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Oshawa’s Burke journeys to Alberta with RCMP

Sean Burke is in his first year as a constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), but his journey has already taken him across the country.

Burke, 26, from Oshawa, has been working as an RCMP constable in High Level, Alta. since June, 2021. Prior to arriving in Alberta, Burke did training in Saskatchewan, after finishing his education in Ottawa.

Burke went to school for Police Foundations at Algonquin College and then applied for cadet training at the RCMP Academy located in Regina, Sask.

He spent the next six months doing what he said they like to call a “six-month interview.”

Cadets are trained on their fitness levels, defence tactics and firearm training. The testing also includes a multiple-choice entrance exam, called the RCMP Police Aptitude Test (RPAT), which is designed to measure an applicant’s potential for police work.

Applicants also need to do a polygraph test to measure honesty.

“Honesty is one of the RCMP’s core values,” Burke said.

Being fit and in good physical shape is another big factor in if an applicant is chosen.

“They want to make sure that physically and mentally you’re fit, and they want to see that you’re engaged in the command,” he said.

After passing cadet training, Burke said cadets are able to make a ‘wish list’ of where they’d like to be posted in Canada.

“Ultimately they choose where you go, then you get a week to go home pack your stuff and then head out to your post,” he said.

Burke said he treated his posting like a “sports draft,” because he was willing to go anywhere in Canada.

“Ontario is always home. But just having the opportunity to travel the country is really awesome,” he said.

In the end, he was posted in High Level, Alta. Burke said he’s pleased he got placed in Alberta since he’d never seen the mountains before.

“I’ve seen photos of the mountains, but once you see it in person, the photos don’t do it any justice,” he said.

Burke said the most rewarding part of his professional journey is getting to meet all sorts of people across Canada.

During the holidays constables get to interact with the public through different events. Burke said he enjoyed handing out candy to children, who were dressed up in RCMP costumes and visited his detachment on Halloween.

He remembers walking in the Canada Day Parade last summer.

“I also got to put on the Red Serge (red jacket of RCMP uniform) and do the Canada Day Parade. Seeing the little kids smile at you and everyone having a good time really makes the job rewarding,

“It’s nice to see that people do look up to you, and it’s not always negative,” Burke said.

Although ‘mounted’ is in the name of the RCMP, you won’t find Burke riding a horse in Alberta.

“The horses are usually only for ceremonies,” Burke said.