Four MCHS students will spend a week going through the rigors of police training during the second St. Albert RCMP Youth Academy. Back row from left: Josh Wilson, Constable Cyndie Blackmore and Amy Leung. Front row from left: Chris Wood and Donovan Jarvis. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Four students from Morinville Community High School will spend their spring break going through the same activities would-be police officers go through during depot training. Grade 11 students Donovan Jarvis, Amy Leung, Josh Wilson and Chris Wood will spend a week at Bellerose High School taking part in the St. Albert RCMP’s Youth Academy. Sixteen students from Bellerose High, Sturgeon Composite, Ecole Secondaire Sainte Marguerite d’Youville, Alexandre Tache and Paul Kane High School will join the four MCHS students.
The weeklong Youth Academy, now in its second year, is put on by RCMP officers from the St. Albert Detachment who are assisted through special presentations from K Division members.
Students will be lodged at St. Albert’s Bellerose High from Mar. 22 until Mar. 28 at which time they will participate in a special graduation ceremony. During their time in the program students will do police training drills, tour Edmonton’s K Division headquarters, visit the target range, learn handcuffing and self defence techniques and experience classroom presentations on different aspects of policing. The program is a comprehensive way to give youth interested in a policing career an opportunity for some first-hand experience.
Constable Cyndie Blackmore of the Morinville RCMP Detachment said students are in for a great experience. “It gives the students and opportunity to see what policing really is,” she said, adding the weeklong program is greatly condensed from the six months training RCMP recruits go through at depot in Regina. “This is one week’s worth packed in. They learn all the things that we [RCMP members] have done. They go through the drill practices. They do running. They do handcuffing, and they do scenario-based training.” Blackmore explained classroom training would be brought out when the students are tired. “They push the classroom work on you to keep you awake,” she said, adding dorm life is also part of the learning experience. “It’s a little bit of everything.”
For student Chris Wood the opportunity is an important one for his future career plans. “I’ve always wanted to be in the RCMP. I’ve always wanted to have the opportunity to help people and to make a difference in my community,” Wood said, noting he is looking forward to gaining knowledge about the RCMP through the Youth Academy program. “We basically try to mimic the actual training regime of the RCMP.”
Fellow student Amy Leung is also looking forward to the experience. She sees the program as an opportunity to not only learn about the inner workings of the RCMP but also the law itself. “I think there’s a lot of things to do and a lot of branches,” she said of policing and law enforcement. “It’s a really good opportunity to go now and see whether it’s right for you … because it’s not an easy job. It could be a very difficult job.”
In addition to participating in the St. Albert Youth Academy, Leung has been taking the Morinville Citizen’s Academy, a 10-week look at community policing. “I feel it is based on a lot of speakers and how they went through different branches in the RCMP,” she said. “They discuss about a lot of topics – homicide, human trafficking and police with dogs as their partner. You also go on [a] ride-along, so you get to see things that normal citizens wouldn’t be able to see. That’s a good opportunity because you can learn a lot from that.”
In addition to learning valuable experience to help them decide if policing is a career to pursue, students will receive five work experience credits for participating in the program.