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Rooted: Different paths to policing

'What I ended up doing was being a Special Constable first, and I really enjoyed that, so I went into policing. I loved that, and that led me back to North Bay'

“Jobs of the Future” is a series focusing on career paths, local job opportunities, programs, and tales of success that highlight North Bay's diverse job market.  

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 Constable Christina Buckland has been with the North Bay Police Service for just a short time but has been a police constable for more than six years.  

Born and raised in North Bay, Buckland moved to the Greater Toronto Area after university before deciding it was time to come back home.  

“I wanted to come back home to my family,” says Buckland.  

“Originally, I was happy to go anywhere as a police officer. I got hired by York Regional Police and worked there for four years and decided that that was not where I wanted to settle down.” 

Buckland says It’s been easy to transition to the North Bay Police Service.  

“I know where everything is. I know all the main streets and it’s just been good to be somewhere that is so familiar. When I’m on a call, I know the quickest routes to get places – which can really come in handy when you’re trying to get somewhere urgently.” 

As part of her educational background, Buckland took Community and Justice Services at Canadore College before bridging into Criminal Justice at Nipissing University. 

“I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do when I was in school,” says Buckland.  

“I weighed some options, I looked at getting into law, corrections, or probation work. I worked for a lawyer for two summers but decided that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I thought about going into probation, but what I ended up doing was being a Special Constable first, and I really enjoyed that, so I went into policing. I loved that, and that led me back to North Bay.” 

A special constable is someone who is signed a specific detail.  

“Here in North Bay, a special constable would work in the courthouse,” says Buckland.   

“What I was doing was working at Queens Park in Toronto. You’re more of a part of a special unit, working security details rather than you are policing. However, you still get the designation as an officer, but you are not a part of the police force. You don’t carry a firearm or a taser, but you can still perform certain duties in that role.” 

Buckland says the only way to progress and further your career from a special constable is to then become a police constable and she says, “That’s what I did and I love my choice.” 

But it’s not as simple as moving into that next role. Buckland says the courses in between can be challenging.  

“For me, the biggest challenge was passing the fitness part of the course,” says Buckland.  

“But I put myself on a schedule to work out every day and make sure that I could do that. It took me three tries to do it. There’s some high standards and I’ve always been fit, but it’s the strength aspect that I really had to focus and work on in order to pass.” 

After spending four years with York Region Police, Buckland says there are some differences between a police service in the GTA and one in the north.  

“We had a lot more resources in the GTA – we really had everything at our disposal,” says Buckland.  

“When it comes to the technology side of things, York was really using the most up-to-date and innovative equipment and we just don’t have that here yet. However, everything here is more personal within the organization. We all work really well together.” 

She adds staffing is always an issue across the board.  

“Even when police organizations are trying to hire, there’s never enough candidates that have the right qualifications and that makes it hard on the industry as a whole. But here, we’re getting better and getting to a point where we do have a good staffing level for our organization.”  

Buckland says North Bay has become an attractive location for people to move to.  

“There are people who have experience in other regions who want to move to North Bay. They look at the quality of life and they think to themselves that being an officer in North Bay would be a pretty great job.” 

And the North Bay Police Service has earned itself as having a great reputation.  

“It’s great that the organization supports us and is proud to have us. I knew that when I applied that they were happy that I was from here. They like to hire people who are from here or have ties to the area and know how important it is that people understand the community here,” says Buckland.  

Buckland says if a career in policing is something you would be interested in, the best thing to do is to explore other options that you could then bring to the table.  

“I always tell people to go to school for something other than policing.  Because once you get hired, you go to Police College and you will learn a lot of that stuff anyway,” says Buckland.   

“So, I think it’s better to bring something else to the table such as a background in business or technology or marketing or psychology.  Anything that’s different because we all bring certain skill sets to the table here and it's not necessarily just based on policing. Somebody could be really good at just having a better understanding of current events and that in itself would be some knowledge to bring on calls that could help out in a situation, you never really know what you’re walking into – so those background skills can help at any time.” 

If you have a suggestion for the “Jobs of the Future” series, send Matt an email at m.sookram@outlook.com  


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Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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