By Guest Blogger On April 29, 2015 Community Spotlight
Bryce Clarke has been a police officer with the Edmonton Police Service since 1998. On August 26, 2001 he sustained a spinal cord Injury when he dove into a swimming pool. After lengthy rehab, he began trying to return to work in 2004 and eventually returned to work full-time in 2009.
Bryce is currently an Acting Detective in the Historical Homicide Section and one of only two quadriplegic police officers working in Canada. He is also a Council member on Alberta’s Premiers’ Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. This council provides advice and information to the Alberta government on all issues that affect and relate to persons with disabilities. They are in constant contact with both the Alberta government and the Disability community throughout the entire province. He has spoken about issues facing people with disabilities at many different conferences and events all throughout Alberta. Bryce has been a Rick Hansen Foundation Ambassador since 2007.
1. Describe yourself in 5 words.
Conscientious, persistent, meticulous, inquisitive and compassionate
2. What are you passionate about?
I have two main passions that get me up every day, and although they may seem rudimentary to most, they are: work and life in general.
The first, work, is being a police officer. I love almost every aspect of this job, and consider it a “calling” more than a job. I began my career with the Edmonton Police Service in February 1998 as a Patrol Constable. After a devastating accident in August 2001 that rendered me a C5/6 quadriplegic, I was able to return to work as one of only two sworn quadriplegic police officers in Canada. It gives me great pride to say that I am currently an acting Detective in the Homicide Section and I love every day knowing I’m still serving the citizens of Edmonton and helping people along the way.
The second, life in general, is that despite my disability posing many challenges daily, I still love experiencing life as it happens. Whether it is catching a morning sunrise, evening sunset or watching the deer, moose and other wildlife run around my acreage, there always seems to be something great that shows me how wonderful it is to be alive!
3. If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
I would change the way humans constantly abuse one another. Whether it’s strangers that don’t know each other or cases of domestic violence, terrorism, and more, it needs to stop! To bring peace to all and ensure we treat others the way we want to be treated would truly fix so many wrongs!
4. What is your favourite quote?
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’” – Audrey Hepburn
5. Describe a challenge you have overcome and how you dealt with it.
Going back to work has been the single biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome. It took officially 7.5 years to actually get back full time, but once I got back many other doors opened for me and now nothing can stop me. The Edmonton Police Service has supported me throughout, and together we were able to come up with a plan, schedule and positions to make it work. The most important thing I had to do was keep a positive attitude and not accept "no" as an answer. Although I had great support, not everyone could see the benefits of having me around or believing I could still do the job. However, after great persistence, many people can now see that I can do the job, and also do it at a high level.
6. If you could remove one barrier what would it be?
It is hard to choose only one barrier for sure, but I guess it would be to have the use of my hands back. It would open the doors to a whole new world of freedoms for me such as to be able to drive, transfer myself, do menial tasks on my own, work in the garage, and the list goes on.
7. What are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful to be alive! I’ve had a couple of near misses and I must say this is definitely the right side of the dirt to be on! Aside from that, I am most grateful for my family and friends. Without their love and support, I wouldn't be where I am today! I love you all!