An example of RCMP diversity
Burnaby, This Is Who We Are
2019-05-28 14:06 PDT
When she told her parents she wanted to be a police officer, they were supportive, and very much live vicariously through her experience. Ironically both her parents wanted to be police officers in Hong Kong. When she graduated from Depot her father bawled and said
I came to this country with barely anything and now my daughter is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Corporal Freda Fong of the Burnaby RCMP General Investigations Section exemplifies the diversity that exists within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Cpl. Fong and her family moved to Canada from Hong Kong when she was five years old. She doesn’t remember much of the move or her childhood in Hong Kong but knew her parents left their homeland to provide a better life for their three children. They settled in Richmond, in a two bedroom apartment, in which the kids shared one room. To a young child, this was great fun; they could play, they could bother one another, and they are close as siblings. But to her parents, this was a chance to give their children new opportunities and good education.
When she arrived in Canada, Cpl. Fong spoke no English, just her native tongue of Cantonese. However, it was in her first Parent-Teacher Conference, her kindergarten teacher assured her mother that she would be fluent in English by Christmastime because she was a sponge. Since then, Cpl. Fong was taught to speak Mandarin by her best friend, in exchange for teaching her Cantonese.
It was at UBC where she was studying Political Science that she decided on policing as a career. Cpl. Fong had always had a keen interest in law and politics. In fact, she originally intended on going into law school.
Two members from the RCMP came to her Sociology class and spoke about how they became police officers. The class focussed on the relationship between crime and society, and the origins of a common public perception that police are out to get them. Cpl. Fong realized how vital it was that people understand that the police are not out to get them, and the importance of fostering trust with law enforcement. She decided the way for her to change that opinion was be a part of the police. She says that
people who become police officers need to be alive to that, that it is a challenging and thankless job. If you do your job right, no one is super eager to thank you because it is just part of your job as a police officer, if you do your job wrong you get discredited very quickly. But you need reliable people to join the force.
She realized she didn’t want to just read law, she wanted to practice it. She wanted to know what the implications and the struggles are.
In order to be a better lawyer, I wanted to be a cop first, said Cpl. Fong,
in theory I could be a better lawyer because I would know how the law is directly applied.
Cpl. Fong joined the RCMP in 2010 and was posted to the Burnaby RCMP. She worked in general duty frontline policing for three years before moving to plain clothes work in the Serious Crimes Unit and taking on more serious crimes such as aggravated assaults or stabbings. From there she transferred to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) for nearly two years, before returning to the Burnaby Plain Clothes unit as a corporal.
Working at IHIT enabled her to have some unique experiences, including the high-profile Marrisa Shen homicide, wherein she acted as a liaison to the victim’s family. Despite the nature of the investigations, it is rewarding to tell a family that you’ve laid charges for the murder of their loved one. She also traveled to Seoul, Korea and assisted in the extradition of a suspect wanted for murder. This was truly eye-opening, because it was an opportunity to work with another country’s police and learn how their laws work and are applied and how things differ from ours.
Returning to the Burnaby RCMP General Investigations Section, Cpl. Fong feels that her career at this point has come full circle. She now has the opportunity to be a mentor to new officers. She has taken what she learned in Major Crimes and imparts her valuable experiences on officers honing their investigative skills. One of the first things Cpl. Fong did upon returning to the Burnaby RCMP is ask the constables what they wanted from their career and what they want from the unit in order to help facilitate experiences that will benefit the officers.
Cpl. Fong is also a devout Buddhist. A career highlight, as a member of the Ceremonial Troop, she had the opportunity to meet the Dalai Lama in 2014. She recalls him as being truly warm and affectionate. She is often asked whether her values as a Buddhist conflict with her job as a police officer.
I work within my training, to maintain the reputation of the RCMP but I also uphold the values of my spirituality and I don’t believe they conflict.
What’s become important to Cpl. Fong is that she is a part of an organization that makes it a priority to serve all of its diverse communities. She appreciates that if people like her mother or her grandmother needed help that the person who answers the call would be someone they could relate to. That is what she believes makes the RCMP so unique and special.
The RCMP is looking for individuals with unique background that bring these experiences to their job. If you are interested in a career with the RCMP please visit our Recruiting page for more information and how to apply: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/police-officer-careers.
Cst. Erika Dirsus
Media Relations Officer
E Division Pro Active Recruiting
14200 Green Timbers Way , Mailstop 1109, Surrey, BC V3T 6P3
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