Kamloops RCMP Const. Crystal Evelyn sees police work akin to viewing images through different lenses during an eye exam — it brings the whole story into focus.
This week, Evelyn, 39, started a new job at the Kamloops detachment as its interim media relations officer — a position reminiscent of her former career in newspapers.
“When I was a journalist, I knew that nothing is ever a straight line, it’s always a circle, but being a police officer has allowed me to see it’s still a circle, but there’s many shades inside that circle,” she said.
That depth is something she will now help convey to the public as she fills in as media relations officer for Cpl. Jodi Shelkie, who is on leave
In taking the job, Evelyn said it’s important for people to understand what police officers do.
“A lot of the times, the interaction or what you observe is just so flat and surface-oriented, when policing is very in depth,” she said.
Evelyn has worked at the Kamloops detachment since last August, having transferred from Terrace, where she began her policing career six years ago.
She said her background in journalism will help create an understanding of the information local news outlets are seeking and the job the media has, as well as the difference between what information is in the public interest and what information is simply interesting to the public.
The Ontario native was raised in Scarborough and the Durham region and has always enjoyed writing and following the news — recalling she would always see her father reading the local newspaper with a cup of coffee in hand.
“Even now if he comes to visit me, he’s always reading the newspaper,” Evelyn said.
In high school, she had a co-op placement with her hometown paper, the Orno Weekly Times, and went on to Durham College, where she studied journalism.
In 2001, Evelyn was hired out of college, writing for various Metroland newspapers in places such as Port Perry and Oshawa, encompassing a 13-year career, the last three as a managing editor.
But in 2014, Evelyn decided it was time for a change.
“The industry was just changing a lot and the positions I was working towards, I was watching them be eliminated,” she said.
At the age of 32, Evelyn decided if she was going to make a career change, it would be then.
That brought her to the RCMP.
Policing had always interested her and becoming an officer was something she had considered for a few years.
Journalism was her first love, but it also checked a lot of the same boxes as did police work — investigating, getting to know people and realizing there is generally more than two sides to a story.
In feeling out the profession, Evelyn even wrote a series of articles in which she attempted the police physical fitness test in Ontario — which she passed. She also did a feature on women in the Ontario Provincial Police.
Evelyn chose the RCMP for its various job opportunities and her first posting out of Depot Academy was to Terrace in November 2014.
There, she met Syd Lecky, who was her staff sergeant before he moved on to become the superintendent of the Kamloops detachment a few years ago.
With Terrace being a limited posting detachment, she said Lecky encouraged her to consider Kamloops when she was ready to move on.
In the Tournament Capital, Evelyn works alongside her husband, who is also an RCMP officer. The couple has two kids and a dog.
During her spare time, Evelyn loves to cook, being connected to the community and checking out new restaurants and local shops.