As a young child, Const. Monique Prefontaine always knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.
“As far as I can remember I have always wanted to be a police officer. I would say it was around the age of five when I started having visions of being a police officer,” she said. “I suppose I looked to a police officer as being someone to look up to in the community, and that was a role I wanted to fill in my life.”
As she grew older, Prefontaine worked diligently to make her goal a reality.
“I followed the steps through education to improve my chances for being a police officer,” she said.
After attending the University of Alberta and graduating with a degree in criminology, she was well prepared to start working with the Edmonton Police Service.
Prefontaine worked with the Edmonton Police Service for 11 years before moving into another career choice.
“I opened a yoga clinic and studio for a while and was involved with it for many years. It was about that calm and balancing the mind and maintaining that in challenging situations.”
However, as time passed she realized something was missing in her life.
“I missed policing very much and made the decision to return to it.”
After going through a six-month process, she graduated from the cadet training for the RCMP and made a request to be posted in a mountain area.She was posted to Golden and moved here in July of 2012.
“I was blessed with the posting here.”
Prefontaine explained that she sees policing as having faith in a community, and wanting to be the best person she could be, while giving back and trying to make a difference.
As for the challenges facing women who work as police officers, she said there are always challenges in work dynamics, whether it is the public or private service sector, but she has had only positive things to say about her experiences.
“There is a lot of controversy and media attention drawn to that particular subject. I personally can say I have been nothing but welcomed by both genders into the policing community,” she said. “As for challenges as a woman within policing, I do not think it is any different than for the men. I think it is that you develop skills to be comparable in your abilities. Each person can improve on skills in some area. For myself I have become quite involved with athletics, martial arts and have taken training outside the police service. I grew in abilities where perhaps I would have wanted more skill in.”
This, she believes, has helped her grow as a person both physically and mentally, along with helping her gain the confidence to perform her duties.
“I see this role as being a balance between the mind, the body and the sense of spirit. Physically you have to be balanced and stay fit…but equally, as far as the balance of the mind with the role of policing, you have to stay focused and clear minded.”
As for the difference between policing in a large city versus Golden, Prefontaine said there are more similarities than people might think.
“The content of the policing mirrors between the two places. You may have more critical incidents in Edmonton on a more routine basis. However, the basis of policing is community service. In a smaller community such as Golden, you are very much woven into the community,” she said. “You are more knitted into the goings on. The side of policing with road safety and vehicles is a big part of policing wherever you are, but we are on the Trans Canada Highway and it is very much involved in the calls for service with things on the highway.”
She said finding a balance in the area has been a wonderful experience for her.
“Having time to enjoy the community on our days off is important. It is such a beautiful place and there is so much to be gained in this type of environment.”