“I like the freedom; every day is different,” said the 32-year-old officer with the Chatham-Kent Police Service.
Cornish, who graduated from the Police Foundations program at Lambton College in 2001, knew at the time that it was a tough field to break into.
“I didn’t think I’d get anything for at least five years,” said Cornish, who, at 22, was hired almost immediately by his hometown police department.
“I was willing to go pretty much anywhere, but closest to home was the obvious choice.
“It was a pleasant surprise.”
He went on to the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, a post-hire institution that prepares police officers to safely and effectively perform their duties, while meeting the needs of Ontario's diverse communities.
“Lambton prepares you really well for police college,” said Cornish. “A lot of it is based on what you learned as far as the Criminal Code, Highway Traffic Act, etc. And the fitness level is great. That’s probably when I was at my prime.”
The two-year Police Foundations diploma program is designed to prepare students for policing or another related law enforcement agency.
A broad theoretical foundation is provided on human relations and the criminal justice system, as well as preparation for the Constable Selection Process.
Students also participate in first-response situations at Lambton’s Fire and Public Safety Centre of Excellence, shared by police, fire, paramedic and criminal justice students.
Upon hire with the CKPS, Cornish quickly worked his way up from 4th Class to 1st Class Constable, also spending three years as an investigator with the Traffic Unit.
He has received top honours at the Great Lakes Police Motorcycle Training Seminar and Competition, in both the intermediate and expert divisions. Cornish is also a member of the CKPS Honour Guard, formed in 2004, which attends police memorials, both federal and provincial, as well as funerals, swearing-in ceremonies, conferences, graduations, civic parades and special events.
“That’s something I really enjoy,” he said of the 12-member honour guard. “I started right from police college and followed through when they formed one here. It’s something I really wanted to be a part of.”
Now that he’s established himself as an accomplished and successful police officer, Cornish says he has Lambton to thank.
“Police Foundations definitely prepared me for what I was going to face, for police college, and the interview process,” he said. “That’s the most important thing — above all, getting the job.”
“It’s a well-paying job, and it’s good for time off,” added the married father of two. “Once you have a family, those things are really important.”