To some, the RCMP's lateral entry program is an opportunity to try something new. For Cst. Martin Pattinson, it was a ticket to a new life in Canada.
The former Metropolitan Police Service sergeant from London, England, was inspired by Canada's size and beauty after a few visits and yearned to relocate himself and his wife to British Columbia (B.C.).
In 2008, he was recruited by the Calgary Police Service. And after working there for three years, he was eligible for Canadian citizenship and his dream job – becoming an RCMP member.
"It was always in the back of my mind that, if I was going to move 4,600 miles across the pond, I couldn't just work in one part of Canada," Pattinson says.
He joined the RCMP through the lateral entry program – a five-week training program that provides police officers from other agencies with the knowledge and skills, such as use of force and different provincial legislation, to work for Canada's national police force.
It was there that he met Cst. Jesse Wilkins, a former member of Newfoundland's provincial police force, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary. The two worked their way through the five-week training at the RCMP's training academy and both ended up in B.C. – Wilkins in Barriere and Pattinson in Golden.
Although there are many differences between policing in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and in Canada – one being that police officers don't often carry firearms in the U.K. – Pattinson found his work in Golden to be the most familiar.
"If I was going to take the oddball out of the equation, I'd say it was Calgary," Pattinson says. "It's very comfortable here in Golden because you're known by your face and your name. There are a lot more bodies in a municipality like Calgary."
Wilkins says it was tough learning new provincial acts and legislations at first. But in the end, he believes he made the right choice.
"This is a good move," Wilkins says. "I'm really pleased and it has opened up a lot of doors for me."