RCMP officer: ‘My image of police officer shaped by television shows and occasional, unpleasant interaction with traffic police.’

Karla Kincade

By Tori Vail

Nov. 14, 2016

Eight years ago, Kincade moved to Kelowna and was looking for work. Her neighbor was an RCMP officer and suggested she joined the force.

“I was very reluctant at first. I had never considered policing as a career. My image of a police officer was shaped by television shows and the occasional, unpleasant interaction with traffic police.”

It was not until she researched the organization that she learned career opportunities within the RCMP were widely varied, included extensive training, and domestic and international travel, she said.

“RCMP officers can be dog handlers, international peace keepers, and bomb squad technicians. They can investigate everything from drugs, to people smuggling, to war crimes.

“This piqued my interest and I applied. I graduated from Depot, the training facility in Regina, Saskatchewan, in 2008 and have immensely enjoyed my career since then.”

Training to be a RCMP officer is a competitive process. Kincade broke records for the fastest female three-miler.

Kincade is working in the sensitive and international investigation unit (SSI) in Ottawa.

“The SII introduced me to a whole new world of policing,” Kincade said.

In her previous capacity as a general duty officer in Kelowna, B.C., Kincade worked with local community partners to enforce municipal bylaws and provincial regulations as well as criminal code offences such as theft, impaired driving and assault.

“In SSI, I work with the police forces, regulatory bodies, and international organizations around the world, often communication through our liaison officers in those countries or through diplomatic channels.”

The most challenging part of Kincade’s job is remembering not everyone comes from a background like hers, or had the opportunities she has had, she said.

“There are a lot of people in our community in dire straits through no fault of their own. This often leads people to make bad decisions.

“I have to uphold the law, which is my job as a police officer, but we are also given the power to exercise discretion and find alternative means to solving problems in the community.

“Balancing the rule of law with what is in the public interest is sometimes common sense, but more commonly it’s complicated and challenging.”

The highlight of Kincade’s career was carrying the Canadian flag during the opening ceremonies of the winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.

“ I have never been so proud to be Canadian.”

Another high point of Kincade’s career was being in the Musical Ride.

“I first had to pass the basic equestrian course at the Musical Ride Stables in Ottawa, Ontario. During the five-week course I was evaluated on my ability to learn to ride and handle a horse, how well I listened to and followed instructions, and how well I worked in a team.

“At the end of the basic equitation course I was selected to return for the six-month intermediate course. After successfully completing the Intermediate Course I was a full-time member of the Musical Ride.”

Being an RCMP officer has taken Kincade to places, and into situations, she never dreamed existed before she was a police officer, she said.

“Or if I knew they existed, I certainly didn’t fully understand the impact that things like crime, poverty, mental health, accidents, and disasters have on people’s lives.”

Kincade just spent a month in an isolated Inuit community of 300 people in Nunavut.

“This, and many other experiences, really opened my eyes to the difficult struggles many people face every day right here in our community and in our country.

“I feel privileged to have had these experiences, for I now have an understanding that I would never have been able to achieve had I not experienced these things first hand. I have the RCMP to thank for that.”

Joy Coulson works in student service and support admin for the policing program at Holland College. There are three times more male than female students, she said.


“At the beginning of the program, there were 20 females and 60 males.”


The success rate for women is around 50 per cent, she said.


“There were 20 women at the start of the year and there is now 11.”