One is right out of depot in Regina and the other comes with more than five years’ experience in Whitecourt, but both new RCMP constables now working out of the Stettler detachment believe they have a lot to offer.
Constables Matthew Fifield and Brad Wheeler have been with Stettler for about four months and less than a week, respectively. Stettler is the first assignment for the 23-year-old Fifield, who hails from Sussex, New Brunswick.
“I always wanted to do it,” Fifield said of his career. “I never had a plan B. My uncle is a member too, so that helped me decide. I just decided to go with it.”
There were six provinces with openings, and while he chose his home province as his first choice, that didn’t pan out.
“To work in New Brunswick you have to be completely bilingual (English and French), and I’m not,” he said. His second choice, British Columbia, also found the positions available filled by other officers.
There was an opening in Stettler, however, and when the job was offered to him, Fifield didn’t think twice – and he’s enjoying himself.
“I really enjoy it,” he said. “There’s something different every day. There’s lots of paperwork, but that’s OK.”
Fifield said he has no concrete plans for the future, and it’s RCMP policy to rotate rookies after five or six years.
Right now, he’s concentrating on learning the ropes of the job and the sort of things that aren’t taught in depot but only by experience.
“I’m just trying to be a good general duty constable,” he said.
He’s also part of the new bike patrol, along with Const. Carter Boyntink. The patrol has only been out once this season, since they need to patrol in pairs and they’ve been on opposite shifts.
“We’ve worked that out so hopefully we’ll be out more,” he said.
Drugs can ruin a community fast, says constable
Twenty-eight-year-old Brad Wheeler has spent the last five-and-a-half years as a constable in Whitecourt, roughly two-hours’ drive northwest of Edmonton. The experience there has taught him a great deal about drugs and drug investigations, he said – and it’s something he hopes will be useful in combatting the drug issues faced by the Stettler community.
“Drugs are one of the things that can kill a community,” Wheeler said. He noted that “drugs are very very rampant in Whitecourt.”
It’s provided him with ample experience investigating drug crimes. Wheeler admits he feels quite confident in his abilities in that line of work.
For him, though, drugs weren’t what made Stettler his choice – it was the size of the community and its vibrant health and activity.
“My wife is from Red Deer,” he noted, adding that her family and friends are there, and some are in the Stettler area. “We wanted the smaller community, so Stettler was the right fit when (the position) was offered.”