Sergeant Chantal Larocque of the Anishinabek Police Service (APS) was recently recognized for her tireless commitment to the communities she serves. The West Nipissing resident was presented the Community Service Award during the 2022 Ontario Women in Law Enforcement (OWLE) Gala on June 9th.
As a new member of the OWLE executive board, Larocque is their first Indigenous Representative. The position was recently created to serve as liaison with First Nations Police services and organizations, and the women serving within them. Attending the gala as a member, she did not expect to also be winning an award at the event.
Larocque has been a strong driving force behind community policing for a long time. On behalf of APS, she has been a part of activities such as summer camps, school visits, ride-along videos with kids from the community, and more. Even during COVID, she continued to connect with people.
We’ve seen her delivering popsicles to kids in Dokis on a hot summer day. We’ve seen her announce to young recruits that they “got the job” with APS. We’ve seen her ride with kids and do ‘good deeds’ or ‘pay it forward’. She often films these activities to share with the public, in order to help change perceptions about police and the First Nations communities she serves.
Lois Lambert, Principal at the Dokis school where Larocque does a lot of volunteer work, can’t say enough about the officer’s dedication to local youth. “She’s always great to just stop in and bring donuts for the kids, and get them riled up, and then leave,” Lambert says with a laugh. She explains that the Sergeant is always welcome at the school, the staff and students welcome her with open arms, and she needs no invitation. Her presence serves to show the kids that they don’t need to be afraid of police officers.
In addition to impromptu drop-in visits to the school, Lambert mentions that Larocque will sometimes even take requests from teachers for presentations. Recently, she did a presentation on cyberbullying at the school’s request. She also shows up to school events to participate. Lambert remembers the school Christmas concert where Larocque would bring the community and teachers on stage to embarrass them. “Chantal and her colleagues would always have some kind of skit, where they would go on stage and get the community laughing,” she describes.