Mounties seek female recruits

The RCMP is on the lookout for a few good women.

They currently account for 20 percent of its workforce of 19,000 members, a number that Const. Amy Forbes of RCMP Recruiting in Saskatoon wants to see increase through her efforts.

“At the RCMP, we hire people that represent the people that we serve,” she said, noting newly hired officers come from across the country.

“That’s part of what makes the RCMP diverse. Everybody has different life experiences they bring to the table and we’re all able to work together.”

A two-hour women in policing event held this month at the University of Saskatchewan presented information about 150 different jobs in the force and allowed female officers to describe their experiences.

Forbes spent four years in the five-member detachment at Wynyard, Sask., before moving to her current position last November.

Living in rural and remote areas is a part of the job, she said.

“You need to be prepared for life adjustments such as that,” said Forbes, who came from Halifax, N.S.

She made the adjustment from urban to rural life, where she was far removed from friends and family, by getting involved locally.

“In this job, you have to get out in the community,” she said.

Twenty-four weeks of intensive training were followed by six months of working alongside a senior officer.

“We work as a team, so if there was something I didn’t know, there’s lots of people to ask,” she said.

Forbes conceded females were once not welcome in the RCMP and these attitudes still persist in certain segments of society.

Women may not be as physically strong as men but bring different strengths to the job, she said.

“Females are more emotional. That side may aid them in emotional situations at a time when empathy is required,” said Forbes.

For her, the most challenging part of the job has been dealing with tragedies, particularly those involving children.

“It’s been very hard,” she said, noting officers are trained to deal with such events and keep their emotions in check. They also engage in debriefing sessions and seek support from co-workers, friends and family.

The reward comes from helping people, the reason Forbes joined.

“I wanted to make a difference in somebody’s life and that has happened a few times,” she said.

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