Caitlin MacKenzie is living her dream – walking the beat as a full-time police officer.
The native Springhiller’s dream came true when she joined the Amherst Police Department as a full-time constable on Nov. 24, 2019.
“We welcome Caitlin to the department,” Police Chief Dwayne Pike said. “She gained a lot of experience working part time with the University of Prince Edward Island’s police force and the Charlottetown police department that is proving beneficial here.
“She has demonstrated the determination, skills and knowledge that are needed to be a good police officer. She’s also shown a desire to continue learning, which is another trait of a good officer. We look forward to working with her well into the future.”
MacKenzie said she’s always had the desire to help people, but it wasn’t until she was in about Grade 10 that she began thinking that she’d could do it by being a police officer.
“I’ve always been around first responders,” she said. “My dad is a firefighter and my mother worked dispatch for the Springhill Police Department. I just began thinking being a police officer might be something I might be into.”
When she graduated high school, she immediately applied to the Atlantic Police Academy, but was rejected.
“They told me I was too young,” MacKenzie recalled.
She spent the next year working three jobs, a clerk at a Springhill gas station, the local Tim Hortons and as a dispatcher and jail guard with the Springhill Police Department.
She also reapplied to the police academy. This time she was accepted.
MacKenzie began the nine-month-long course in 2014, but her classes were disrupted when she was involved in an accident that saw another vehicle cross a double line and crash head-on into the car she was in.
After recovering from her injuries, she resumed classes and did her on the job training at the Amherst Police Department. She graduated in August 2015.
A few months later, in 2016, she started working with the University of Prince Edward Island’s small police department. She also spent four summers working with the Charlottetown Police Department. There she gained valuable experience with that department’s street crime unit.
MacKenzie joined the Amherst Police Department as a part-time officer in June of this year and was a successful candidate for a full-time position, which became open due to retirements and promotions within the department. She did her first patrol as a full-time officer on Nov. 24, 2019.
“It’s good to be home, that’s for sure” she said. “It’s great being a police officer in Amherst. The civilian staff and the other officers are awesome to work with. There is always something to do here.
“I also find the amount of interaction the department has with the citizens of the town is great, things like Kops for Kids, Cram a Cruiser.”
Looking to the future, MacKenzie said she wants to be the type of officer that people can approach.
“My main goal is to make sure people are comfortable around me, to let them know that if they need to talk to someone, they can approach me and hopefully I can help them feel better.”