NWT RCMP launch fresh drive to recruit northerners

Crystal Kisakye, centre, interviews RCMP officers Cpl Charmaine Parenteau (left) and Cst Heather Cosenzo
Crystal Kisakye, centre, interviews RCMP officers Cpl Charmaine Parenteau (left) and Cst Heather Cosenzo. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

RCMP in the Northwest Territories recently began a recruitment campaign aimed at northern residents.

We sent 15-year-old Yellowknife student Crystal Kisakye to interview two officers about the job. Here’s her report.

High-school students have probably seen Cst Heather Cosenzo, in community policing, and recruiting officer Cpl Charmaine Parenteau during presentations talking about what it’s like working in the RCMP.

When asked what her favourite thing about her job is, Parenteau responded by talking about how her job varies.



“We wear the same outfits every day, but we always see different people and are expected to do different tasks,” she said.

Parenteau also spoke about how she gets to travel to different communities that she “might’ve not travelled to [if she] didn’t have a job like this.” 

In response to the same question, Cosenzo talked about how she enjoyed being involved in the community and how her job has never been the same after working with the RCMP for 15 years. “The Yellowknife people are amazing,” she said.

When asked about the disadvantages of working with the RCMP, the two officers each pointed out moving.



“Moving around sometimes might be difficult when you have children, because sometimes you have to leave in the middle of their school year.” said Parenteau.

However, she added that she found the RCMP to be “actually quite accommodating” in that situation.

“They usually will wait till the end of the year or try to work with you,” she said, if children are in school in a certain community.

Cosenzo described the difficulty of moving to a community, finding you enjoy living there, and then being told to leave.

“Sometimes I find that some of the communities are a little bit harder to leave than others,” she said.

Parenteau said she deals with the moves by trying to remain in touch with friends she meets from different places.

RCMP officers are required to see, and deal with, incidents and events that can be hard to watch or be a part of.

Asked how officers cope with that experience, Cosenzo and Parenteau said members of the police have “in-house help” in the form of peer-to-peer coordinators.



These coordinators are there for officers who are struggling, and can help employees access the right services to get appropriate help.

For any students interested in this career path, Parenteau suggested they finish school, work hard, get some life experience, and then eventually talk to someone like her in their local recruiting unit.

The officers described working for the RCMP as a job that requires commitment and a positive mindset – and a role for those who enjoy travelling, people, and challenges.

Most of all, they said, the job rewards people who are willing to learn from and teach others as they go.