ESTEVAN - The Estevan Police Service lost several constables due to various reasons and was recently able to land three new hires.
Const. Cole Hoover has already graduated from the Saskatchewan Police Academy and is currently working the streets in Estevan. Const. Jordan Ross is getting ready to graduate from the academy. And Const. Vaughn Golden will be going to the academy in August. The three new officers are joining the community and want to be a part of it.
Police Chief Richard Lowen said the three new members are replacing officers that have left the service earlier and moved onto other areas.
"These are all part of our regular complement," Lowen said.
The EPS is currently short on members as the new hires haven't completed all the required training yet.
"We have one officer [Hoover] in field training, he'll be taking a complement position. And we have an officer [Ross] in the academy who will be taking a complement position, he'll be coming out at the end of May. And then Vaughn Golden will be going in [to the academy] in August to fill out our last open position [after five months of training]," Lowen explained.
As a part of our Salute to Policing special ahead of the national Police Week, the EPS is introducing their new members to the community they will live and work in.
The first one to join the EPS was Hoover, who's been working in Estevan since December.
Hoover was born in Calgary and raised in the little village of Delia, Alta. He said an image of a police officer was always in his head, so once the time came he chose to go for a two-year diploma in criminal justice studies at Lethbridge College.
"Ever since I can remember I've wanted to be a police officer. I like being able to problem solve and be a positive influence on people. I like the idea of mentorship and policing puts me in a good position to do that. I think having that kind of a unique ability to interact with folks on some of the worst days gives you a chance to really make a difference in people's day to day lives," Hoover said, adding with a laugh that as a kid, he dressed up as a police officer almost every Halloween and on regular days as well.
While in school, he was the president of the Leo Club, the volunteer organization that was part of the policing studies. He also volunteered with the youth-mentoring charity Big Brothers Big Sisters in Lethbridge for two years and was a ski patroller at Castle Mountain.
"All my college experience with Lethbridge was really positive. And I heard really good things about the Estevan Police Service. There were some folks in Lethbridge that spoke highly of it. So, I was interested in coming here to look for employment. I was certainly attracted to the idea of small-town policing still.
“Estevan is a nice size, in terms of a small city. And I liked the fact that I could go somewhere and get to know my community and become as involved as I can," Hoover shared.
"It's an amazing career and I knew it was really challenging to get into and you had to take all the right steps to do it. So, I set my goals high from a young age, I wanted to get hired young, and I wanted to make those dreams come true. Estevan gave me the opportunity to make that happen."
He moved to Estevan in mid-December 2021 after attending the police college in Regina and started working right away.
"It's been really welcoming. Everybody's been really kind to me. Both people within the service and outside of the service have really rocked me with open arms and made me feel like I'm at home," Hoover shared.
"I have family from Saskatchewan and the idea of nice Saskatchewan folks who treat you like friends and family really rang true when I got here just because that's what I found so far."
Hoover said that in the future he probably would want to become a canine operator. And if one day a school resource officer position would ever come up, he'd be interested in getting involved with students.
"I like working with kids and I think being able to be a positive influence on the young generation is really effective. I think it's a good use of the position of being a police officer," Hoover said.
Hoover is also a hockey referee and is looking forward to getting back on the ice next season. He noted that Estevan's location at the U.S. border was another attraction for him as he enjoys travelling.
Another hire, Const. Golden, will take his course at Regina's academy in August, but he is already in Estevan and is using this time to get to know the community and the service.
Golden hails from Alberta. He also graduated from the criminal justice program at Lethbridge College in 2019. He then got hired by the Alberta Sheriff's department and worked as a court sheriff for 2 1/2 years in Lethbridge. Then, following in the steps of his good friend Hoover, he applied and got hired with the EPS.
Golden moved to Estevan in March and started working with EPS in an administrative capacity, helping out with dispatching and learning the office side of things. He is waiting for his term at the Saskatchewan Police Academy, which is set to begin in August. Then Golden will come back to Estevan in uniform and will be out on the streets.
He said he had always been interested in policing, and just decided to follow his dreams.
"When I heard the lights and siren of police cars going places, I was always interested in what was going on. That's what piqued my interest. And then when I was in high school, I became close with a few police officers back in my hometown, and really got a liking for the job and that type of work, wanting to do something a little bit different every day," Golden shared.
"When I was in high school, that's when I decided that I was going to pursue policing as a career … And then once I was in that program at the Lethbridge College, that solidified, and it made me decide that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life."
He added that the sheriff's job became his stepping stone between college and policing, which allowed him to get a little bit of field experience.
In the future, he hopes to become a canine handler. And being at the very beginning of his career, he said that so far, he just wants to do well.
"I'm just excited to start the job, do my training, do well there in training and then come back and just learn as much as I can. That's my main goal right now," Golden said.
He hasn't been in Estevan for too long, but the first experience was positive. He said he enjoys the "small-city feel", which Lethbridge, a community of over 90,000, didn't have. Besides, the Estevan Bruins and the city's deep engagement with hockey made the community even more attractive for Golden.
"You get a little more sense of community here. And I am big into hockey. Lots of hockey in Estevan, which is nice, a nice hockey city," said Golden, who is also a hockey referee and hopes to do some work on the ice next season.
He added that running was another hobby of his.
Chief Lowen said that it's always challenging to fill any police vacancies these days because they are competing with all the other police agencies in Canada. However, this time it wasn't too difficult, as they had good candidates that came forward.
Const. Ross is currently in training in Regina. The Mercury will have more about him in the upcoming weeks.