At age four, around the same time he first saw “Cops” on TV, Mathieu D’Aigle knew he wanted to be a police officer.
Now 18, the Grade 12 Allain St. Cyr student’s lifelong dream is one step closer to becoming a reality.
D’Aigle was selected over six other applicants from the territory to attend the RCMP’s National Engagement Week at Depot, the force’s training academy located in Regina, Sask.
Next week, D’Aigle will join 31 other participants from across the country at the annual camp from March 25 to March 29. The event offers young people interested in pursuing policing as a career an up-close look what it takes to become a Mountie. Applicants were chosen based on academic success, their interest in policing and their community engagement.
After filling out “many, many documents,” during the application process, D’Aigle, received the message he’d been waiting for: a congratulatory text message from a Yellowknife RCMP recruiter earlier this month.
“It was a great feeling,” said D’Aigle when Yellowknifer caught up with the North Bay, Ont. born student at Allain St. Cyr last week. “It feels amazing. I feel very honoured to be representing the NWT.”
When he gets off a plane in Regina next week, D’Aigle said it will be straight to business — driving simulations, drills, firearms practice, self-defence workshops and in-class law lessons.
“If I were to say I wasn’t a little nervous I would be lying,” said D’Aigle.
He admitted the same when thinking ahead to the prospect of policing, but it’s part of the job, he said.
“It’s a risk I’m willing to take because it is what I want to do,” said D’Aigle.
After completing the engagement camp, D’Aigle said he plans to apply to Depot to become, ideally, a front-line officer with the NWT RCMP.
“If I do end up going to Depot (full time), I’m actually going to request to see if I can be sent back to Yellowknife as a new constable,” said D’Aigle.
While part of the appeal in policing is bringing criminals to justice and bringing closure to families affected by crime, D’Aigle said he’s largely driven by a desire to give back to the community and to help others.
“I like the idea of just being able to help somebody who needs the help,” he said, even if it’s as simple as offering someone gas or a ride home while on duty.
“Or just help (residents) solve situations without violence … it’s not always about getting out a gun. You have to use your words and communicate with people to get them to trust you, and get them to realize who police really are,” said D’Aigle. “(Police aren’t) always chasing bad guys, right?”
D’Aigle, who has volunteered with Yellowknife RCMP recruiters and in-school program providers, said the experience will “open up a bigger window,” into the force to “really live a week as a cadet in training.”
Cpl. Charmaine Parenteau, a recruiter with the Yellowknife RCMP, told Yellowknifer her detachment is “very proud” of D’Aigle’ selection.
“D’Aigle is very enthusiastic about becoming a member of the RCMP and has displayed his interest in this career choice in multiple ways,” stated Parenteau in an email. “I think it is so rewarding that we have the opportunity to support someone’s dreams to come true and when he comes back to the community we are all looking forward to hear about it.”
D’Aigle offered advice to young people in Yellowknife and across the territory interested in a similar experience, and a path in policing.
“Go for it,” he said. “Get informed. Know what you want and what it takes to be in the RCMP. It’s demanding but it’s rewarding at the end.”
Once this year’s National Engagement Week wraps up, D’Aigle has his sights set on another training camp in July. RCMP will host two programs this summer: the Depot Youth Week and Pre-Cadet Training Program in the summer.