Area youth interested in law enforcement can get a career crash course this spring with the St. Albert RCMP Youth Academy.
“It really gives them a true feel for if they want to go into this career, what it’s all about,” said St. Albert RCMP Cpl. Laurel Kading.
During spring break, students will camp out at Bellerose Composite High School and live like an RCMP recruit going through the national training academy – or depot – in Regina.
“It’s a very intense week. First thing in the morning, we’re up and go for a morning run before breakfast, then after breakfast, we’re right into doing sessions,” Kading said.
Sessions cover everything from learning the laws and visiting various units to investigating crimes and making simulated arrests. A variety of speakers from different RCMP units, including tactical operations, forensics and the police dog unit, will also address the students.
The students will be able to put their knowledge to the test when they are dispatched to simulated crime scenes to carry out investigations.
“They get to talk with the actual officers, who point out a lot more specific information to them they hadn’t thought of,” Kading said. “You see their scenarios progress rapidly as they go along.”
The program is open to Grade 11 and 12 students from all four local school boards – St. Albert Public Schools, Greater St. Albert Catholic Schools, Sturgeon School Division and Greater North Central Francophone authority.
Applicants must provide a letter of reference from their school and a record of school performance. They must also undergo a police record check and pass a fitness test and interview process. The deadline for applications is Jan. 11.
The program costs $500 per student, $150 of which is covered by the school board and the remaining cost covered by the student. Each student will receive five credits for the week-long work experience course.
“We’re looking for people who have a genuine interest in a law enforcement career or related career,” Kading said, adding 24 students will be accepted into the program. So far, 18 applications have been received.
The first academy, held last spring break at St. Albert Catholic High School, attracted 20 youths – 14 boys and six girls – and was a huge success, Kading said.
The experience wrapped up with a troop marching exercise – or drill – and a graduation ceremony which the participants shared with family and friends.
Kading said the program has pushed several St. Albert Youth Academy graduates towards careers in law enforcement.
“There’s couple who have come in asking for documentation to fill out to put applications in (to join the RCMP). I know we’ve got one student who’s in policing studies,” she said.
Interested applicants can contact their school’s work experience co-ordinator or Kading at the St. Albert RCMP detachment at 780-458-4313.