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Students get hands-on police work experience

By Hannah Scott

Published 2:11 PDT, Fri May 20, 2022

Last Updated: 4:07 PDT, Fri May 20, 2022

Richmond RCMP’s inaugural Youth Academy program took place earlier this year, offering teenagers the opportunity to learn about being a police officer.

In collaboration with Richmond School District, the five-day program hosted 32 students in grades 10 through 12 interested in a police career. The students went through an “intensive program in a controlled environment, modelling police training and police work,” according to youth section investigator Const. Alison Roberts.

“The program was developed by two Richmond school liaison officers and executed by countless dedicated members from various support units,” says Roberts. “We wanted to provide participants with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, while creating positive and lasting relationships between the Richmond RCMP and the students of Richmond.”

Participants underwent a selection process that included a physical activity test, an interview, a criminal background check, and reference checks. They learned about the RCMP’s community policing problem-solving model, as well as concepts like the elements of an offence and the authorities for arrest, search, and seizure. 

All costs were covered by the RCMP, including track suits for participant to wear during the program and then keep. The goal was to have students of all socioeconomic backgrounds able to participate without financial or other barriers. 

Student feedback was positive, including one comment that the group began as strangers but felt like a family by the end.

“I think the most enjoyable part was the learning experience and getting to deal with things hands-on,” said another student. “There are not a lot of opportunities these days (to) actually get to do things hands-on, and it made it quite safe and enjoyable.”

The program is designed to run annually, with the next session scheduled for February 2023. Applications will be available in mid-November, and interested students can contact their high school career counsellor or career information adviser for more information.

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