July 23 was bright and sunny in the City Room at Edmonton City Hall. The clock struck one. The drums and pipes from the Edmonton Police Service boomed and skirled.
In marched 22 newly minted peace officers of the City of Edmonton and Alberta Health Services (AHS) who were about to receive their Community Peace Officer Induction Program certificates.
The music stopped. The peace officers—three women and 19 men— stood still.
During six weeks of intensive training, they had learned the techniques (ground fighting defence, edged weapon defence, baton, handcuffing and defensive strikes) and the diplomacy (social skills, communication skills and methods to gain voluntary compliance and to defuse stressful situations) to excel at their job serving Edmontonians.
Peace Officers help keep Edmonton safe, pleasant and enjoyable. They protect and enhance community standards through enforcement, and partner with associations, schools, and not-for-profits to educate the public about city bylaws.
“These weeks of training started with nervous excitement,” said valedictorian Ryley Garland. “But as we came together, a bond formed and strengthened. It was the toughest experience of our lives. We were able to pull through because we worked as a team.”
“You worked and trained hard to enter this profession,” said Rob Smyth, the City of Edmonton’s Deputy City Manager of Citizen Services. “You bring a valuable contribution to make Edmonton a great place to live, work and play.”
Smyth named compassion, empathy and kindness as “the most important attributes of a peace officer.”
John Simmons, the City’s Director of Community Standards for Peace Officers, encouraged the graduates “to help and serve the community, to act professionally, to be creative and seek solutions and to always watch out for themselves and for each other.”
“During these weeks of training, you were tested in a classroom, on mats, through scenarios and drills,” said Ryan Cammidge, Edmonton Zone Director at AHS. “But it was worth it. It made you more resourceful and capable than you were before.”
With this new cohort, the City of Edmonton adds 11 new community peace officers to its municipal ranks.
Congratulations to all, and thank you, and your families, for your commitment and service.