Pursuing Dreams: A mother’s journey to becoming a Mountie

Coquitlam

2024-05-09 13:16 PDT

In honour of Mother’s Day, Coquitlam RCMP is highlighting Constable Chantal Mitchell, who went through RCMP training at Depot with three young children at home. This year also marks 50 years of women in the RCMP and Coquitlam RCMP will be sharing stories from some of the women working within our local communities.

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On September 16, 1974, 32 women from across Canada took the oath to become police officers with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police beginning their training on September 18 and 19. Since then, thousands of women have followed, shaping the RCMP into what it is today.

A mother’s journey to becoming a Mountie

All RCMP officers begin their career with training at RCMP Depot Division in Regina, Saskatchewan. Depot Life is an unique RCMP experience where cadets spend 26 weeks, learning and living together as a troop. During this time, cadets gain the skills needed for frontline policing across Canada.

My Depot experience was different than most of my troopmates as I was 40 years old, with three young children at home, said Constable Chantal Mitchell. Most of my troop were younger than me and did not have the same family responsibilities. It added extra pressure to my training experience.

Cadet Mitchell smiles while saluting her drill instructor

View a larger image - Cadet Mitchell smiles while saluting her drill instructor

Constable Chantal Mitchell first applied to the RCMP in her early-20’s but was deferred.

I always had a drive to help people, said Cst. Mitchell. I thought I would have the most impact as a police officer.

After being deferred, she went on to become a fitness instructor, got married and had three children.

It was always in the back of my mind to re-apply for the RCMP, but life kept happening, added Cst. Mitchell. When I was 38 years old, I re-applied with the support of my family and graduated at the age of 40. While going through training, the ‘F’ word to me was ‘Family’. It was really hard – I’m not going to lie. Thinking about my time away from my kids, really affected me.

Cst. Mitchell standing in RCMP uniform with her three children

View a larger photo - Cst. Mitchell standing in RCMP uniform with her three children

Cst. Mitchell left her three children, aged 2, 4, and 6 at the time, at home with her husband and parents while she went to training. Although her family motivated her to succeed at Depot, it also made it difficult.

Depot training wasn’t all easy for me but I kept at it and kept practicing as much as I could. I was already sacrificing so much to be there, so I couldn’t afford to not succeed, said Cst. Mitchell. I would talk to my family on the phone and I did go back for a short visit over Christmas, but it made it hard to leave them. I missed them and they missed me, but I knew I could provide for them more as a police officer than a fitness instructor.

Constable Chantal Mitchell smiling in the Depot church for graduation

View a larger image – Constable Chantal Mitchell smiling in the Depot church for graduation

When graduation came, I was so proud at what I had accomplished. My whole family came and my kids were really excited to see me as a ‘Mountie’. It was a very special moment, added Cst. Mitchell.

After graduation, Cst. Mitchell was posted to Coquitlam RCMP where she began her career in frontline policing. In 2017 she transferred to the Youth Section, where she is currently posted.

Once I graduated, the real work began. I was used to working odd hours as a fitness instructor, but the shift work was difficult with young children. Sometimes I would come home from a night shift, just in time to get the kids ready to go to school. It was a whirlwind. said Cst. Mitchell.

When reflecting on her time at Depot, she says that her children do not remember much.

My two youngest don’t really remember it but my oldest remembers ‘the time mommy was gone for awhile’, said Cst. Mitchell. But my kids are really proud of their mama now. They often say to people – ‘You see this little thing? She’s a police officer.

Cst. Mitchell’s children are now aged 14, 18 and 19-years old. When asked if they are thinking of following in their mom’s footsteps, Cst. Mitchell said, I would fully support them. It’s a great career. My daughter is already thinking about becoming a police officer.

To find a recruiting event near you, visit: Recruiting Events

Released by

Cpl. Alexa Hodgins
Media Relations Officer
Coquitlam RCMP
2986 Guildford Way, Coquitlam, B.C V3B 7Y5
Office: 604-945-1580

Email: coquitlam_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Website: coquitlam.rcmp-grc.gc.ca (English only)

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