Sgt. Jackie George
Police Officer | Sergeant
Legal Admistration at Fanshawe College
Provide a brief general introduction about yourself.
My name is Jackie George. I am currently a Sergeant with Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (NAPS). I am from Kettle & Stony Point First Nation, which is in Southern Ontario. I grew up in London, Ontario.
What does your daily job entail?
I am currently the Uniform Recruitment and Media Relations Officer, and I also assist with in-service training. My day will entail a lot of different things.
I will be answering emails regarding things such as requests to travel to a community for a career fair, do an interview, put out a media release (for instance, it could be about a drug bust by the NAPS Drug Enforcement Unit), etc.
I could be interviewing people who are applying for jobs. I receive and screen all applications.
For in-service training, I give fitness tests to new applicants or current serving officers.
Overall, my day entails quite a bit.
What does a frontline officers daily job entail?
A frontline officer is usually known as a Constable at a Detachment in a First Nations community. Their daily job would entail patrolling around the town, going through reports, finishing up an investigation, and ensuring the care of their vehicle and detachment with maintenance. They would also do a lot of community contact, such as dropping by the Band Office or school and visiting people throughout the community.
If they had no current investigation happening they would hopefully do a presentation at the school. If they did had an investigation going, they would spend their day writing reports by interviewing people and contacting other resources to finish up their investigation.
What got you interested in your chosen career?
What got me interested in policing is my family. I am the eleventh person in my family to become a police officer. I am the first and only female so far. The most direct influence on me was my uncle Phil George. He became a police officer a few years back, and I was impressed with how he had focused on the fitness, training, education, and learning the Criminal Code and the Highway Traffic Act. He had done well for himself in his career and he is now retired.
I had several family members who went from First Nations policing then move onto the Ontario Provincial Police. I had always been influenced by First Nations policing. It has a very stronghold for me. When I had been informed of the existence of Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service, I was all ready to apply. I had my education, fitness, a lot of volunteer work, good employment record, and good security background.
What has motivated you?
I had talked about becoming a police officer for years. It was comments made by my family saying, “You keep talking about becoming a police officer, but we don’t see you going for the actual job.” When I heard that kind of feedback, I thought I better get on with it. It’s not easy to decide to become a police officer because your whole lifestyle changes. Once you become a police officer, you are a role model for the community when you are working and not working. When I went to the Ontario Police College for training, I remember thinking, “You’re going to fight to succeed, or you’re going to get scared and think of excuses to run away.” and I said, “I am going to fight to succeed.” I wanted my family to be proud of me, and I wanted to be a police officer working in a community just like my family members in police work had done. I had a lot of motivators to study really hard while I was staying at the police college. There were other people, besides family, who have motivated me. There were other women in First Nations policing; I remember there were some ladies from the Six Nations Police Service in Southern Ontario. They were really excellent doing push-ups and target shooting, and I thought I was going to be just like that. So, there are so many influences all around. It isn’t one path. If you keep all those goals in mind, it will help you succeed.
WE’RE ALL HUMAN BEINGS, WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. IF YOU HAVE MADE A MISTAKE, DON’T LET IT HOLD YOU BACK. CONTINUE TO PURSUE YOUR DREAMS AND LEARN FROM THOSE MISTAKES.
How did you get to where you are today?
How I got to where I am today is based a lot on my employment record. For instance, I do take my job very seriously. Things like attendance and how complete and accurate you do your work are influences in advancing in police work. If I had a high absenteeism rate, I would never be considered for advancement to another position.
There are ways to prepare yourself ahead of time. When things change in the police service, for example, you have the opportunity to move to a different detachment or apply to another role. If you prepare ahead of time for the change, change will happen. When I wanted to be in the crime unit, I made sure I let people know I wanted to be in the crime unit, ensured my work was thorough and complete, had good attendance, followed orders, and took care of myself off the job. Personal grooming also helps. When I helped out with a search warrant one day, the Sergeant considering me for the crime unit position said my uniform was clean and pressed, my hair was tied back well, I was ready and on time. All that made that Sergeant consider me as one of the people trying out for the position in the crime unit and I got it.
How do you keep developing your skills in your career?
We receive orders from the superior level directing us to keep up to date on courses, there are several courses we must complete online during our own time. We all just finished one on “real matrimonial property.” There is another one we are going to do about “administering the Naloxone.” So, time management is vital. You have to stay on top of the courses and get them done.
You can also do things off duty by reading literature publications that have to do with a specific area of interest. For example, with the area of the crime unit, I read books on executing search warrants and interviewing people. Talking to people already experienced in those positions or other officers who have more seniority than you will have insight into how they prepared themselves for courses is beneficial. For example, there was one officer who was well read in case-law (decisions made in court influence the way we do our job now.) and his advice was to read about it for one hour every day. Now that is advice that I pass on to other officers.
Any health or physical requirements in your career?
You need to be in good shape; you have to work out at least three times a week for one hour or five times a week for 30 minutes. That helps you stay strong physically and mentally. Extracurricular activities are always good. For example, hockey may not be an actual physical requirement to pass a fitness test, but it is still beneficial.
What are some things you like about your career?
The best thing I like about my career is people to people contact, I’ve never been a fan of office work or paperwork even though there is quite of bit of that. I find that if I can help one person accomplish one thing in a day, that feels great for me.
Outside of work, what kind of things do you do to take care of yourself?
Outside of work, it is critical to stay focused and engaged with family because your family is your number one support. You should not bring work home with you to the family, you bring yourself to the family and spend good quality time there. You should also partake in recreation and social activities. Before an upcoming shift or workweek, you should prepare by getting your exercise, meals made, and uniform ready. Getting ready for the work week is really important.
What financial opportunities did you use and what was the process?
I made sure I applied for financial assistance with the Southern First Nations Secretariat, which is an organization that helps fund post-secondary education. That was key to getting into a policing role because I took a Legal Secretary course, which advanced all my skills with letter writing, memo writing, proper grammar and spelling, and keyboarding skills. These are all skills that I have used to this very day, and I have been in policing for 19 years now.
What do you still hope to achieve?
We have a lot of people in our service who are aware of First Nations issues. I still hope to achieve influencing more First Nation People to get into First Nation policing. They are our number one target audience for hiring. We welcome all those applications and they can be anybody from every walk of life. It was First Nations people that influenced me to get into policing. I saw them stand up, be strong, supportive and protective. That was key for me, that was my primary influence, and I would like to keep that going.
What would you like to share with the youth reading this?
One of thing I would share is that I quit high school and I had to go back. I want to share this because there weren't any good job prospects when you do not have your high school education. Finishing high school, staying out of trouble, and learning from mistakes are all very important.
I would also like to encourage young people by saying, if you have made mistakes, do not let them hold you back and continue to pursue your dreams. Learn from those mistakes enough for you to actually talk about it. For example, I thought my first speeding ticket would keep me out of policing. I do not blame it on anyone or any outside factors because it was me and my decision. I am the one who got pulled over by the police officer who spoke to me and he gave me a ticket. If you made a mistake learn and take ownership of that mistake.