I’ve always said that one should never have regrets. After all, it’s kind of hard to regret any choice or action, good or bad, that may have brought you to the here and now. After all, it would mean you may have become an entirely different person and that person may not be the awesome one we see, today. However, no regrets doesn’t mean no reflection and looking back on where you’ve been and what you’ve done is significantly important, if not only for the fact that those who forget the past may repeat it, but because reflection is important for self-development. But before I go too far into a philosophical post, that isn’t the purpose of today’s post.
A couple of decades ago, I made a life choice that would ultimately set me on the path of my current life. After a failed attempt at getting through college and no immediate direction in life, I made the choice to enlist in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It was a difficult choice, since neither my family nor Sensei approved of this choice but it felt right for me. I signed up and attended an information session, which was said to be the first step in the application process. When the info session wrapped up, we were all expected to sign up for the written exam. When I found out the written exam was several hours long, I asked about accommodations for Diabetes, which led to the response that Diabetics weren’t accepted.
Although my plans were essentially crushed, I considered them only to be “on hold.” As is the case with most things in life, nothing lasts forever and I knew that eventually I might be able to find a way in. Municipal police forces in New Brunswick required attendance at Holland College in PEI, which I couldn’t afford. So I had to bide my time and continue to develop myself, which I did. I focused on my fitness. I gained life experience and grew my professional portfolio. I took a lot of steps towards ensuring that if/when the day came that I would be a prime candidate, regardless of Diabetes. And sure enough, that day eventually came…
In April of 2009, I travelled from Dalhousie, New Brunswick to Regina, Saskatchewan to begin 24 weeks of intensive training that would mold me into a Mountie. It was a rough six months and my troop and I went through a number of ups and downs during that time, including the loss of some of our troop mates for varying reasons. But when we finally reached that initial finish line and received our badges, we stepped out into the world with the intention of doing whatever good we could. And that all started at graduation, on October 13, 2009.
It would become something of an ironic joke that I was posted in Saskatchewan, especially since I’m fully bilingual and there were seven bilingual positions available in New Brunswick and only four of us in the troop spoke French. But I accepted my posting with grim determination and accepted it as a way of starting a new chapter in my life and leaving behind some painful ones, back home. I was posted to a small town in west-central Saskatchewan called Kindersley. This would be where I would be posted the longest and where I would meet some of the best people I’ve had the honour of working with.
I’m sure I don’t need to explain that being a police officer isn’t all fun and games. There’s a lot of negative involved, including the constant need to be hard on people, dealing with death on a constant basis and often seeing the darker side of society, even when it’s from people you wouldn’t have assumed would be so. Couple that with the fact that policing is no longer a respected career path and people don’t give credit where credit is due anymore, made for some VERY choppy waters to navigate. But I’ve looked back on my policing career and have had the benefit of knowing that I’ve saved lives. I’ve prevented and solved crimes. I’ve found missing persons and I’ve trained others to follow in my footsteps, which up until recent years was the most satisfying aspect of said career.
My policing career also brought me a number of things in my life, outside the sphere of law enforcement. I met my wife in Saskatchewan. Both my sons were born in Saskatchewan and I’ve come to know this place as home. In 2010, the few of us from my troop who were posted to Saskatchewan met up and did a shot of Fireball to celebrate our completed year with the Force. As the years melted away, that number was increased to accommodate the given anniversary. Two shots at two years, three shots at three years, etc… It was a tradition that I had been keeping alive, but I’ll admit that at the 10-year mark, it was starting to get difficult, bordering on alcohol poisoning, to continue on.
As this year marks 13 years since I walked into the RCMP Training Academy at “Depot” Division, I don’t think I’ll be downing 13 shots of Fireball. I may just have to find some different way of celebrating and develop a new observance. As I get older, I’m realizing I don’t have the constitution of a teenager anymore. Hell, I didn’t have the constitution of a teenager when I WAS a teenager. But I digress… It’s been a hell of a ride and I’ll always look back on my time with the Force with pride and fond memories, even in the face of the pain and difficulty that came with the past few years. I don’t know where all my troop mates have ended up and where their careers have gone. But i know I miss them al and hope they’re being safe.
Here’s to ya, lads! I’d love to share a photo of my troop but knowing that some of them may be involved in dangerous assignments where their identities are confidential and everything on the internet is free game, I’ll reserve those photos for myself. Although I’ve set down my badge to pursue the next chapter of my life, my blood will always be blue. And I hope all of my troop mates are taking a moment to appreciate where they are, this day. Ironically, Troop 5’s 13-year anniversary on October 13th. ☯️