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SFU Co-op Student

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This work term has provided insight into how complex law enforcement agencies are.

This article was originally published in the Summer 2014 Arts Co-op Newsletter.

This past spring I worked in PRIME Transcription and Client Support as part of the Centralized Transcription Unit with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Centralized Transcription Unit receives files from RCMP detachments all over British Columbia and is responsible for processing each file into a central information system called PRIME - the Police Records Information Management Environment. Through this central system, police agencies across BC can access the same information - a crucial necessity for a province as diversely policed as British Columbia.

The unit also supports RCMP personnel who require assistance with PRIME related issues. This required troubleshooting issues and speaking with clients to help resolve the problem. Working in a unit with multiple responsibilities, I got the opportunity to learn about and work with many different tools involved in supporting police services.

A unique aspect of this co-op position was the opportunity to experience working a shift work schedule. As a student wanting to go into a policing career, the chance to see if I could hack the challenges of shift work was a definite bonus. Shift work is not for everyone - with the long hours, rotating schedule, and night shifts. Learning to adjust your sleep patterns, your routines, and your social life is a challenge. You really see how this impacts what you’ve come to expect and grown used to in your life. For anyone thinking about a policing career, I would recommend embracing opportunities that entail shift work; try it out and see if it’s a lifestyle that works for you. At times it was hard, but I personally enjoyed working shift work and did not find it overly difficult to adjust to the schedule - perhaps I have my semesters of all-night paper writing to thank for that.

This work term has provided insight into how complex law enforcement agencies are. Prior to this work term, when I thought about working in law enforcement, I thought only of being a police officer. I now know there are many different areas and civilian opportunities that ultimately work towards the same goals.

Working for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is an amazing opportunity for any students who are planning on, or thinking about, a career in law enforcement. Through my co-op term with the RCMP, I have gained valuable knowledge and experience applicable to my potential future career and leave knowing how many other opportunities exist.

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