Five members of the Camrose Police Service (CPS) have one thing in common: they are all former student athletes who have roots in Augustana’s physical education department, and they credit their coaches and professors with preparing them for a demanding career in law enforcement.
Detective Craig Ferguson (BA ’91), for example, was a member and then a coach of the Augustana biathlon team. He remembers his coaches working hard to teach student athletes that the skills learned on the court or on the ice could be transferred to real life.
Another former member of the biathlon team, Constable Adam Belanger (BA ’03 History/Phys Ed), is on CPS’s general patrol team. Adam thrives on the unpredictable nature of police work. “When the radio goes off, I never know if I’ll be taking a dog to the pound or going lights-and-sirens to a weapons assault,” he explains, adding, “I like the physical demands of police work, too.” Adam has been volunteering with the Camrose Trojans football team since his university days and has now assumed the role of head coach.
Constable Russell These (BA ’05) played volleyball while completing a double major in physical education and history. After graduation, he coached junior high sports teams and volunteered in a school program encouraging physical fitness. “If Augustana taught me one thing,” he says, “it was to not always accept the truth that we are given, but to question why things are the way they are and to learn to understand them better.”
Another former phys. ed. major, Constable Trevor Cleveland, played basketball with the Vikings. He chose law enforcement because he wanted to help his community. “I love this city,” he says, “and I want to help make Camrose safe for everyone who lives here.” The skills Trevor learned on the court prepared him for his career. “I’m a team player,” he says. “I’m also calm, focused, and adaptable—all good traits for an officer to have. You must be willing to learn, able to make quick, good decisions, and be willing to play a variety of roles.”
Constable Tyler Bellamy (BA Phys Ed ‘09) played for the Vikings hockey team for four years, serving as assistant captain and later co-captain. He likes the team atmosphere and the unpredictable nature of police work. “An officer has to react minute by minute, never knowing what will be next,” Tyler says. He is now an assistant coach with the Vikings, and last year helped bring the hockey team to its first league championship since 1975.
When asked about the rewards of this career, the officers agree they want to help people. “We see people on the best and worst days of their lives,” Trevor explains. “We make a difference by being there when they need us most.”
It was not only the skills they learned as athletes that prepared them for this challenging job, but also the values they developed as part of the Augustana community. As Russell puts it, “Leadership and service are what policing is all about.”