Graduation was the culmination of some very hard work and feeling of pride and accomplishment. On the 8th of September 1969 after commencing training in February the troop “passed out” (graduated) as it was called. Families and friends from all over Canada arrived to take pride in what their respective favorite had accomplished.
This day was full of physical demonstrations of arrests, unarmed combat, water rescues, and marching drills to show off our new-found skills, fitness and coordination to family, friends we could now march as a One-Troop of 28 in step and we were most impressed with our prowess in our dress parade demonstration.
We had made it, we were different people than when we started – some didn’t make it – the pressure was too much or the life was not for them.
We marched forward with determination to accept our Police badge – our identity and demonstration of our new authority.
We were fit, tougher and more resilient and had learned to use a strong vocabulary as well. We had been cautioned that when at home remember not to use any new inappropriate words around the dining table.
With our badges and bravado we were ready to take on the world – but first, a banquet and dance to celebrate. As I recall the festivities at the then Vagabond Inn were appropriate and full of fun to respect this momentous graduation.
One of the vivid memories I have is of the small chapel at the end of the parade square. Inside it was a magnificent wood panel and stain glass structure – a quiet place to escape and reflect. I sometimes visited when things got tough or seemed impossible and thought about what would life bring after this – if I made it?
After some 47 years, Troop 23 of 1968/69 organised a reunion in Regina that is being held on 8 to 11 August 2016. A large number, around 16, of the troop were located by the organizers and many agreed to attend. Unfortunately, I am not one of those attending but I am sure of the ones that do go, they will be sharing many memories of these by-gone days. They will get together to reminisce and tour Depot to see how it is these days, watch noon parade and check out the heritage center. Some meals will also be enjoyed at some old favorites.
There is reunion website if anyone is interested in some then and now pictures – we have all aged somewhat: http://www.troop23-68-69.ca/
Ottawa – My First Posting
After graduation, I was posted to Ottawa and the Protective Security Division – a stint as protective security guarding on Parliament Hill, Ottawa.
This wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for my first Policing post, but this was what I had been ordered to do and it was at least a change from the recruit days. My memory of my time in Ottawa was that it was spent either on guard duty, both day and night in the cold winter and hot summer. Red Surge on day shift for tourists depending on your post and normal uniform otherwise.
It was an ego boost to have the tourists taking pictures with you and a great way to meet people – answering all kinds of questions. Other posts involved securing and controlling entry to certain buildings, doing patrols of the Parliament Hill grounds and checking for any untoward activity. There were some inquiries, lost property, and the like. It wasn’t real policing in my mine and I was anxious to leave after my tour of duty was up.
Days off were good times checking out the nightlife of Ottawa and Hull, Quebec across the river. I was fairly close to home so got to visit family and friends easily for the six months after my training. After that my ties with my youth and hometown faded as I began my postings around Canada.
After our six months of recruit training, this new life was great and time to let loose and party. As I recall once I graduated I was able to purchase my first car. Having been raised in a family with cars and trucks around a service station I was used to operating all kinds of vehicles.I was very proud of this new ride and felt I had grown up. I used this also for my next posting to Winnipeg when I again drove out of Ontario to my next policing adventure.