The Lethbridge Police Service is trying out a new recruitment initiative aimed at increasing diversity within the service.
The latest is targeting women with a series of women’s-only boot camps.
Const. Molly Murray is the one spearheading the program. She was previously a probation officer in Edmonton before joining the LPS a few years ago.
“I like that every day is a little bit different for me out on the street,” she said. “I get to talk to a ton of different people, problem solve and think on my feet so I don’t get bored.”
Murray said the process to become an officer can be overwhelming and stressful. Recruits have to fill out a disclosure package as well as go through an initial interview, a psychological evaluation, a panel interview and background check.
But the most daunting can be passing the Alberta Physical Readiness Evaluation for Police Officers (APREP), which is mandatory for everyone. APREP is the provincial standard used to determine the physical suitability of recruit constables.
For the first time, the LPS is holding four boot camps for potential female recruits who are thinking of applying to join the service. They include a combination of strength training, like deadlifts and squats, and cardio designed to put participants through their paces and enhance their confidence while they get ready for the APREP.
“The idea is just that we can all work out together, they can ask us questions, get to know us,” said Murray.
“I know I’m a lot less intimidating without 25 pounds of gear on.”
The first boot camp was held on Friday night at CrossFit Framework. Those in attendance were excited about the opportunity.
“I wanted to be a police officer for a long time,” said Sarah Dyck. “And when I saw this, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get in shape and see what the fitness test is going to be like.”
“I think it was like an hour after their media release went out. I messaged Const. Coop and was like, ‘I want to get on,'” Rochelle Shouting said with a laugh.
Being physically fit helps with mental and physical health for Murray, but it also keeps her safe on the job.
“Sometimes, we have to chase people. Sometimes, we have to use physical force against people and we want to make sure that we can protect ourselves and subdue people as quickly as we can so we’re not being overwhelming with them.”
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Protecting her community is one of the job aspects Dyck finds appealing.
“I believe in the protect and serve,” she said. “I believe in standing up for community, and I believe that we need a new generation to stand up and do this.”
Being a part of the change and having an opportunity to train with members of the LPS is what Megan Grosventreboy is excited about.
“Diversity is very important to me because I’m First Nations and I think that it’s great for communities to come together,” she said.
“I know that the diversity within the police system with Indigenous people is very low, so I want to be a part of that. Change the system a bit, I guess.”
Murray said she’s excited to bring in a group of women and help them achieve their goals in a field that can be intimidating.
“Fitness is not one size fits all, so you scale it to where you’re at and compete with yourself. Challenge yourself to be better by the end of this and don’t worry about what everybody else is doing.”
Registration for the rest of the women’s-only boot camp series is full. For more information on recruiting efforts or to send in an application, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.