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New recruit on the beat
Determined Inuvik youth gets a taste of his dream job

Laura Busch
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Inuvik RCMP have a new recruit joining them on the beat for the summer. While he may look and sound the part, Inuvik youth Gerald Pascal is joining the force as a summer student to learn what it takes to be a police officer on the front lines.

NNSL photo/graphic

Const. Ryan Gillis, left, and his shadow for the next three months, Gerald Pascal, stand in front of their police cruiser. As a summer student with the Inuvik RCMP, Pascal underwent three weeks of basic training in Saskatchewan and is currently completing a 14-week on-the-job placement. - Laura Busch/NNSL photo

Pascal has tried to apply to the RCMP recruitment program in the past, but needs more training to qualify and pass the challenging entrance exam.

When Staff Sgt. Wayne Norris first contacted him about the summer student program, 20-year-old Pascal said that he thought it would be a good opportunity to learn the ropes and get a taste of the career he wants to pursue.

"I know that I want to do it (become a police officer), I'm just trying to better myself for the application process," Pascal told Inuvik Drum during his second day on the job on June 7.

The Canada-wide Aboriginal Cadet Development Program that Pascal is participating in aims to help young aboriginals interested in a career in policing gain the skills necessary to pursue that dream.

For Pascal, that means completing a three-week training program with 31 other cadets in Saskatchewan and then returning to his home community of Inuvik to shadow a police officer for 14 weeks.

The training is conducted in the same facility as regular police officer training, and the cadets complete similar scenario-based training.

"It was definitely eye-opening," said Pascal.

Pascal has been assigned to follow Const. Ryan Gillis. For his part, Gillis is excited for the opportunity to train a young person over the summer.

"Especially in the territories, the goal is to get them back in the community where they're from where they know people and are able to deal with them better," said Gillis. "So, instead of being seen as just an RCMP officer, they're recognized as a regular person.

"Overall, it's a great program."

Because he has been trained at the formal police academy, Pascal will be able to go to almost every call during the summer with the exception of particularly dangerous circumstances that involve firearms. However, Gillis laughed off a question about whether or not Pascal would work his way into the driver's seat of the police cruiser.

Pascal is humble about the role he will fill while walking or driving the beat in Inuvik this summer. For the most part, he said that he is just glad to have the opportunity.

"Ever since I was a kid I just wanted to (be a police officer). Growing up in Aklavik and then Tuk and then Inuvik, they really impacted my life," said Pascal, adding that it was the RCMP who gave him his first set of hockey gear as a youth.

Once he moved to Inuvik, he set to work perusing that dream and plans to continue chasing it no matter how many applications need to be made and how many drills he has to run.

Once he completes the summer student program this fall, Pascal plans to re-apply to the formal RCMP training program.

While he sees the value of staying in a community where he knows people and is known outside of his role with the police, Pascal's goal is simple.

"I just want to get in," he said. "I would go anywhere."

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