Lethbridge Police Services welcomed six new officers with a graduation ceremony Friday at Lethbridge College.
The swearing-in ceremony presented the new officers with their badges and welcomed them onto the force. Constables Christian Olson, Jesse Parmar, Joshua Smith, Dallas Stelmack, Kai Striegel and Derrick Van Hienen joined the LPS. Cadet Kirsten Barwegen joined the Blood Tribe Police.
Cadets underwent a 22-week training program developed in partnership with Lethbridge College.
The Police Cadet Training program launched in 2017 by the Centre for Justice and Human Services was designed to meet industry demand for officers who have mastered skills in firearms, communication, ethics, and teamwork.
“Today is a very special day for them, it’s their day. Their career path started with the application process. It is quite a lengthy process and involves a lot of steps, interviews, polygraph, and psych tests. When they go through all that, they are finally selected and hit the academy. They go through 22 weeks of formalized training that is conducted and run by the college,” said Acting Sergeant Shane Kisinger. He noted the LPS sees more than 100 applications for about 10 jobs during these processes.
Officers graduating will still have a bit of work to go before officially hitting the streets at the end of the month.
“They will still have three weeks of in-service training where they will be covering such things as the City of Lethbridge like our different policies and procedures that pertain to Lethbridge in general,” said Kisinger.
“They will be training for three weeks, but will be hitting the streets the end of September, beginning of October.”
Graduates were honoured and happy to celebrate their graduation. Stelmack and Barwegen gave the cadets’ speech before the swearing- in ceremony, thanking all those who had helped them reach their goal.
Inspections during the ceremony showed off the hard work and dedication that has gone into their training with synchronized movements and falling flawlessly into line without a moment’s hesitation.
“I was born and raised here in Lethbridge. I attended college here, and in my second year we had a presentation by the Blood Tribe Police Services. That piqued my interest. It’s a mixture between rural policing and municipal, they have their own unique challenges. It’s a very unique community. I thought that it would be a very cool way to start my career, going to work in the Blood Tribe,” said Barwegen, explaining what drew her to the police force.
Striegel was this year’s top cadet, saying he worked well with his fellow cadets to get where they were.
“The bonds we have made throughout the last five months with our instructors, other cadets, and members of Lethbridge Police Services have been a great environment,” said Striegel. “I’d like to stay here in Lethbridge for my entire career… maybe go into the youth engagement unit in the future and work with students and kids.”
When seeking recruits the police services look for individuals who are mature, reasonable thinkers and have good skills to serve in the community.
“I’m very excited to help the community in which I reside here in Lethbridge. To help people and make a difference,” said Striegel.
Ryan Clarke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald