The small police department in Ste. Anne is fielding calls from across the country with requests for information on the successful training program it operates.
Police Chief Marc Robichaud says around 130 people have gone through the program over the years. This spring, 14 officers completed their initial training in Ste. Anne.
“We’re always taking resumes but we’re quite inundated, we’ve become more and more selective with our process just because of the amount of people applying,” he says.
Robichaud believes the high volume of interest comes from a strong desire from people who want to volunteer in the community while finding out if a career in policing is right for them.
He estimates around 50 people have graduated from the program and went on to get jobs in law enforcement across the country. Robichaud notes that some of the officers end up returning to Ste. Anne.
“Right now, all but one of my officers here have gone through the auxiliary program, starting here in Ste. Anne. And then a lot of them have gone away and policed in other places and have come back to work for us here now in full time roles,” he says. “So, the program has been great. There's probably very few cities across the country that I can go to where I don't have somebody working as a policeman that started as an auxiliary here.”
Robichaud points out that police departments in other provinces are hearing of the success of their training program.
“We get calls from police departments across the country in relation to our auxiliary program and how we manage it,” says Robichaud.
He goes on to say his capable staff team operates the program and gets all the credit for its success.
“The program is run by Miranda Lanouette out of our office here and it's quite autonomous, so I don't really have any part in the hiring of auxiliaries or the management of the auxiliary program,” Robichaud says.
With a small police force, he notes each officer wears many hats and takes care of a variety of things that make for effective community policing and training programs.
“All of our officers here are general duty officers, but then everybody here also carries portfolio items that they're responsible for,” Robichaud explains.
While each member has a role in the training program, some officers are more involved.
“Kelly Keith teaches use of force internationally, he’s all over the world teaching use of force and he's one of our officers,” Robichaud says. “And he does all of the training here for them and then there's components that are done by our other members in relation at hands on work, but a bulk of our training is done by Sergeant Keith.”
The police chief also points out that Ste. Anne is a great community to serve, which makes it a good place to get started in law enforcement.
“I love policing in the town of Ste. Anne,” says Robichaud. “It's certainly the most rewarding job I've ever had in policing. I'm in my 32nd year and you know policing in Ste. Anne is really the top of the list.”
As the community continues to grow at a fast rate, Robichaud says it is important for the police department to also adjust.
“When I started here, I knew everybody and generally the police knew the people that they were dealing with, and had relationships with those people,” he says. “But that's starting to change where we deal with a lot of people that we don't know anymore, and the dynamics are changing as the town is growing.”