Akhil Mooken

Public & Media Relations Officer
• Peel, Canada
Akhil Mooken in Uniform - Behind the Uniform

“I’ve always wanted to help people”

For policing to evolve in the way we want and need it to, young people have to be at the heart of it, helping us change from the inside.

My job as a Public & Media Relations Officer includes, as you’d expect, sharing amazing instances, heroic acts and the positive side of policing. It’s also about us taking ownership of mistakes, showing what we did wrong and how we will improve.  After all, we’ve sworn an oath to protect our communities.

I’ve always known I wanted to help people. I just wasn’t sure how. Arriving in Canada from India at the age of 7, I noticed public service looked a little different here. The police cars, fire engines and ambulances seemed a lot faster – and the sirens louder. Driving those vehicles was undoubtedly the coolest job in the world, and I was the local fan club. In the neighbourhood, I’d ask my parents to take pictures of me with officers we saw on patrol. I’m pretty sure they still have the album!

“Change won’t happen overnight”

When it became time to make a career choice, I had a decision to make – Police Officer, Paramedic or Firefighter?  In the end, it was easy. To be a firefighter you needed to pass a swimming test – not my strong point – and to be a medical professional required exams. A lot of exams. I wasn’t always the most committed student, so I chose policing and at 21 years of age, I set out on my first patrol.

In spite of my aversion to extra studying, my career-defining assignment took me back to the classroom as a School Resource Officer, part of the Neighbourhood Policing Unit. I’d heard that SRO’s were often only seen in school when something bad happened and I committed to get a lot more involved.

I participated in gym class, had lunch with the students, accompanied them on community events and even joined them, on my own time, on field trips.  The students would get to see me out of uniform, as a person, and helped me understand the real power of engaging with people on their own terms. Now over 10 years on, I’m still in contact with many of the students and I take pride that none have had negative interactions with the Police, some are even considering a career in the service. Change won’t happen overnight, but I hope they can be part of it.

My plan is to stay in service until my retirement, but I don’t think I would do this specific role for all of those 16 years. This is a very high-paced, high stress role and it can take it’s toll on you. At home, I don’t watch the news because, frankly, I experience it every day and unfortunately it’s mostly negative. Having constant negatives can take a toll on you as a human, but fortunately we have an amazing Employee Assistance Program here at Peel Regional Police, and they are always striving to make sure our mental health is their number one priority.

 

 

 

Two Akhil's - Behind the Uniform
Akhil with dog - Behind the Uniform
Akhil Mooken on phone - Behind the Uniform

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