Agassiz’s Brandon Wolkosky participated in the 2011 RCMP Youth Academy held at Camp Stillwood from April 21-29.
The camp is offered to high school students in grades 11 and 12, and gives them the opportunity to experience what training in depot, the RCMP training grounds in Regina, would be like.
Wolkosky had been considering a career in policing and was encouraged by family and friends to give the camp a try. After completing the course, Wolkosky is even more excited about his potential career.
“I felt really good, I felt like I had accomplished a lot and not everyone gets [that opportunity] so I felt pretty good about it.”
The grade 12 student says that while the physical training was hard, the challenge it provided was his favourite part.
“My favourite part of the camp was the Doug Lewis run … which was running up and down a hill for 20 minutes. The story behind it was really inspirational and they really pumped us up and I really pushed myself.”
The inspirational story took place in Hope on September 13, 1996.
An off-duty police officer and canine handler, Constable Doug Lewis, was paged to help a highway patrol in need of a canine unit to track a fleeing suspect into the woods.
Because Lewis was off-duty he did not have a gun, radio or handcuffs, but was followed by an ERT team that would handle the capture, all Lewis and his two-year-old German Shepard, Chip, had to do was locate suspect Robert John Petrus.
The trail was rough and running up a mountainside, and the ERT team soon fell behind, without Lewis or Chip noticing.
The pair came upon the suspect, and Chip lunged for him, and the suspect stabbed the dog in the throat.
Cst. Lewis charged Petrus, and the two fought as Chip circled around his master, accidentally entangling the constable’s feet in his 20 foot long leash, making him topple to the ground.
Petrus jumped on Lewis and stabbed him repeatedly in the face, arms and chest, but still the police officer fought on. Eventually Petrus was able to flee into the woods. Constable Lewis made his way over to Chip, and tried to stop the dog’s bleeding with his shirt, but he was too late. The officer staggered to the highway and flagged down a passing car.
The drive that fueled Cst. Lewis during this battle was ‘Never give up. Never surrender.’
Those words are what the youth academy students chant as they run up and down the hill as many times as they can in the allotted time.
The more daunting task for Wolkosky was the classroom component. After getting up at 5am every morning and training, it’s hard to focus on sitting in a classroom, taking notes to prepare for the exam, he says.
Wolkosky says he definitely recommends the RCMP Youth Academy camp for students considering pursuing a policing career. “Prepare physically,” he advises, “I play a lot of sports and thought the workouts were still pretty hard.” And if you cheat, your punishment is even more exercise. “If you don’t think something is fair, just say ‘Yes Constable’ and get over it,” he warns. “It’s a small taste of what you’d have to do to be a police officer.”