The Ridge Meadows RCMP offers a profile series focused on the work and people of the detachment. This is the latest installment and the first-person story of the constable.
By Const.Special to Brittany George/News
It’s been a long journey of 8 years!
And what an adventure it was.
My decision to go to the police was based solely on my upbringing.
I had many positive interactions with the local RCMP detachments in my community from a very early age through my teenage years.
However, my dream of working with police dogs came about when my great-grandmother gave me the opportunity.
Coincidentally, I grew up near a police dog training center in Innisfail, Alta.
RECENTLY: New police dog graduates to care for Ridge Meadows RCMP officers
When I was little, my great-grandmother took me to the training center to watch the demonstrations every Wednesday in the summer.
From the eyes of a small child, seeing these dog handlers and their companions and the connections they had was like something out of a movie.
When I started my police career in 2014, I went straight to Ridge Meadows. [RCMP] You have started your journey into the world of police dog service.
To become a police dog handler, you must complete a 7-10 year optional internship program called the Imprinting Program. This is done completely separate from being a police officer.
During my time in this program, I was responsible for breeding 5 potential police dogs (Jorah, Kasper, Libby, Maverick and Porter) and training existing police dog handlers.
To give you a little perspective, in eight days I worked 45 hours on the road as a frontline police officer and spent about 54 hours in the imprinting program. This does not include time off used to attend special training events.
Towards the end of my internship, I had to enter a physical competition to earn a spot in the 2022 Basic Dog Handler Course. I just completed a month-long basic dog handler course.
This was without a doubt the most difficult course I have ever completed at the RCMP.
FIRST IN SERIES: Ridge Meadows RCMP Profile Series: Being the New Guy
SECOND – Ridge Meadows RCMP Profile Series: Part 2
Third: RCMP Staff Sergeant Living Her Truth – Candidly
After years of striving towards this lifelong dream, I had to make sacrifices every step of the way.
Time away from my husband.
Time away from family.
Life decisions about what you want your future to be like where to live, when you can move back to your home state, whether you can have children.
These are all things I found that no one talked about during the program.
The time commitment is considerable, and that’s usually what people focus on. But these sacrifices and decisions have proven to be the most difficult for me.
This career is more than just an aspiration or a fun gig.
This is a lifestyle and demanding one.
As a dog handler, I am present in the most dynamic situations and willfully deploy a partner I have a genuine attachment to to protect myself, my fellow officers, and the public.
We are always trying to be prepared for what we may be exposed to so that everyone can get home safely.
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That’s why Porter and I push ourselves every training session.
Over the past year and a half, Porter and I have developed a unique, unspoken bond.
I’ve only been a full-fledged police dog handler for a month and can easily say I’m doing the best job in the world.
What will Porter and I do next? We have a lot to learn!
Previous article: Police dogs in training at Maple Ridge
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