Nova Scotia

Meet the former CFL player turned Halifax police officer

Being a police officer is no easy job, but for Halifax Regional Police Const. Justin Palardy, it may be less stressful than his former career as a professional football player.

Justin Palardy played for 6 seasons in the CFL, now he's moved on to his other dream job

Justin Palardy spent parts of six seasons in the CFL. In June, he began a new career as a police officer with Halifax Regional Police. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press, Halifax Regional Police)

Being a police officer is no easy job, but for Halifax Regional Police Const. Justin Palardy, it may be less stressful than his former career as a professional football player.

Palardy, originally from Truro, N.S., spent parts of six seasons in the CFL as a kicker and punter before retiring from the game in 2015.

"To be able to handle 40,000 people booing at you kind of prepares for me blocking out the negative parts of this job and just kind of focusing on what's important and what needs to be solved and helped with," he said.

In June, Palardy, 29, began working for Halifax Regional Police, where he is a patrol officer.

Similarities between policing and football

He said there are a lot of parallels between football and policing, such as the camaraderie of working together as a team and the need to bounce back from setbacks.

"There's nothing worse than kicking a field goal and seeing it go wide. Your heart just sinks," said Palardy.

"Having the maturity and mindset to bounce back from that, lift yourself up and go back to work and provide a positive performance the next time, I think that prepared me for policing, where it's not always easy."

University days at Saint Mary's

Palardy played university football at Saint Mary's in Halifax for four seasons beginning in 2006. He was drawn to the school because the special teams coach in 2006 and 2007 was Terry Baker, a former CFL punter and kicker originally from Upper LaHave, N.S., who played for 16 seasons and won two Grey Cups.

"That kind of sealed my deal to go to Saint Mary's because I wanted to learn from someone who was in a position where I wanted to be in my career," said Palardy.

Baker said it was fun coaching Palardy.

"He was great to work with. He was very open to coaching and very receptive and had a good demeanour," said Baker.

Palardy said he always had two career goals: to become a professional football player and a police officer after his football career was over.

Mike Renaud (9) and Justin Palardy (17) of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers celebrate Palardy's field goal late in the second half of a game against the B.C. Lions on Oct. 11, 2010. (The Canadian Press)

In the 2010 CFL draft, Palardy was picked by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the fifth round.

His career also saw him suit up for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the team he played with in the 2011 Grey Cup and converted on all three field goals and two converts. However, his team lost 34-23 to the B.C. Lions.

From 2014 onward, Palardy played for the Ottawa Redblacks, the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Toronto Argonauts.

Palardy said he knew his days were numbered and it was time to transition into his second career.

"The ones that can see the writing on the wall and the bouncing around starts happening, you know it's time to start looking and pursuing your next career," said Palardy.

He said it's hard to pinpoint why he always wanted to be a police officer, but noted his grandfather was one.

Const. Justin Palardy (right) receives his badge from Chief Jean-Michel Blais (left) at the June swearing-in ceremony for new Halifax Regional Police officers. (Halifax Regional Police)

In 2016, Palardy enrolled at the Atlantic Police Academy. For his on-the-job training, he worked with Halifax Regional Police, and actually received a call from the Montreal Alouettes to see if he was interested in kicking for them, but he turned it down. He received another call from the team this off-season, but his mind hadn't changed.

Palardy is enjoying his second career. He said every day is challenging and he learns new things, and he's motivated to keep getting better at it.

Baker said he thinks Palardy will do a great job as a police officer.

"He has a very strong demeanour about him, one in which he handles situations with stress very well, so I think that would help him immensely," said Baker.