When a person walks into the Chestermere RCMP detachment, the first person they are likely to speak with isn’t a uniformed officer but one of the civilian administrative staff.
As the first point of contact they act as a guide, assistant, and a listening ear for people coming for everything from a police background check to reporting a collision to reporting property crime.
And with, uniformed members constantly coming and going, the support staff provided the needed continuity and local knowledge to the detachment.
With over 27 years of service working with different police detachments across Alberta and B.C. few people know the role, and how important it is like Chestermere RCMP’s Office Manager Rose Walker.
“They’re vulnerable when they come here,” she said.
“They might come upset…you try to calm them down and reassure them that things are going to be ok,” said Walker who was recognized by both city council and the RCMP for 20 years of service with the RCMP at the Feb. 5 council meeting.
Walker started her career at the RCMP detachment in her home town of Kitimat B.C in 1985.
She moved to Langley B.C. in 1988 and worked there until 1993 when she decided to be a stay at home mom for her two young children.
Unfortunately for Walker, the family finances couldn’t afford for her to stay at home so she returned to work getting a job with the Abbotsford B.C. city police where she stayed until the family decided to move to England.
When they moved back to Canada, Walker said they were convinced by friends in Calgary to move to Alberta, which lead to the Walker family settling in Strathmore in 2004, where she worked with the RCMP there until March 2007 when she applied for and got the job in Chestermere.
An office job has always attracted Walker, but it’s the feeling of making a tangible difference to people who are in a vulnerable place that has kept her working for the police all these years.
“Working with the RCMP you have the sense of being able to help people,” she said.
“I’m not helping people like the members would out on the road or anything,” said Walker but said that the office staff do provide help to residents.
Walker enjoys the variety and challenge of the work, doing everything from helping people to complete paperwork for criminal record checks to guiding people as they make police reports on property crimes and collisions.
“It’s a challenge, it’s a variety of work,” she said.
Walker remembers a particularly rewarding and challenging assignment when she was doing the court duties after a home invasion in Chestermere.
“When it came up to be closer to the trial date I got to focus and hep the crown prosecutor’s office along with one of the plain clothes fellows,” said Walker.
“Between the three of us we were gathering the last-minute paperwork together to get the people together that needed to be attending the trial,” she said.
Walker enjoyed assisting with that case because it gave her a chance to make a difference in that case.
“It just felt like you were helping get something into the court process and feeling a sense of importance but yet making a difference to help out,” she said.
It is that sense of helping that has made working with the RCMP her dream job.
It’s not always the big things, like helping prepare for a trial that is rewarding.
Walker said that the people that she’s met at the front counter of the detachment have enriched her life.
“If I could give back just a little bit it means the world to me,” she said.
What has likely been her most powerful way of giving back has been to provide a listening ear for those in the community who are struggling.
Her dedication to the job has turned the detachment from the place she works into a second home.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with some many people who I feel to be part of my extended family,” she said.
Chestermere RCMP Detachment Commander Staff. Sgt. Mark Wielgosz said that Chestermere RCMP are fortunate to have Walker working with them.
“From what I see on a daily basis Rose has been unwavering in her dedication to her staff, our members and the quality of service to our community.
“She’s been a source of valuable support and we are fortunate to have her,” said Wielgosz.
Chestermere RCMP’s good fortune will continue as Walker said she has no plans to leave.
“For me this is my retirement job and I’ll stay here in Chestermere as long as they’ll have me,” said Walker.