Serving as an officer in the RCMP is a dream come true for Cst. Warren Kongus, whose first posting is to Lillooet.
Kongus, his wife and two children moved here this summer when he was “straight out of depot” – the RCMP training centre in Regina.
Born in Alberta and raised in the Cowichan Valley, Kongus worked as a paramedic for 15 years before deciding to pursue his dream of becoming a Mountie.
“It’s something I always, always wanted to do; it just took me a little longer to reach the goal,” he told the News.
He said he wasn’t the only “second-career person” in training at the Mounties’ Saskatchewan headquarters.
“We had a couple of second-career people in our troupe, the oldest guy being 47,” he explained. “Lots of guys with military careers go in at 18, put in their time and they’re out when they’re less than 40 and so they decide to go into policing or any kind of emergency service.”
The 24 weeks of training at depot were demanding, with no down time.
“You usually start out at 5 o’clock in the morning. By the time you get up, make your bed, shower and then after the whole nine yards, if you’re good at time management, you can tuck in around 10:30 or 11 at night. You get your meal breaks in between but it’s go-go even on weekends,” said Kongus. “Generally, your weekends are your catch-up for the week. You’ve been handed a whole bunch of work or homework assignments, you do as much as you can at night during the week and then on the weekend you polish it all off, get it in for the Monday and then start all over again.”
He said his family loves Lillooet. “We came into Lillooet late at night and didn’t see the mountains until the next day. I’m an outdoor, sport-type person and this is going to be fantastic. I like hiking, I’m a hunter and it’s endless when you talk about outdoor recreation here.”
Kongus says he is looking forward to his experiences here as a general duty constable, but hopes to return to depot one day as a facilitator or instructor.
He says the RCMP offers a variety of careers and options within the force.
“There is so much opportunity – there are 160 different jobs that you can specialize into. If I’m tired of general duty policing in four years, I can branch into something else – recruiting, forensics, teaching and facilitating, undercover, major crime. There are lots of options.”