The RCMP is unmatched in what it can offer you


2023-02-28 11:56 PST

Constable Berthier Kyobela didn’t join the RCMP to sit idly in one place.

As an African kid to go all the way up north was just an incredible experience – to see another part of Canada – as an immigrant kid – to just explore Canada. That’s why I joined the RCMP, says Kyobela.

In his ten-year career with the RCMP, Kyobela has had the opportunity to police in different communities, different jurisdictions, and different levels of policing.

Berthier Kyobela immigrated from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1995 with his mother to join his father who had arrived in Vancouver seven years prior to establish himself in this new country and prepare for the arrival of his family.

His interest in becoming a cop was sparked by a high school liaison officer who got to know him and his interests and recommended that he attend the Vancouver Police Student Challenge Program, which he joined in 2004. The unique program provided Grade 11 and 12 students from Vancouver-area schools and from all socio-economic and multi-cultural backgrounds, an opportunity to participate in the eight-day Youth Police Academy.

He was hooked. He attended the Criminology Program at Douglas College. But after one semester, he wanted to try something different and attended the Marketing Management Program at BCIT. He soon realized it wasn’t for him but he finished the diploma program and returned to complete his Diploma in Criminology at Douglas College.

My Dad said, ‘You know, your first decision is often the right one,’ says Kyobela. He is now completing his degree in Criminology at Simon Fraser University.

He applied to the RCMP and attended Depot Cadet Training graduating in 2013.

His first posting was at the Langley Detachment where he remained for eight years.

I had the opportunity to do pretty much what I wanted to do, says Kyobela. From frontline policing to Prolific Offender Suppression Team, Community Liaison Officer, Offence Related Property/Strike Force to working with Youth Section/School Liaison program.

When he felt it was time to further grow professionally, Kyobela accepted a position with Federal Serious and Organized Crime in the Integrated Money Laundering Investigative Team (IMLIT). The Team investigates transnational and organized crime money laundering. These complex files involve police agencies across the globe and as a result could take a year or more to close.

Always looking for the next adventure, Kyobela learned of the Relief Program offering police officers who work in small isolated posts a respite to leave the community for a one-month period. In the fall of 2022, Kyobela flew to the tiny community of Pangnirtung, Nunavut, an Inuit hamlet located on Baffin Island, just 45 kilometers south of the Artic Circle.

Cst. Berthier Kyobela at a northeastern patrol area in Pangnirtung. Behind him is the bay Aulattiviup Tasiujanga.

Pangnirtung, "the place of Bull Caribou", is a remote fly-in community with no access to the rest of Nunavut. It is very remote and took Kyobela two days to get there.

Prior to his arrival, Kyobela spent a significant amount of time researching the history and culture to better understand the people and their land, which he found fascinating.

In 1921, the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post in Pangnirtung. Two years later, the RCMP erected a permanent office. In fact, the original Hudson’s Bay Company Old Blubber Station is still there.

In 1921, The Hudson Bay Company built a trading post in Pangnirtung. Two years later, in 1923, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police built its first detachment.

It’s a fascinating community, says Kyobela. And it’s so beautiful. I took several photos of the vast, expansive land, but could not truly capture it. If you ever have the chance to go, take it.

He was also part of the teams that assisted with the Fort McMurray, Alberta fires of 2016, BC Wildfires of 2017 in Williams Lake and 2018 in Burns Lake. During a provincial state of emergency or another urgent matter, the RCMP has the ability to call on members across the province and country. We call it, ‘surge capacity.’ We send in a group of officers into an area to deal with an event, contain it, and then scale back as needed.

Locally, Kyobela has also experienced working at RCMP detachments in Whistler, YVR, Burnaby, Mission, Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope.

There is something to be said about the ability to call upon uniformed officers who have common training, common discipline, common Use of Force options and accountability measures, and to send them anywhere in the country to manage a situation, says Kyobela. You don’t have to spend any time retraining them. They just know what to do. For example, in my deployment to Pangnirtung, I was able to respond to every type of file, using the same risk assessment training and community response as I have done in the Lower Mainland.

Kyobela also participated in the security measures for the six-day visit of Pope Francis to Edmonton starting on July 24, 2022. Kyobela was staying at the St. Joseph’s Seminary where the Pope was staying. He and his team were charged with protecting the Pope’s quarters. He saw the Pope quite a few times.

Cst. Kyobela took part in Pope Francis’ historic visit to Edmonton

These are among just a few the experiences Kyobela has had since joining the RCMP.

This is what he tells people to entice them to join Canada’s National Force, There are so many opportunities to grow as a person; to learn incredibly vital skills in enforcement; to travel the country and connect with our communities.

Last year, he joined Inspector Veronica Fox, to visit with some of the African communities in Vancouver to talk to them about considering policing as a career. Fox and Kyobela visited Black and African communities, Black-owned businesses, and churches where the majority of members are Black.

They don’t expect to see two Black cops in uniform, walking down the street with a smile on their faces, adds Kyobela.

Immigrants bring a lived experience of policing and police officers that is often different from Canadians. Their resilience and perspective is valuable to the policing profession in Canada, says Kyobela. For those curious about policing, I tell them that here is an opportunity to serve and to have a generational impact. Our job is recession proof. We have a pension. We have access to medical. If you want to start a family, we have benefits that will help you do that. If you are curious about this country, we give you that opportunity. If you want to stay in one community for your career, you can.

He believes that in 2023, you cannot expect an employee do one thing for the next 25 years. Same with policing. People want a variety of experiences.

This is my message to anybody who is interested in policing, says Kyobela. The RCMP is unmatched in its ability to offer you a work-life balance that meets your needs. Literally, anything you can imagine doing in modern-day policing, the RCMP offers. Pick any law enforcement agency in the Western world, we either offer the same opportunity or can stand shoulder to shoulder with them. Then there is the iconic image of the RCMP.

I’ve had incredible opportunities, says Kyobela. I’ve done amazing things, learned about different communities and engaged in different kinds of policing in each one. No one can offer you that. Except the RCMP.

What’s next for Cst. Berthier Kyobela? I've so much more to learn at the federal policing level. I'd like to one day do an international policing deployment to my former home, the Democratic Republic of Congo. I’d like to one day become a Detachment Commander. I’d be coming with experience in complex investigations in organized crime as well as my deep roots in community engagement.


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