Divjit Malhotra has wanted to be a police officer since he was five years old.
He wants to “serve and protect” the community, he says.
Graduating from the Oak Bay Reserve Constable training program brings Malhotra, 19, one step closer to his goal.
Malhotra and fellow Oak Bay reserve constable graduate, Aubrey Blackhall, completed the six-month training program, along with 24 others from Saanich, on March 31.
All 26 graduates were sworn in as special municipal constables and given the status of a peace officer in B.C.
As a second-year criminal justice student at Camosun College, Malhotra said policing has always been a path he wanted to take.
The reserve program taught him about the importance of professionalism, accountability and credibility in the policing field. He also learned the do’s and don’ts of policing.
“They really emphasize on building people with the highest level of professionalism,” he says.
Malhotra said he is looking forward to helping people in the community of Oak Bay, and most of all, talking to and getting to know them.
“Being a visible minority in Oak Bay, I hope to bridge any gaps between people that have a difficult time dealing with the police,” he says.
The Oak Bay department’s focus on community policing is what attracted Malhotra, a Langford resident, to the program.
“It is a small department, so it gives you a chance to do all the work that community policing has,” he says.
Reserve constables work on a volunteer basis and focus on crime prevention and community policing efforts. This includes tasks such as supporting patrol and traffic officers on ride-alongs and assisting with public events.
The reserve constable program consists of more than 200 training hours in subjects such as legal training, arrest and control tactics and patrol tactics, among others.
“(The) training has given me all the confidence that I need to be out there and perform my duties,” Malhotra says.
Intake for the program depends on the need for reserve constables and the amount of interest shown by applicants, according to Oak Bay Chief Constable, Mark Fisher.
Interested applicants can apply in person or over the phone at any time, Fisher says. Files are kept on hand and applicants are contacted when a program commences.
Programs generally start in the fall but may not run every year.
For more information about the program, visit oakbaypolice.org/reserves.html.