Prime time television and reality cop shows paint a particular picture of the life of a police officer. In most cases, what you envision a policing career to be is completely different from reality. The title of Police Constable comes hand in hand with formal training, hard work, discipline and intelligence. And the learning doesn’t stop once you graduate. We recently spoke with Constable Sara Newton about her experience in the Peel Regional Police force and what it feels like to be the new kid on the block.
What made you decide to join the force?
I’d been playing on team sports in university. For me there was no better feeling of achievement than being on a team that has a positive influence on the community. That’s why I chose the police force.
What did you consider the hardest aspect of Police College?
Because Police College is very extensive it can dominate much of your time. I think the hardest aspect was just ensuring my home and personal life remained as close to usual as possible and at the same time take advantage of what the college had to offer. Due to the college’s close proximity to home, I would go home on occasion to have time with my young child, as well as, do some late nights at the college to have a balance between the two. While attending the college, recruits are typically required to stay on the college grounds Monday to Friday.
Since you’ve graduated what do you consider your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment to date, although it’s only been six months, is receiving acknowledgment from my peers that I have the makings of a good officer. I’m not there yet but it’s in the makings. It’s just really important because primarily these are people I’m going to be working with side-by-side, relying on day-to-day for what I’m hoping is going to be a very long career.
Do you feel your experience is unique being a female on the police force?
I think everybody brings a different perspective coming in. I don’t think that being a female makes it different. The fact that I’m a mom might bring a different perspective.
How has your experience differed from what you initially expected?
I think I applied to this profession with a mind-set to expect the unexpected. The only permanent is change. So far everyday has been different from the day that has preceded it. That’s what I expect tomorrow to be.
Do you have any particular experience that has excited you?
I really like the team environment and that’s what I get in this position. Everyone I’ve met is very excited to do this job and they are good at what they do. It just solidifies to me why I made this choice and why I’m here.
What do you like best about being on the force?
I like many things. The future is so open right now because I’m so new, with my career still in the making. Everything is still exciting. I haven’t seen it all yet but I think right now that’s what I like the best about it.
Is there anything that you like the least?
I have very limited policing experience to refer to. I think that’s what I like the least.
What are the most important things you’ve learned since joining the force?
What I’ve learned is that you have two ears and one mouth for a reason and that listening more than you talk proves to be beneficial when it comes to doing this job effectively and working efficiently on a team.
What are your ultimate career goals?
Right now I’m not making any lofty career goals. I’m at the beginning of my career so my plan is to become skilled and proficient in front-line uniform policing before I decide where I’d actually like to go in this career.
Do you feel that you are learning from your peers?
For sure. They are bringing unique experiences to the job, their perspective or how they see things. Some people are more analytical while others are doers. There is a lot of mentoring in this position.
Why would you recommend this career to someone who is thinking of joining the police force?
I think every day is different. You have the opportunity to be part of an amazing brotherhood. I think the people you are working for are hardworking and intelligent and they want to better the community and have a positive influence on the environment that everyone is living, working and growing up in. jp