediately contacted the program’s coordinator in the Edmonton region.

“It’s rare that they would take three students from the same school, but they were all accepted,” she said.

Leung, Neill and Ricard were the first students from Morinville in several years who attended the program.

“A lot of people speculate about what we do, but they don’t know. This opens up their minds,” said Const. James Short, the school’s resource officer.

The students said the one thing they were surprised to learn was the amount of paperwork involved in the job.

“We don’t always get into police chases and gun battles. A lot of the battling we do is with paperwork,” chuckled Short.

The provincial government as well as Citizens on Patrol and Rural Crime Watch in Morinville subsidized the cost of the students’ trip to Ottawa.

Avoine and Short said they plan on recruiting students from St. Albert and Morinville to apply for Encounters next year.


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