As a young girl living in the community of Behchoko, Cecilie Beaulieu “grew up being scared of the RCMP.”
That all changed when Beaulieu herself became a public servant with RCMP in Yellowknife.
Nearly three decades later, Beaulieu is calling it a career.
She’s retiring at the end of the month after working at the capital’s detachment for more than 28 years.
After moving to Yellowknife from her home community of Behchoko – she knew she “had to step up and do something” for herself – Beaulieu married and settled in Ndilo, where she still lives today.
Soon, she was employed as a public servant by Yellowknife RCMP at the detachment’s information management division. After nine years “upstairs,” at the information management division, Beaulieu moved down to the detachment, where she began working as a clerk in 2000.
Six years ago, Beaulieu, known as Cece at the detachment, became the detachment supervisor. She’s tasked with overseeing nine public servants while ensuring the day-to-day functions of the detachment run smoothly.
She took the job after receiving encouragement and support from co-workers at the Yellowknife detachment, Beaulieu said.
“I would have never thought of it if it wasn’t for some co-workers who said ‘you should try this,’” recalled Beaulieu.
When Beaulieu first started working for the RCMP close to 30 years ago, it was “just a job to put food on the table,” she said. “After a while, you enjoy working. There are a lot of different co-workers and different people I’ve met along the way,” she added.
In recent years, Canada’s national police force, along with NWT RCMP, has recognized the need to increase Indigenous representation within the force by bolstering recruitment efforts.
As an Indigenous woman working within the RCMP, Beaulieu hesitated to call herself a role model to other young girls and boys from communities like Behchoko, Ndilo and Dettah who are interested in pursuing a career in policing.
But Beaulieu’s co-workers had no problem using the term.
“Being Indigenous myself – Indigenous people are very humble and I think she’s humble in her workings,” said Cpl. Charmaine Parenteau, a recruiter for RCMP “G” Division.
“Whether she sees it or not, she’s definitely a role model to everyone in the community,” said Parenteau.
Parenteau added Beaulieu is revered at work and at home, too.
“I think a lot of people in her family, in the work environment here see her as a role model,” adding becoming supervisor at the detachment is a “challenging process” that’s no easy feat.
Insp. Alex Laporte, the Officer in charge of the Yellowknife RCMP Detachment, also praised the years-long work of the outgoing public servant.
“Everyday she comes into work with a smile and is happy to serve,” stated Insp. Laporte in an email. “Once in a while she would even share some of her life experiences and her Indigenous culture, which she is so proud of.”
“Her career in the public service will serve as an example for other Northerners and her service and her contribution to the mandate of the RCMP in the Northwest Territories has been remarkable,” he added.
“She is an example of determination and a Northern pioneer,” wrote Insp. Laporte.
Decades after once being “afraid of the RCMP,” growing up in a small community, Beaulieu said she sees things differently now.
“After a while, you just look at it as … you’re all in it together. And the members are there to serve and protect the community,” she said.
“I think the misconception about what the RCMP does here – I think people really need to work in the RCMP to really find out what kind of people do work here.
“As a public servant, my staff were here to support the members (officers) in their everyday – we’re in the background helping them.”
As for Beaulieu’s post-retirement plans come April, she has her sights sight on a few travel destinations – as well as something else.
“Relax,” laughed Beaulieu.