1st Edmonton Police Service recruits of the year graduate at city hall

Click to play video: '1st Edmonton Police Service recruits of the year graduate'
1st Edmonton Police Service recruits of the year graduate
New law enforcement recruits are about to hit city streets, but they're just a fraction of what the Edmonton Police Service is looking to hire. Nicole Stillger has more – Feb 10, 2023

New police recruits are about to hit Edmonton streets and serve and protect the community.

Const. Ronald Nyikabe is one of them. He celebrated his graduation at a ceremony at City Hall Friday alongside fellow recruits.

“It’s finally done — we’re finally here. It’s been a long road, it’s been a lot of work — a lot of sweat and tears,” Nyikabe said.

Nyikabe was born in the Congo and grew up in Edmonton. He previously owned his own construction company.Edmonton Police Service recruits

Edmonton Police Service Const. Ronald Nyikabe at his gratuation ceremony at Edmonton city hall on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023. Global News

He also volunteered at Edmonton schools and worked with youth in the community, but felt like he wasn’t doing enough.

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“I also wanted to sort of be a positive role model for a lot of them — be something that I didn’t have growing up,” Nyikabe said.

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The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) graduates come from a variety of backgrounds.

“There’s 28 totally different people in that class.” said Staff Sgt. Leanne Kilb with the EPS Recruiting and Selection Unit.

“It’s something that we should be really proud of — diverse thought.”

The members come from nine different countries outside of Canada and speak 14 different languages.

This graduating class is just a fraction of what the force is looking to hire.

“We’re looking at about 120 new hires and about 20+ experienced officers this year,” Kilb said.

Kilb said EPS hasn’t run an experienced officer program in several years and with many staffer reaching retirement, the service wanted to maintain coverage.

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“We want to make sure that we’re also attracting some experience here, right? So instead of just having a whole bunch of new people, we have different perspectives of policing mixed in as well,” Kilb explained.

Through the pandemic, EPS said it saw a slight drop in applicants and is looking to offset those numbers by increasing class sizes.

“We’re trying to build our capacity for the future,” Kilb said.

“We’re not having any issues with filling, that’s for sure, but we’ve seen a decline in the amount of applications — not the quality.”

That’s also, in part, because COVID largely put recruiting events on pause.

“Edmonton typically will do some out-of-town travel. What was out of the norm is with COVID there was no career fairs, there was no in-person events,” Kilb explained.

“Now we’re really ramping it back up.

“We want our people in Alberta to know that we want them here, we want them to stay here.”

For Nyikabe, he’s eager to step into his new role.

“One of my plans in the future is to become a student service officer, so I’m hoping to work with the youth in our city,” Nyikabe said.

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Click to play video: 'Edmonton police mark 10 years of recruitment run program'
Edmonton police mark 10 years of recruitment run program

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