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A Day in the Life

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Defending the law. Maintiens le droit.

This is the duty of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the many men and women who have sworn to protect our great nation since the formation of the Dominion Police in 1868, uphold this task every day.

And, during National Police Week, from May 15-21, police across the nation take a little extra time to connect with their communities and increase awareness about the many services they provide.

The RCMP are responsible for a wide variety of tasks and duties, federally mandated, including enforcing federal, provincial and local laws. These many include commercial crime, counterfeiting, drug trafficking, border integrity, organized crime, counter-terrorism, domestic security, protection services for dignitaries, and any number of other policing efforts.

Here in the Swan River detachment, 15 constables, one staff sergeant commander, one sergeant operations NCO, three corporal supervisors and four administrative support staff work together on a daily basis, protecting an area that extends 150 kilometres to the north, 100 kilometres to the south, 75 kilometres to the east and 15 kilometres to the west, ending at the Saskatchewan border.

The area encompasses 15 small rural communities and two Aboriginal reserves and the detachment serves approximately 13,000 people of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal groups.

Among the dedicated workers are three constables, who have been employed in Swan River for varying amounts of time.

Serving the longest of the three, is Korey Ogungbemi, a general duty investigator who has been a police officer in Swan River for all eight of his service years.

“I was originally going into engineering and popped into a career presentation nine years ago and then made the switch,” he said.

“I enjoy being in a job that will be different every single day.”

Similarly, Brett Crowley who has been with the Swan River RCMP for 18 months, also joined the force after a different career path didn’t work out.

“I decided this is what I wanted to do when I found out that being an astronaut was not feasible,” he joked.

Matt Dufresne, however, knew this is what he wanted to do from the time he was a young child.

“It was my dream since I was small, and I am now working with one of the best teams in the province,” he said, noting he has been with the detachment for 17 months.

To become an officer with the RCMP, all interested parties must go through the 26-week police training program in Regina.

“You must have graduated from high school, and then you can apply,” said Ogungbemi. “If you have other training or education, that is an asset, as there are so many different jobs with the RCMP, and those experiences could help.”

“I personally have previous police training from Quebec, but decided to join the RCMP because they have better career opportunities,” added Dufresne.

With each job, there are things that create a ‘normal’ day, and being a police officer is no different.

“Besides going to calls and driving a police car, I spend a lot of time at the photocopier or doing paperwork,” said Crowley.

Ogungbemi added that the beginning of each shift also includes a briefing of the previous shifts events.

Because each day can differ so widely, it is one of the things that keeps the job exciting.

“The most enjoyable things about my job are that I learn something new and see different things every day,” said Dufresne. “When I start my shift, I never know what is going to happen throughout the day.”

All three constables echoed that one of the most enjoyable things was seeing the best in people and being able to help the community.

But, as with every job, there are some challenges they face.

“Sometimes, we deal with people when they’re not at their ‘best’, or are uncooperative,” said Ogungbemi.

Crowley added that they also face a lack of resources sometimes, which means they draw on other detachments to help out with investigations or certain tasks.

Dufresne faces a different set of challenges.

“My biggest challenge is that I have to work in my second language,” he said. “As I am from Quebec, I grew up speaking French and I had to learn English while I was trained to become an RCMP officer.”

Despite the challenges, each constable is excited to return to work for each new shift.

“All of the officers in Swan River get along really well and we motivate each other every day,” said Dufresne.

Because these hard-working young men enjoy their jobs so much, they also encourage others to look into the field and pursue it.

“Get involved in your community, be responsible, and make sure you’re a law abiding citizen,” said Dufresne.

Crowley added that it’s important for those who are interested in pursuing a career in police work to put in the effort needed, as it’s not an easy job.

“Educate yourself on the laws and authorities of police officers,” said Ogungbemi. “Be able to manage your time and resources well, and pay attention to details.

“It’s also important to be able to explain yourself and your actions, and to learn often.

“If you truly are interested in this field of work, check out the RCMP website, talk to an officer, or contact the detachment,” concluded Ogungbemi.

“This truly is a job where you can see the world from a different perspective.”

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Jessica Bergen
REPORTER
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