After three years working multiple jobs that left him unfulfilled — building machine parts for the military and medical industry, making diamond cutting blades, and designing and installing countertops — Constable Matt Hope embarked on a career with the RCMP. In the last 11 years, he's worked on a containment team and a plainclothes unit investigating prolific offenders in British Columbia, engaged in local Indigenous culture in Haida Gwaii, and bonded with youth in Nunavut. Gazette writer Patricia Vasylchuk sat down with Hope to hear about his many adventures and what he loves about being a Mountie.
- Why did you join the RCMP?
Working construction and other jobs, it was the same thing every day. I thought, "I need something that's different; I need a challenge." The RCMP checked all the boxes in adventure and challenge, and I knew that being a police officer would give me the opportunity to work with youth and people in general.
I was so excited that I hand delivered my application on my 30th birthday. I didn't trust the mail – I just wanted to make sure it got there.
- Where were you posted first?
I finished training in July 2012 and was sent to Trail and Greater District Detachment, in southeast British Columbia. I was there for six and a half years working general duty but I also did a few other things.
I made it on the containment team – they have them in some rural communities where there isn't a full-time emergency response team (ERT). We'd do specialized training with emergency response team, firearms training, rural bush-movement training, camouflage – all so that if there was ever a critical incident, we'd be called to create a containment zone to keep everyone safe until it was cleared or emergency response team arrived.
For two of those years I was also on a plain-clothes unit targeting prolific offenders. Trail was a great learning ground!
- Your next posting, in 2018, was in Haida Gwaii. What was that like?
Being up there was just spectacular. It's just a phenomenally rich place to go if you're into the outdoors, the culture, and art. There's a real bond between the people there when you go fishing, or help them move wood, or steam a canoe. I actually got a tattoo on my arm that's a merging of the Daajing Giids Haida and police shields, and represents the police looking over and protecting the people.
- And your current posting is in the Arctic, right?
Yeah. I've been in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, since spring 2022. It's a remote fly-in community and it was totally an adventure move for me.
- What's it like working and living in the community?
It's pretty good most of the time. You can imagine, we sometimes get into some heated and stressful situations with people but I haven't had an issue outside of work. Sometimes, I arrest someone the night before and the next day I see them in the grocery store, on the street, or in the post office and they're saying "Hi. How are you? Is this your family?" I still treat them respectfully. You can't bear a grudge in this job; it would make it too hard.
- In what area of your work have you seen the most impact?
Working with young people is an area where we can make the most long-term changes for good. In Haida Gwaii, I worked in a middle school for at-risk youth. A lot of kids there came from really tough backgrounds – everything from learning difficulties and addiction issues, to abuse at home. We'd go in a few times a week to have lunch and play ball hockey with the kids. Soon, that progressed to week-long canoe trips in the Rockies. We'd talk about healthy pursuits and how that can lead you to a good job and healthy relationships. It's on those canoe trips that I really started to see the benefits of having a good rapport with the youth. When they're able to see you as a human being and not just a uniform, it changes the relationship quite a bit and garners respect from both sides.
- How do you de-stress?
On really tough days, being able to go into the school where you've formed a bond with the kids, and have lunch with them and sit and chat about the things they're dealing with and going through, it helps push my own stuff to the side and to process it better later. It definitely became a bit of an outlet for me.
- What's your favourite part of the job?
There are really so many different aspects to this job. Working with youth is definitely one of most rewarding parts for me. But also, the investigative aspect of working general duty. Building links between files and building profiles is really fascinating.
- Any advice for someone who's on the fence about joining the RCMP?
The benefits really outweigh the stresses of the job. It's so rewarding! Be prepared to throw your plans out the window. It's going to be an adventure.
With over 150 specializations, a career with the RCMP gives the opportunity for continued learning and growth. Explore our careers and see what the RCMP has to offer.