Constable Sarah Bass, pictured here with her four-year-old son, was recently named 2020 Officer of the Year by Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement.
Constable Sarah Bass didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a police officer, but many people are glad life led her in that direction.
In recognition of her leadership, community service, mentoring and performance, she was recently named 2020 Officer of the Year by Atlantic Women in Law Enforcement.
“I’ve been with the RCMP for six years and I’m 100 percent happy I made this choice,” says Bass, who is a general duty officer with the Whitbourne detachment. “It comes with stress and negative things and not everybody likes you all the time. You’re not always dealing with people at their best, but it’s kind of what you make it.”
For the first part of her life, Bass, who is originally from Deer Lake, was unsure about what career would suit her best. She attended Dalhousie University and Mount Saint Vincent University in Nova Scotia, completing a science degree with a major in psychology and a minor in biology.
“Joining the RCMP wasn’t something I thought about until I met (Cst.) Heidi Stevenson,” she says. Stevenson tragically died in the line of duty during the mass shooting in Nova Scotia last April.
“When I was at Mount Saint Vincent and moved to Dartmouth, she was my landlord. When I went to sign the agreement for the lease, she showed up in uniform. She was so happy, it was almost contagious. She disclosed she had a degree in science and when I asked questions about the RCMP, her responses were all positive about how diverse the job was and how much she enjoyed it. She told me every day is different and I knew I needed something that would keep me on my toes. I can get bored very easily,” says Bass.
Bass was inspired and, after passing the RCMP entrance exam, she took part in ride-alongs with Stevenson and other officers.
“I had the best time,” she says. “It was very motivating and I couldn’t wait to go out.”
After graduating from university, she went to the RCMP depot for training, graduating in July 2014. Her first posting was in Clarenville. Three years ago, she moved to the Whitbourne detachment, where she has trained to be a breath technician and enjoys conducting investigations into impaired driving.
Bass is very involved in community service. She did her own research and created a presentation for students regarding bullying and cyberbullying. The presentation went so well, she was invited to conduct it for more classrooms and schools. It’s now being used by officers in several areas of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Recently, she trained to be a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) instructor. Once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in schools, Bass is very much looking forward to meeting with local youth.
When Bass felt members lacked proper knowledge surrounding the Mental Health Act and various mental health conditions, she sought information from doctors, nurses and psychologists at the Waterford Hospital and is working on ways to improve the response and outcome of mental health-related calls.
“It’s important to educate ourselves,” she says. “If we have information on behaviours, it helps with risk assessment for all.”
Because of her passion for mental health, Bass was invited to join the mental wellness team for the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador — encouraging officers to check in on each other and support each other.
Bass also decided to help out families in need at Christmas. She got the local mayor and firefighters to work with her in an effort to raise money. They were able to bring in enough to buy food and gifts for 10 families, as well as make a donation to a school breakfast program.
Bass has participated in a telethon to raise funds for the local hospital, visits schools to provide safety talks to children just before Halloween and volunteers every year to represent law enforcement at Remembrance Day events.
“I took things I’m passionate about and looked at how I can incorporate them into my career,” she says. “If I feel there’s something else that can be done, I want to do it. When things get bad, I try to take steps to make it more positive.”
When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially outdoors.
She feels she’s learning a lot at a small detachment because she’s able to carry a file through from start to finish. She hopes to take what she’s learned and eventually work with the RCMP General Investigative Section or Major Crimes Unit.
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Copyright © 2021 D.A.R.E. America.
All Rights Reserved.