Also graduating are five canine teams that recently completed their dog master training class

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The Edmonton Police Service held its first public celebration of a graduating constable recruit class after a two-year hiatus Friday afternoon.

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, public gatherings like graduations were put on hold. But the police service continued to train recruits under strict safety protocols and risk mitigation.

With the lifting of restrictions, 30 constables — 27 men and three women — that make up RTC 153, as well as one Lakeshore Regional Police Service constable who trained with EPS, celebrated their graduation at city hall.

Const. Tiffany Papirny, one of the graduates, said making it to the public celebration is very rewarding.

“Given that we started class during the pandemic, we weren’t sure if we were going to have a grad. So being able to have a grad and being the first class after the pandemic is pretty special for us,” she said.

“I love these people, the connections that I’ve built in class has been unreal, and I don’t think I can honestly say I’ve ever worked in a job where I’ve created such close friendships so quickly.”

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Formerly a speech and language assistant with Edmonton Catholic Schools, Papirny said she’s very happy with her decision to make a career change and can’t wait for the rest of her career.

“I wanted a career that offered a little bit of diversity in the sense of I could grow my career, and EPS just offers so many different opportunities, so that really drew me into EPS,” she said.

Also graduating are five canine teams that recently completed their dog master training class, with four EPS police service dogs: PSD Bagheera, PSD Duco, PSD Fesi, and PSD Lex, as well as one from the Camrose Police Service.

Graduates of RTC 153 come from a number of countries including Canada, Tunisia, the Philippines, China, India, Belgium, Mexico, Romania, Zimbabwe, and the Netherlands, and are fluent in 16 languages other than English.

They also have a range of experiences and skills, with backgrounds in law enforcement, corrections, the military, emergency response, the trades, business, engineering, and various sciences.

— With files from Ian Kucerak

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