Nine students from Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO), along with students from other schools, got to see what an RCMP officer has to go through in a week, through the School District 27’s RCMP Youth Academy at the Thompson Rivers University campus in Williams Lake.
“It’s just like how the depot experience would be. We had to drill, we had to do scenarios like going to a motor vehicle accident and one person had to be the contact person which had to make sure everything was under control and then the cover, who had to talk to witnesses,” said Alyssa Procee, a Grade 11 student.
Students were taught how to handle and respond to several other scenarios as they happened throughout the five-day period.
“There was this scenario where we all went outside and we didn’t know what was going on. This black truck came out and this guy came out of the truck and started shooting everywhere and then we look up and there’s a helicopter and it lands and takes control of the guy, telling him to go down, and then the ERT (Emergency Response Team) comes out with a dog and bites the guy,” said Faith Hague, a Grade 11 student.
The students interacted with several different sections of the RCMP, such as the Police Dog Services, forensics and Traffic Services.
One officer showed the students a murder investigation and how the police made a case against the main suspect. The case study included crime scene photos and gave the students insight on how to carry out their future investigations for when that time comes.
Most of the students said their time at the academy actually strengthened their resolve in joining the force, even Grade 11 student Adam Sullivan who is still on the fence about his future, said the academy made him want to join the RCMP even more.
However, there were challenges.
Hague said the hardest part was trying to stay calm in tense situations as well as trying to stay nice to people while sleep deprived and being forced to interact with people in order to get the job done. Most of the students were in agreement with it including Ryan Grant, the youngest of the nine students who is in Grade 10.
“When you’re grumpy and only get two hours of sleep and you got a drunk lady arguing with you, it’s not your greatest day,” he said of one of the scenarios they were put through. “You’re expected to be calm, you’re expected to be professional, you’re expected to do your job on top of being grumpy, tired and not knowing exactly what you’re doing – you’re just being thrown into it. It’s extremely challenging.”
Having to record every last detail in a notebook of their day was also one the least liked things they had to do.
The not knowing exactly what they will be doing is also the biggest draw. Procee said never knowing what your next scene or what happens next is accurate to real police work.
Favourite moments included pulling actual people over and speaking through the car speakers. Some were high risk and often tense, stressful and challenging scenarios such as a domestic scenario which depicted a man pulling a gun on the students.
“Straight up, I’d go again,” said Procee.
The nine students who went to the academy are Grant, Olivia Poggenpohl, Procee, Sullivan, Logan Law, Trevor McMahon, Sienna Monical, Moriah Zailo and Hague.