Blue Line

Dedication beyond duty: Cst. Chris Nguyen named 2024 Lifetime in Law Enforcement Achievement Award winner

Blue Line is proud to present the 2024 Lifetime in Law Enforcement Achievement Award to Cst. Chris Nguyen of the Taber Police Service. The award is presented to an individual who has shown exceptional leadership, dedication and passion towards their work in law enforcement for more than 15 years.

April 1, 2024  By Brittani Schroeder

Photo: Taber Police Service

From a young age, Chris Nguyen became aware of the hardships that marked his family’s history in Vietnam, spanning both the wartime period and the challenging aftermath under oppressive communist governance. Bearing witness to the sacrifices made by his father and grandfather, who served in the South Vietnamese Army, he learned of their struggles—his grandfather losing his life on the battlefield and his father enduring the harsh realities of a “Re-Education Camp” for resisting the northern forces. Faced with the difficulties of their circumstances, Nguyen’s father committed to securing a better future for his family, recognizing the need to escape the conditions they found themselves in.

Shortly before Nguyen was born, his father, mother and sister hired smugglers to get them out of Vietnam. After a challenging journey, they were brought to Kowloon (Hong Kong), China, where he was born. Canada was the first country to respond to the family’s application for permanent residency, and on Nov. 14, 1978, the Nguyen family became the first Vietnamese people to move to Lethbridge, Alta.

“My family has a long history of military service, and it was these factors that first influenced me towards a life of serving others. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement,” he says.

Understanding that it could be difficult to become a police officer, Nguyen completed a post-secondary education that qualified him as an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-A). Shortly after graduating, in May 2000, he was accepted by the Blood Tribe Police Service (BTPS) and was sworn in. Formal training came from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – Deport Training Academy in Saskatchewan in 2001 before he returned to serve the people of Kainai.


“My time serving the communities of Canada’s largest First Nation Reservation was an incredible experience,” he shares. “The kind-hearted people, the complexities of rural landscapes, the richness of the Blackfoot traditions and culture; it a great opportunity for me to learn how important it is to make every effort to connect with all people in a sincere, heartfelt and respectful way. It made me become a strong communicator and reminded me to remain empathetic and humble.”

“Chris has continued a lifelong journey to be one of the most compassionate and dedicated police officers I have known.” – Dr. Graham Abela, Chief of Police

Eventually, Nguyen sought out new career opportunities elsewhere for the sake of his growing family. In August 2010, Nguyen was successful in his application with the Taber Police Service (TPS) and was sworn in as an experienced member. He has loved every moment since.

The good and the bad

To this day, Nguyen’s favourite thing about being a police officer is the diversity of experiences he’s had. For him, there has never been any other job that has been “as challenging, mundane, heartbreaking, rewarding and so vastly different from one moment to the next.” He wakes up every day with enthusiasm for whatever adventures lay ahead, and the desire to somehow find a way to make a positive impact or a difference in someone’s life that day.

With the joys also come the challenges. For Nguyen, the most difficult aspect of his career has been finding a healthy work-life balance between his duties and responsibilities to his community and his responsibilities as a husband and father. “No one can achieve any level of success on their own, and were it not for the love and support of my family, I wouldn’t have been able to contribute to my community in the ways that I have.”

A mentor to all

The Taber Police Service promotes a sense of community and encourages the participation of its members. Nguyen and all other members of TPS reside within the Town of Taber, which ensures a strong connection to the local community and its collaborative partners. Nguyen recognizes that the service’s administration and senior leadership encouragement and support have played a pivotal role in the officers’ active involvement in contributing to the well-being of the Taber community.

As a School Resource Officer (SRO), Nguyen looks after 11 schools within the community of Taber. He’s described by his peers as having a special ability to connect to children and role model values of compassion and empathy while excelling at providing policing guidance and leadership to school administrators and students alike.

“The trust and relationships that Chris has built with our youth have contributed positively to his professional requirements. He continually uplifts the students with his positive approach to life,” says Dr. Graham Abela, Chief of Police.

