Carla Baker

Sergeant
• Vancouver, Canada
Carla and dogs - Behind the Uniform

“There are huge line ups for food, people are hoarding toilet paper yet there are still bidding wars for $2m dollar houses”

At the start of the pandemic, our city was hit hard.  We saw a rise in unemployment, shops close and businesses boarded up.  Homelessness is a huge issue here anyway, with housing costs being high, and the pandemic means people have less ability to dig themselves out of a hole.

In my district, on the West Side, we have all levels of society and a big disparity in incomes.  There were huge line ups for food, people are hoarding toilet paper yet there are still bidding wars for $2m dollar houses. 

You want fresh air, you want to go out, but no one is taking care of the parks.   All the staff have been laid off, no one has mowed the grass for months – it’s like the Serengeti out there!

I got sick with the virus and was in isolation.  I felt supported.  My Chief called and asked if he could do anything for me or my family.  Colleagues offered to drop off groceries or walk my dog, so I was well taken care of.

I’ve been a Police Officer for nearly 15 years.  There’s no history of policing in my family, although my dad wanted to join in the 80s, but he wore glasses and, back then, you needed perfect vision and were basically hired on your height.  Dad always talked about his policing ambitions and inspired me from an early age.  I’ve actually got a careers book from 4th grade in which I nominated Police Officer as my future role.  In fact, I actually had to cross out ‘Policeman’ and write Police Woman as it wasn’t even presented as an option.

“Never let go of personal relationships
outside of policing, as one day you’ll need all
of those people”

So, in 2006, Dad was both proud and terrified when, at all of 5 foot 6 inches, I left my job as an account manager in private security and signed up.

I’m now a Senior Constable in Patrol but for 6 years I was in the domestic violence unit, my most stressful and rewarding role so far.  I was helping women in incredibly difficult situations and, if the phone rang at night, I’d worry they’d come to harm.  One woman had her ex regularly climb up the fire escape to threaten or assault her, thankfully we managed to get her into new accommodation.  On Christmas Eve I received a text saying, ‘thank you for saving my life.’  Moments like that made it easy to get up every day and do the best that I could.

I was partnered up with a victim support worker with a counselling and social work Masters’ degree and we’d have a debrief after every single meeting.  She was fantastic and taught me to never let go of personal relationships outside of policing, as one day you’ll need all of those people.

I don’t usually hang out with police in my time off and I don’t tend to tell anyone what I do. Sometimes a friend will blurt it out and I get uncomfortable and redirect the conversation. I don’t like crowds, nightclubs or going out to party.  I prefer to stay home, go for runs and try not to talk about work too much. 

Having a life outside the service keeps you balanced when you’re dealing with people in the street, when you’re still in touch with what is going on around you and not just behind the blue line.  It’s not Us v Them; we’re part of them, we can’t forget that. 

Hear Carla's views on

Domestic violence cases and the weight of responsibility
Carla - Behind the Uniform
Carla sitting outside - Behind the Uniform
Carla in Uniform - Behind the Uniform

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