Nfld. & Labrador

How the RNC class of 2019 looks vastly different than before

By the force's estimation, the newest class is the most diverse the constabulary has ever seen.

The force is looking to fill impending gap left by retirements, RNC says

RNC recruit Abeer Hasan always wanted to be a police officer, but it wasn't feasible until the RNC lifted its mandatory university requirement. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

Abeer Hasan started her career in business, but as she embarks on a new journey with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC), she has no desire to go back to a desk job.

"To be honest, it's the complete opposite — I'm really looking foward to being on the ground with the community and then hopefully move up to Major Crimes."

Hasan is part of the RNC's 2019 cadet class that, by the force's estimation, is the most diverse the constabulary has ever seen. 

By shortening the police recruiting program and paying cadets, the RNC says it has successfully recruited just the batch of officers they want: a group of people with varying cultural backgrounds, past careers and a range in ages. 

The youngest cadet is 19. The oldest is 47. 

The RNC accepted 29 recruits into the program, seven of which are women. They range in age between 19 and 47. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

Hasan, originally from Halifax, is fluent in Arabic, a skill she hopes will be an asset on the street.

"In the past five years, St. John's has become much more diverse," she told CBC News on Tuesday.

"We have people in our class that are from Jamaica, people with a Middle Eastern background, people from all over the world, so there's going to be a lot of connections with the communtity that the police force may not have had before."

Hasan is one of seven female recruits.

Tradespeople, fishermen, moms and dads

Insp. Alex Brennan said massively restructuring eligiblity for recruits helped triple the number of applications the RNC typically receives, to 521. 

What's more, Brennan said, those who did apply brought different levels of experience not normally seen in the recruitment process. 

"We have a lot of tradespeople that came through, people who were millwrights, people who worked on oil platforms, people from Muskrat Falls as that project ramped down. We had fisherpeople who came in," Brennan said.

He added the RNC received applications from more visible minorities and Indigenous groups.

Insp. Alex Brennan is a recruitment officer with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

"A lot of people in this class have children, and this is something we've seen in limited amounts before," he said.

"The changes to the program allowed men and women who have families, who were mid-career, to be able to consider an application for something they always wanted to do."

Applicants must have a year of post-secondary training (which can also include college programs), and the one-year cadet program has been cut in half.

Cadets now also get paid. 

Still not as many applications as expected

Despite shortening the academic training, Brennan said having a diverse force can mean much more. 

"When you have men and women who wear our uniform who can be able to relate to anyone — because you don't know what call you'll go on — there's amazing chemistry that can be generated from that," Brennan said.

"Our approach was to cast our net wide and this class is representative of that."

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary believes the class of 2019 may be the most diverse yet, with cadets from varied cultural backgrounds and ages. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

Meanwhile, Brennan said even by tripling the number of applications the RNC still fell short, and he hopes to get more people during this current recruitment blitz.

He said between 60 and 70 RNC members can retire at any time, and the force needs to fill the impending gap. 

"There's all kinds of stories in policing and not all of them get on the news media," he said. 

"But this is the one career where you can make a difference in your life. These 28 men and women … just watch what they're gonna achieve."

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About the Author

Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.

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