Nguyen has been an SRO for nearly two terms, and he “adores” the work. He regularly attends most after-school events, whether they are sporting events or school dances. He also hosts his own SRO webpage to keep the community updated at all times. Nguyen attends every violent school threat assessment (VITRA) meeting and ensures school safety daily.

“To be able to encourage, mentor and develop in youth positive attributes that will help them to become future leaders in our town and beyond is my absolute passion,” he says. “Interacting with youth, and sharing and encouraging their successes with their peers in person and through social media shows them that we are fully invested in their well-being, their mental health and their lives.”

Nguyen doesn’t just serve as a source of inspiration for the local youth; he is also a mentor for individuals within the Taber Police Service.

“I am truly flattered to be described as an example to others in the policing profession,” he says.

Nguyen sees policing as an incredibly great responsibility that must come with a significant level of compassion, patience, commitment and servitude. He has always tried to impart to junior members the importance of living these qualities every day.

“There is no doubt in my mind that Cst. Nguyen is deserving of this honour. He is compassionate and has made a real difference in the lives of many Taber youth. I am unable to quantify the result, but I can tell you there is no doubt that the work Cst. Nguyen has done in our community has resulted in almost no youth criminal charges being laid by the Taber Police Service in recent history. His leadership has set an example for others to follow.” – Dr. Graham Abela, Chief of Police

“I have always been committed to maintaining a positive and optimistic attitude because I am fearful of becoming the stereotypically tired, jaded and crusty old member.”

When asked if he saw himself as a mentor to junior members, Nguyen shares that he never wants to assume anything; he just hopes that his actions, conduct and attitude are worthy of his teammates’ respect.

A dedication to volunteering

In addition to his full-time role as a police officer, Nguyen devotes countless hours of his personal time to several volunteer positions.

In his younger years, Nguyen served as a cadet. Now, as an adult, he recognizes the significance of community programs like this one, which provide young individuals with essential elements such as structure, discipline, physical fitness and peer-led learning.

Nguyen first became a civilian volunteer with the 2384 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps while in Stand Off, Alta., with the BTPS, so that he could help mentor and support the youth in the community. He remained with the unit until he moved to Taber in 2010, where he immediately requested a transfer to the 225 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron to continue his involvement with the cadet movement.

In 2010, Nguyen was attested into the Canadian Armed Forces and later received his Commission as an Officer of the Canadian Armed Forces after completing the Basic Officer Training course in 2011.

Since then, Nguyen worked his way from his initial position as the squadron’s training officer to second lieutenant and the squadron’s Commanding Officer. In 2016, he transitioned into the administrative officer’s role and remained actively involved until 2022 when he was placed on a reduced capacity list due to his numerous work and community commitments.

“I credit Chris for building a program that almost folded into one in which there are over 20 youth in our community actively engaged in their Air Cadet program,” says Abela.

Nguyen is now going through the process of release from the Canadian Armed Forces as he draws closer to retirement from policing.

Another title he holds is the TPS Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM). In this role, Nguyen is responsible for maintaining and educating members on the importance of drill, dress, decorum and the Service’s 120-year history. The RSM looks after all protocols and arrangements involving the police service, including the planning and attendance at police funerals and regimental dinners. He also advises the office of the chief regarding medals and nominations for awards.

Having come from a background of significant family military service, as well as being a member of the Canadian Armed Forces himself, Nguyen remains dedicated to the preservation, promotion and support of the Service’s and the profession’s traditions.

Fond memories

There isn’t one single memory that stands out for Chris Nguyen—it’s all the little things that are his favourite.

“The smiles and faces of the children that light up when you enter the room. The familiar wave as you drive past each other. The willingness of everyone around you being willing to stop what they are doing to help a neighbour in need.” These are the moments that last for Nguyen; these are the memories that he will hold onto because he hopes he contributed to that way of life in the community.

An honoured officer

Chris Nguyen is not the person to seek out adulation, gratitude or rewards for the work he has done for his service or his community.

“I am sincerely grateful to the people whom I wholeheartedly respect to have nominated me for such an honour, and to Blue Line Magazine for considering me as a candidate worthy of this wonderful recognition. I dedicate this award to my wife, Doreen, and my children, Caitlyn and Caleb.”

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