For Kitimat RCMP’s Kayla Briere becoming a police officer was partly about the excitement, but mostly about wanting to help people in the community she lives in.
Born and raised in Surrey, B.C., with two brothers and a sister who still live down south, Briere always knew she wanted to be a police officer.
“I’m the first one in the family to have gone into law enforcement,” said Briere, who joined the RCMP in September 2014 after graduating from university, where she majored in business and physical geography, two subjects she said have helped in her policing, especially with the paperwork.
After completing her training in Regina, she was deployed to Coquitlam, where she served for a year and a half as a general duty member until she and her husband moved up north in 2015, when she joined Kitimat RCMP.
She said this is the first time she has lived up north, and she was pleasantly surprised and is really enjoying living in Kitimat.
She said policing in Kitimat is vastly different from down south, where a large homeless community and crime kept her constantly busy and not able to focus on spending time reaching out to the community.
In Kitimat, the majority of serious crime involves mostly domestic violence calls and drug problems, and following up on problem ATV drivers.
In stark contrast to the numerous calls she had to deal with homeless people in Coquitlam, in her time in Kitimat she’s only had to deal with a few panhandlers.
The file she remembers most vividly in Kitimat is when she released a youth from the RCMP cells and he requested that he be able to take the meal he was given in the cell home with him.
“I didn’t think the meal was that special, but to him it was better than the food he got at home,” said Briere.
She said the experience touched her deeply and made her even more motivated to work with the community.
“The community in Kitimat is very supportive, with a positive attitude towards the RCMP,” said Briere. “Our management is also very pro-community, and we get time to go out and be in the community.”
“I have made a very good connection with the community since I’ve been here.”
Briere said while she enjoys general duty, she is considering to one day branch off into forensics, which will require further training in Ottawa. For now, though, she and her husband will stay in Kitimat until they receive a posting to somewhere else and are able to sell their house.
She said one of her goals is to encourage women to join the RCMP, which hasn’t reached its goal of 25 per cent of its members being female.
“The RCMP is changing and young women mustn’t be afraid to put in their application to join the force,” said Briere. “I was worried about the physicality of the training, but I needn’t have been. The RCMP offers some of the best training in policing in the world.”