Sergeant Howard Chow, of the VPD's Recruiting Section, announced the return of the Aboriginal Cadet program at the VPD, with an increase from last year's two cadets to four cadets this year. The program is a three-month long summer job, where the participants are given exposure to the Department and to a career in policing. They will be mentored by an Aboriginal police officer.
The Aboriginal Community Career and Employment Services Society, or ACCESS, which provides programs and training to assist Aboriginal people in the Greater Vancouver area with employment, is funding the additional two positions in the Cadet program this year.
"We've traditionally had a hard time recruiting in the Aboriginal community," says Sergeant Chow. "One of our cadets from last year has now been hired as a Vancouver police officer. We have great hopes the same will be true with this new group."
There are presently 21 self-identified Aboriginal police officers in the VPD, representing 1.5% of the force.
MEET THE CADETS
Mallory Bob - North Vancouver, B.C.
Band: Nanoose First Nation, B.C. (also known as: Snaw-Naw-As)
- Rescued younger cousin from drowning in a river in Duncan. During a swim she was caught in the current and Mallory was able to pull her out of the water and carried her up to help which was almost a mile away.
- Played goal for the Nanaimo Girls Box Lacrosse team and won gold for B.C.'s Girls Lacrosse Association.
- Graduated from Dover Bay Secondary School.
- Began working with Thi Kwasun Youth Group. This is a youth group working with Aboriginal youth from Nanoose.
- Completed the Law Enforcement Preparatory Program at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt, B.C.
- Worked with Usqualewan Child Care Centre in Nanoose.
- Finished first year Criminology at Malaspina University (Vancouver Island University)
Nicholas Wilson - Vancouver, B.C.
Band: Tsimshian Nation
First in family to graduate from high school (Britannia Secondary School) and then go to college.
Graduate of the Vancouver Police Student Challenge Program.
Received a scholarship to Langara (taking Human Kinetics).
Volunteer for the Hockey Heros program for eight years.
Active in local basketball.
Maria Starrs - Merritt, B.C.
Band: Lower Nicola Band
Went to Thompson Rivers University and obtained a BSc Biology major.
Director of Public Relations for Kamloops Fusion Rotaract (Junior Branch of Rotary).
Travelled to Australia.
Very active in sports including soccer, basketball, horseback riding and squash.
Grew up in a small town (Merritt) with three siblings.
Worked on local ranches as a wrangler and ranch hand.
Worked for three years as a legal assistant in a notary office.
David Kelly - Chilliwack, B.C.
Band: Soowahlie First Nation
- Born and raised in Chilliwack, B.C.
- Witnessed family members suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, crime and poverty.
- After experimenting with the party scene, turned to music (musician), which helped to turn his life around.
- Had a few very positive role models growing up.
- Completed 60 credits at Langara College.