It’s never too late
Coquitlam, This Is Who We Are
2019-08-20 13:16 PDT
It was a lot of work. I don’t learn the same way those young guys do, says Constable Glenn Tjernagel in a soft voice that is unexpected when he approaches, standing tall in his uniform. At 47-years-old and 6’2 he was years and heads over his RCMP Depot classmates when they graduated in 2016 out of Regina, SK.
A father of two and an electrician by trade, Cst. Tjernagel always had the Mounties in mind as a career; but when he first applied in 2000 his electrical business was taking off and he decided to stick with the trade route while it was booming. Fast forward to 15 years later and a need for something with a bit more consistency, his desire to don the badge came bubbling back up.
I knew a few active members and they were very encouraging. And my family was very supportive of the change. The inconsistency of paycheques, holidays and chasing work in running your own business was really getting to me and my family, he explains.
In comparison to his first application, this second process was quicker than he anticipated and within less than a year he got the call that he would be off to depot. However, life at home had changed for his family as his younger son was now facing mental health issues and Cst. Tjernagel had a decision to make. Did he head off to depot knowing that he would be away from his family for a minimum of six months? Or would he defer and hope to make it into the next cycle? He chose to go, buoyed by the support he was offered from friends, family and his local church and knowing that when he came back, the family’s life would be more stable because of his role with the RCMP.
It was challenging, he says of the Depot experience. Calls home were not easy as the family was dealing with having a child with mental health needs. He credits his physical fitness and the ongoing validation from home as the reason he made it through depot. His oldest son was 14-years-old and was a strong support around the house while Cst. Tjernagel was away.
People need to prepare for a lot of information coming at them. But taking it a day at a time is how I made it, he recalls. When he came home and got on with Coquitlam,
it was like a tidal wave, of information and skills needs to do the job. He gained confidence the longer he was on the Watch and, perhaps unlike some of his colleagues, he now also has another way to relate to clients.
I can give parents wise counsel as a fellow parent who is dealing with mental health in a child at home, says Cst. Tjernagel. It helps to be familiar with the different processes and agencies and he is also familiar with the area, having grown up in Coquitlam. He also finds that his age brings a certain patience from years of dealing with customers in his electrical business.
I see things differently and there is still a customer service aspect to policing, he explains.
You need to be respectful of the client.
One thing that is not the same as the trades? The respect for the badge he finds in his day-to-day work. His sons think it’s cool.
Older people call you ‘sir’ and I’m not used to that, he says laughing.
The RCMP is looking for individuals with unique background that bring these experiences to their job. If you are interested in a career with the RCMP please visit our Recruiting page for more information and how to apply: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/police-officer-careers
For more information:
Cpl. Michael McLaughlin
Media Relations Officer
2986 Guildford Way, Coquitlam, BC V3B 7Y5
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