Learning, Leadership and Law Enforcement: Constable Gebresellasie’s journey to the RCMP

Ridge Meadows

2024-02-23 09:05 PST

Constable Sirak Gebresellasie’s remarkable journey to becoming a Black Mountie rewrites the narrative around policing. As we celebrate Black History Month, read the inspiring story of how a transformative friendship paved the way for an unexpected career in law enforcement.

My name is Constable Sirak Gebresellasie and I am originally from Eritrea (a small country beside Ethiopia, in Africa) but I have spent most my life in Canada. I moved to Port Coquitlam in 2000, and growing up I quickly realized that there were not a lot of kids of colour in my neighbourhood. I don’t think that I ever saw a police officer that wasn’t white! Back then, policing was not even a thought for me; I could never see myself doing a job that I never saw a black person doing. All that changed in Grade 7, when I met the RCMP School Liaison Officer at my middle school. Little did I know that this friendship would send me down a path towards my future career.

L to R: Cst. A’Bear, Cst. Sanders and Constable Sirak Gebresellasie at a pedestrian safety event

Throughout Grade 7 all the way up until graduating high school, the RCMP Liaison Officer and I developed a close friendship. Even though, I would find myself getting into trouble occasionally in high school, he never judged me or my mistakes. Instead, he treated me like a friend and always told me to take those mistakes and transform them into learning experiences.

As our friendship strengthened, despite never imagining it was possible, I began to think about how cool it might be to become a Mountie. I wanted to give back to the youth and change the narrative surrounding police just as this officer was doing for me. Nearing graduation, we had many conversations of me possibly becoming a police officer but I was always scared that it couldn’t be possible because of the trouble I had gotten into as a typical high school kid.

The officer made it clear to me that all that had happened until this point would be looked as a learning experience. He told me that it’s those exact experiences that would eventually make me a great police officer. In that moment, I knew that I was meant to be a Mountie.

Medium shot of Constable Sirak Gebresellasie in front of a police truck, quote "I knew I was meant to be a Mountie"

I’ve been a Mountie with the Ridge Meadows RCMP for just shy of two years now. I have already faced a lot of challenging situations and the way I navigated though them was exactly the way I was told all those years ago. I reflected and relied on my own previous experiences, sympathized with the people I was dealing with and treated them with respect and dignity. I share with them the mistakes I had made in the past and always advised that it is never too late to learn from them and continue to move forward and do better for yourself.

As a black police officer, I can’t say that I have run into many challenges aside from people calling me names trying to get under my skin. In those situations, I rely on what my parents always taught me: ignore the comments and win people over with my kindness. If anything, being a black police officer has helped me in day to day files as I found that when dealing with people with diverse backgrounds, they felt most comfortable speaking to me.

Constable Sirak Gebresellasie in front of the Pitt Meadows Community Policing Office

This year, I am celebrating Black History Month by attending an Eritrean Family Day event in my uniform to hang out with members of my community. I will be talking about the life of a Mountie and show that it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you look like to be able to be a part of the RCMP family. Who knows, maybe someone will listen to what I have to say and feel inspired to become a Mountie, just like my RCMP School Liaison Officer inspired me.

Released by

Inspector Adam Gander
Ridge Meadows RCMP
11990 Haney Place Maple Ridge, BC V2X 9B8

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