Small, who was born and raised in Lethbridge, spent her first two posting with the RCMP in the Northwest Territories before being transferred to Picture Butte at the end of June.
“I loved it,” she said of her northern postings.
It was certainly a different type of posting than she expects she will see in the rest of her career with the RCMP. She said the policing style is certainly different than what she is doing in the Picture Butte area.
“I would have never gone to the Northwest Territories,” she admitted, appreciating the fact it gave her an opportunity to see a part of the country should not have seen otherwise.
It’s an experience she said she wouldn’t take back now. She said the scenery was amazing. In her first posting she lived right on the Mackenzie River. Eventually she’d like to go back for a visit.
Her first posting was also a fly-in site. There was only an ice road into the community they had to fly in and out of to get to their RCMP post.
One of the biggest challenges was grocery shopping.
“It was an experience. You learned to live off the minimum.”
She said often cereal and milk were her mainstay. A trip home to southern Alberta meant returning with suitcases and even a cooler filled with groceries.
Adjusting to no sunlight in the winter and never ending sunlight in the summer was challenging.
“The summer up there is the most beautiful thing. I’d live up there just for the summer.”
She added it was a weird feeling to see the sun for the first time after months of no sun.
While it is also really pretty in the winter with frost on everything, it is also very cold. She said everyone sprints from building to vehicle and from vehicle to building to stay as warm as possible.
She did note it is a different type of cold, with very little wind. Once a person is bundled up they can handle the extreme cold easier than in southern Alberta where the wind is such a factor.
Small said her decision to become a police officer was simply made, “to help people”.
She realizes as a police officer she may not always be able to help someone or make a difference in their lives but even if she is able to help one person in her career she will be satisfied.
Small said she fell into police work. She was actually going to school in another area but was impressed with her Criminal Justice instructors at the Lethbridge College.
“The had a huge impact on why I wanted to be a police officer.”
She said the more she got into the classes the more she wanted to be a police officer and since most of the instructors are former RCMP she followed in their footsteps.
One of the biggest draws for her to become an RCMP officer was the opportunity to see a case file through from start to finish. With urban police services, she might have started a file but than it is handed off to officers who work specific areas of policing.
With three years on the job, Small she is willing to work anywhere in Canada.
“I’m happy to be in Alberta because all my family is here.”
She is particularly interested in working with children and cases that involve children. She knows it is not an easy area to work in for any officers but she likes the fact she can speak for those often can’t speak for themselves.
“I’m good with kids.”
She wants to be the type of police officer who can help children whatever the case may be.
“There is a lot that interests me,” she said of the various aspects of police work and placement opportunities.
She said there are over 100 career streams in the RCMP and she finds them all interesting.
In her down time she likes to stay active and be outdoors. She likes to play soccer.
Settling in with the Picture Butte detachment, she said, “everyone has been great here.”