RCMP Qalipu summer student an ambassador for police and First Nations in Gander

After serving in position for two years, Rachel McLean hopes to join RCMP following graduation    

Published on July 12, 2017

This is Rachel McLean’s second year as the RCMP’s Qalipu summer student. In her role, McLean gives presentations about safety within the community and serves as an ambassador for the police and First Nations.

©Josh Healey/The Beacon

GANDER, NL – For a second year in a row, Rachel McLean is the RCMP’s Qalipu summer student.

It’s a role that the third-year Memorial University student cherishes, specifically given the position’s positive message about both the police force and First Nations.

“We’re trying to promote that if anything bad happens in the community, everybody will know that this is a safe place to give information,” said McLean, a member of the Qalipu First Nation.

“Most people don’t know anything about (the position). They just think negative things about First Nations people.”

Working with Gander’s RCMP detachment is one way that McLean hopes to combat stereotypes, especially given her role as a mentor.

To apply for the position, applicants must be First Nations.

Her tasks include giving presentations about youth and seniors’ issues. She’s already helped raise awareness about water and bike safety in the community and has also spoken on elder abuse and fraud.

“I try to be positive. I want to make sure that when I’m in the public eye, I’m wearing my helmet on the bike and my lifejacket when I’m in the water,” she said.

As the summer student, McLean is responsible for building a positive relationship between the RCMP and the people of Gander. She said that her job helps fulfill a role that police officers often wish they could do but lack the time.

“With the RCMP, they’re so busy with cases. It’s easy for students to get out and promote community engagement.”

McLean said she hopes to join the RCMP once she completes her degree and believes that her role as an ambassador for her First Nation and the police has given her an idea about the benefits of the job.

“Everyday is something new, and you’re helping people. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s very different,” she said. “It’s about what you get back from it.”

Twitter: @joshrjhealey