Spring is a time of rebirth, new beginnings and fresh starts.
For nine Georgian students, it was also a chance to make history as the first all-female class to be welcomed as auxiliary officers with the South Simcoe Police Service.
The recruits have been enrolled in a targeted direct-entry program since May, which is a partnership between the service and the college’s Honours Bachelor of Police Studies degree. Each of them have their sights set on a policing career.
Prof. Richard Beazley says the Auxiliary Direct Entry program is a unique opportunity designed to expose Georgian students to police training, techniques and processes before they graduate into the field.
Auxiliary officers work with sworn and civilian members of the service to gain a greater understanding of the key role police play as active community partners. The volunteer members of the service also:
- assist with various community events
- participate in traffic duty, crowd control, missing person searches and public relations
- learn about radio and computer operations and report writing
- attend monthly in-service training meetings
- devote a minimum of 12 hours per month of volunteer time
Sergeant Steve Black from the South Simcoe Police Community Mobilization Engagement Unit says he’s thrilled with the calibre of the nine auxiliaries recruited through the new partnership.
“The candidates came well-prepared for the application and interview process. Their knowledge base proved very beneficial when it came to training and made for a seamless transition to deployment,” he says. “In addition to their solid foundation in academic and practical knowledge, their professionalism and positive energy is proving to be a wonderful asset to our auxiliary program.”
Photos courtesy of the South Simcoe Police Service
Third-year Police Studies degree student Erika Ringhofer is excited to give back to her community by volunteering in the auxiliary unit, and looks forward to expanding her knowledge and experience within policing.
“It’s an incredible honour and privilege to join those already in uniform,” she says. “Being a member of this class has allowed me to be active in the community, given me more confidence in myself and my career choice, and clearly demonstrated that there’s diversity in policing.”
Read more about Erika’s journey and experience, and those of two of her classmates, in the Q and A below.
What are your duties as an auxiliary officer?
The service is dedicated to maintaining positive relationships with the community, and, as an auxiliary member, I’m often directly involved in interacting with civilians. This gives me an opportunity to speak to them about the service and our unit. The service also provides us with the chance to update our resumé through real-world learning experiences in search and rescue, and more.
Do you have any advice for other women considering policing as a career?
My advice for other women who want to pursue policing is to gain experience not just through school, but through networking and conversations. Georgian’s Police Foundations and Police degree programs are great avenues to pursue – the professors have had careers in policing, and both programs offer a great foundation for the knowledge necessary to be an officer.
“Becoming an auxiliary officer is a great step to becoming a police officer. This position will not only look great on my resumé, but also allows me to dip my toes in the water. This whole experience really shows you what policing is all about. Don’t be afraid to apply – policing has become more diverse and continues to grow…it really does confirm that women can enter this field and be successful.”
Why did you want to study policing at Georgian?
I enrolled in the Police Foundations program, and after graduating in 2021, bridged into the Police Studies degree program. I chose Georgian because I knew many people who had taken the program and I have only heard good things about it.
How does it feel to be part of the first all-female class of auxiliary recruits?
“When I walked into the first day of training, the first thing I noticed was that it was all female! The service was quick to assure us that we were hired because we were at the top of our class – that felt really good. It was a proud moment for me and my classmates.”
Why did you want to pursue policing?
“I’ve wanted to go into policing from an early age. My older brother was my role model growing up, and seeing him enjoy policing was a big factor in why that became my dream. My family knows a lot of police officers – from neighbours to family friends. Being around them and seeing what amazing people they are inspired me even more.”
What are your long-term plans?
I want to continue to develop myself as a competitive candidate for policing. Law enforcement careers have many integral roles, so I plan to learn more about civilian careers in policing and continue with the auxiliary unit to gain more experience and knowledge.