What’s the big idea? With Andrew Firby

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Love what you do

Work hard at something you love, and work for the team’s success not just your own.

What is this idea all about?

My parents instilled in me the value of hard work. I grew up on a cattle farm in Manitoba, and I think the backbone for me going through college and getting this job was just hard work. I don’t consider myself to be the smartest guy out there, but I will try to be the hardest-working guy that I can be, and I think that’s what’s gotten me to where I am today. As far as working at something you love – I truly love policing and the work I do in the K9 unit. I think you can’t do something for the rest of your life unless you genuinely enjoy it. You want to go home at the end of the day feeling a sense of accomplishment. And I love working as part of a bigger team. Each patrol team is made up of a certain number of members, and everyone has their role. I’m the dog handler for one team, but we also have different roles on that team. Everyone has a place in an investigation. When we go out on a call, there’s a lot of decisions that have to be made very, very quickly.One of the things I like about policing is that you can break it down and know what you are prioritizing, and what you can get done now and what can wait. It takes the entire team to accomplish the investigation. You learn so much from different people. Everyone brings a specific skill and everyone is good at something, whether it’s the person who knows every law inside and out, or another person with a silver tongue who can talk to anyone. It takes all types of people and personalities to come together, to bounce ideas off each other and just to be successful. There’s no way I can be successful with the dog unless my team is helping me out. I can only accomplish so much on my own. But it’s a team effort – not just to make me successful but to make everyone successful.

How have you seen this idea in action during your time as a student at the college?

When I was a student, I worked at least two jobs while attending classes. I did security for two companies, and I also did suicide interventions for Canadian Mental Health for the last two years of my degree. I lived in residence for three years, which was a great part of going to college. It let me build my community and friendships and network and helped me to meet people and have new experiences. And it was convenient – my family lives 10 hours away, so it wasn’t easy to come out to look for an apartment for the weekend. I found the college program was very interactive, which I loved. There was the original crisis intervention class, with a lot of interactive stuff that brought me out of my shell and helped me learn to speak to people and interact with them. I really liked learning things practically rather than learning from a book. I usually learn stuff best by doing it – which is another reason I like being on the street as a police officer, so I can do as much as I can.

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