Const. Jeff Warkentin says he has learned a lot in the last six months.
Warkentin is one of the newest members of the Quesnel RCMP Detachment, and he has been in Quesnel just shy of six months. This is his first posting since completing the RCMP’s Cadet Training Program.
Originally from Langley, Warkentin had always admired Quesnel from the few times he has passed through before moving here.
And now that he’s working here, Warkentin is very glad to be in Quesnel.
Warkentin, who is 27, applied to the RCMP about two years ago. He says the application process is about a year and a half, and once he got through that, he went to Depot in Regina.
Warkentin says graduates are given a list of open detachments and asked to put down a list of about their top seven choices. When deciding where to post you, the RCMP looks at if you are married, if you have kids and your lifestyle.
“The only thing I knew about Quesnel is I drive through here to go hunting,” he said. “I always liked the feel of it though.”
Warkentin says there are a few reasons he wanted to join the RCMP.
“I like to challenge myself,” he said. “I like something that’s challenging but that can also be rewarding as well. There are a lot of challenges, but at the end of the day, I have a lot of reward in the things I can achieve and can make people’s day better, most of the time.”
Law enforcement is not a career path that was always on Warkentin’s mind. He grew up working trades, and it was only a few years after high school that he started moving in this direction.
Quesnel is a busy spot for a first posting, and Warkentin says he is learning a lot here.
“It’s been challenging, it’s been stressful, and it’s been fun,” he said. “It’s been a big learning curve. It’s been an overwhelming six months, but it’s also been rewarding too. It’s been good. I like the adrenaline rush, the excitement. I’m happy to be in Quesnel and hoping to make a difference in the community.”
Coming from the Lower Mainland, Warkentin says settling in Quesnel has been a bit of an adjustment as far as lifestyle goes, but he likes it here.
“The work factor is good, but also, in my downtime, I’m a small-town guy, and I’m outdoorsy,” he said. “It’s not crazy small, but small compared to where I come from. People here are a lot friendlier, most of the time, and like talking to you. And there’s affordable real estate.”
This early in his career, Warkentin says he doesn’t yet have any specific goals or directions he’d like to pursue within the force.
“There are so many different routes you can go with the RCMP,” he said. “Right now, I’m just focusing on the general duty side of things. There’s so much information to take in. Right now, I just go with the flow, get some experience in the job and time will tell.”
As a general duty officer, Warkentin deals with a wide range of calls, including assaults, noise complaints, intoxicated people, thefts from vehicles, broken windows, accidents, animal encounters and people turning in stolen property they found.
“A lot of times, we get calls for advice actually,” he said. “It’s a lot of variety. There’s always something interesting.”
Warkentin says the area covered by the Quesnel RCMP is also very big — and very diverse. The downtown area has its own common issues, while the issues that are common in the more rural areas are different than the downtown ones.