There is a new police officer patrolling the streets of Amherst.
Destiny Merriam joined the Amherst Police Department on Monday, July 13, 2020, as a part-time constable.
“Destiny has impressed us with her passion for policing,” Police Chief Dwayne Pike said, as he welcomed Merriam to the police department.
“She has the desire, the skills and compassion that make a good officer. We look forward to watching her grow as an officer and to working with her as we all strive to ensure Amherst is a great place to live, work and play.”
A native of Truro, Merriam admits she’s always “had a passion for policing.”
“When I was younger, I watched all the police shows, like America’s Most Wanted, COPS and Unsolved Mysteries,” she said. “It just perked my interest. I always saw myself as being a detective someday.”
While the interest was there from a young age, the route to becoming a police officer wasn’t a direct one. After completing Grade 10, Merriam decided she was finished with schooling.
“At the age of 18, I decided I wanted to open my own business,” she recalled. “So, I opened the Fair Trade Café, which was in downtown Truro. I did that for about six years.”
During that time, she and her partner began having a family. Today, they have three children, ages almost 11, 12 and 13.
It was during this time that Merriam also decided to go back to school.
“I felt it was important to me that I show my children the importance of an education,” she said.
Merriam enrolled in the Nova Scotia Community College adult learning program, graduating with her Grade 12 diploma in 2012.
She also decided to make a career change.
“After six years running the café, I came to the conclusion it wasn’t something that I wanted to do,” Merriam said, adding she began researching policing because “I am a person who genuinely wants to help people.”
She applied and was accepted to the Atlantic Police Academy in Summerside, P.E.I., where she graduated from the year-long program in 2018. As part of the course, she spent 12 weeks with the Truro Police Department receiving on-the-job training.
Upon graduation, she accepted a term position as a constable with the Stellarton Police Department in 2019.
“My duties included a lot of community policing, which I really enjoyed,” Merriam said. “I enjoyed interacting with members of the community, getting to know people, hearing their stories and building the relationships that are important to a police officer.”
When her term with the Stellarton force ended, she applied to departments throughout the province just as the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. One of the applications was for the part-time position with the Amherst department.
“I’m thankful that I got hired,” Merriam said. “I’m very eager to get back into the swing of things as a police officer. This will help me keep my skills and training up to date.
“I also look forward to getting to know the members of the community and working with my fellow officers.”