MEDICINE HAT, AB — The men and women of the police service took an oath, to serve and protect the people who call Medicine Hat home.
“When we pull out our firearm, we're praying to God that we don't ever have to use it,” said Constable Bev Kennedy. “But we're prepared.”
Kennedy knows her life and the ones around her could be on the line every time a call comes in.
“I know for myself, I'm thinking the worst,” she said. “Doesn't mean I'm acting on the worst but in the back of my head I am thinking this can go sideways very quick.”
Kennedy knows something as routine as a traffic stop could end with more than a ticket and it could all happen within seconds.
She said there are a few weapons she can use to help protect herself, including her baton, pepper spray, Taser and her gun. But she said her most powerful weapon is her 'verbal judo'.
“I think the biggest weapon on our belt is our mouth and that can solve a lot of situations,” she said.
But the weapons officers carry wouldn't have the same impact without the muscle and strength behind them.
“You want to know, everyday, when you get ready, put your uniform on that 'I'm ready for whatever is coming my way today',” said Constable Tamara Anderson, the newest female officer to join the ranks.
She said the expectations are high for new recruits and their physical strength.
“You need to, in a moment, be ready to chase after someone, protect someone who's maybe being attacked or someone who's coming to attack me,” she said.
Anderson said it may be even more important that women on the force keep up with the fitness regime.
“Half the population is going to be bigger and stronger than you, that's just the reality of it,” she said. “You need to know you can hold your own and the people you're working with need to know that you can hold your own as well.”
The service also works with its officers for when the worst case scenarios do come to light.
Resources are set up for anyone who needs to talk.
But according to Kennedy, it's not easy for some officers to admit when something is wrong.
“A lot of police officers, men and women, don't want to step up, don't want to step up and say they're not okay or they're having thoughts ... or they're being brought back to those situations and they think it's weak to stand up,” she said.
It's a stigma the service is working on breaking, to make sure everyone is okay when they're faced with the unknown.
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