Royal Canadian Mounted Police

RCMP telecoms operator guides kids to safety

By Paul Northcott

Operations

When two boys got lost in the woods last summer, an RCMP telecommunications operator helped them find their way home.
Image by RCMP

June 3, 2024

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Last summer in New Brunswick, when two boys got lost playing in the woods, an RCMP telecommunications operator used her problem-solving skills and knowledge of the local area to help guide them to safety.

On July 14, 2022, two boys aged 12 and 13 called 911 after becoming disoriented in a densely wooded area near Sainte-Marie-de-Kent.

"Obviously they had their phones, which was a good thing," says Angelia Hermenier, the operator who answered the call and alerted officers in the field. She says police in the area were already handling multiple calls for service. "By the early afternoon, I knew officers on the ground were busy," says Hermenier.

Unsure how long it would take officers to arrive, Hermenier stayed on the line and asked the boys for any details that might help reveal their location. She also used technology available to the RCMP to start guiding the boys out of the woods.

"I could figure out where they were every couple of minutes, and was able to tell them which direction to go," says Hermenier. "They were very calm and didn't sound very worked up."

On another line, Hermenier also called the mother of one of the boys and directed her to drive to the outskirts of the woods where the operator suspected the boys would emerge. "The mother honked her vehicle horn consistently to help lead them out with sound," says Hermenier. After a little over an hour of being on the phone with Herminer, the boys emerged unscathed.

A satisfying outcome

RCMP Constable Ginette Trottier was on her way to the scene when she was notified that the boys were OK and were being verbally guided out of the forest. She says the demanding work of Operational Command Centre operators is critical for the success of the officers. "This was amazing work by our dispatchers," says Trottier. "I always try to remind them how important they are. They are our lifeline really."

Hermenier says it was very gratifying to know she helped the boys out of a predicament that could have had a worse outcome if they had taken a wrong turn. "These are the calls that really make you feel good when you're done," she says.

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