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Four cadets working with Truro Police this summer

Truro Police cadets, clockwise from upper left: Destiny Merriam, Olivia MacPhee, Gabriel Vandergrift and Brady Meech.
Truro Police cadets, clockwise from upper left: Destiny Merriam, Olivia MacPhee, Gabriel Vandergrift and Brady Meech. - Lynn Curwin

You may have seen some new faces in uniform around Truro recently.

Four cadets from the Atlantic Police Academy are doing on the job training with the Truro Police Service this summer. Here's a little introduction to each of them.

Destiny Merriam

Becoming a police officer is something Destiny Merriam has thought about for a few years, so she’s excited to be doing her on-the-job training with Truro Police Service.

“I thought about what I wanted to do, and researched women in law enforcement,” she said. “I put things off for a while, but I decided there would be no more waiting. I guess I found my destiny.”

Merriam, who grew up in Truro, is the mother of three boys, aged 9, 10 and 11, so she’s comfortable interacting with children at community events.

“I feel this allows me to be a good role model for them, and other children,” she said. “I love helping people, and if I make a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s just one person, I’ve achieved something.”

She took the policing and corrections course at Oulton College, in Moncton, N.B., then spent seven months working with the Commissionaires before going on to the police academy in P.E.I.  While working with the Commissionaires she helped with security at Truro Library and the Nova Institution for Women.

“Truro is busier than I thought, but I’m loving it,” she said.

“We’re doing a lot of things to build on the relationship with the community, and I believe that’s important.”

She hopes she can also encourage others to go after what they want.

“Don’t give up on your dreams,” she said. “If you’re determined, you can achieve them.”

Olivia MacPhee

Helping out in the community has always been important to Olivia MacPhee, and she sees becoming a police officer as another way to give back.

She’s learning a lot about what the job entails this summer, as she does her on-the-job training with the Truro Police Service.

“I knew in the tenth grade that I wanted to do this,” said the 21-year-old, who grew up in North River. “I want to help people. I’ve had good experiences in Truro so far. It’s definitely interesting.”

She enjoys the outdoors, and has worked on park patrol in past summers. She has also volunteered, working with children who have disabilities and as a soccer coach.

She feels training at the Atlantic Police Academy was excellent, with a lot of information around mental health issues included.

After graduation, she’d like to find a position that’s as close to home as possible.

“I’ll go wherever the job takes me, but if it takes me home, that’s the best,” she said.

She’s also drawn to working with young people.

“I would like to be able to work in schools, and make a bigger positive impact on kids when they’re young,” she said. “Right now, it’s great to be able to interact with people and get experience. I think this career is the right choice for me.”

Gabriel Vandergrift

Gabriel Vandergrift has been a little surprised – in a good way – by what he’s seen since starting his on-the-job training with the Truro Police Service.

The 27-year-old cadet, who grew up in Toronto, began a 10-week term in Truro in June.

“There’s a lot of focus on community policing here, which is really nice,” he said. “I’ve always considered policing to be an excellent profession, and when we’re out there and able to make a difference in a positive way, that’s what I was hoping for.”

Vandergrift was studying history at Mount Allison when he met the woman who would become his wife. She found work in Truro and they moved to town in October 2017.

He has aunts and a cousin involved in law enforcement, so he wasn’t unprepared for what was involved.

“Being able to make an impact in the community is what I want to do,” he said. “When people call us, they’re happy to see us.

“I do see a difference between Truro and Toronto. Truro is definitely community-oriented. The police service is one part of the quilt that makes up this town.”

He would love to work in Truro full time, but says he will go wherever he’s needed. He hopes, in the future, to be involved in solving complex crimes.

“I love puzzles so I’m drawn to the investigation side of things, finding pieces and making it all make sense,” he added.

“This career is absolutely the right choice for me.”

Brady Meech

For Brady Meech, there was never any question of where he was headed, career-wise.

He’s currently a cadet doing on-the-job training with Truro Police Service, and he feels that’s where he should be.

“Policing has always been a passion of mine, ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “Being out here and able to help out is really inspiring.”

Although he didn’t have any close family members who were police officers, a grandfather who was a conservation officer inspired by him.

Meech, 20, grew up in Truro and studied criminology at St. Mary’s University for two years before heading to the Atlantic Police Academy.

“Policing was the plan from the start,” he said. “Training at the academy was what I expected. I knew there would be a lot of hard physical training, but it’s worth it.

“My 10 weeks here started June 18. I’ve been out on quite a few calls, and I’m definitely learning a lot. I’m learning about the challenges officers go through every day.”

Once he graduates, on Aug. 31, Meech will check to see what forces are hiring.

“I would love to be able to work in Nova Scotia, but I know that might not be possible,” he added.

“I’m enjoying being in Truro now, and I’m very happy with my decision to go into policing.”

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