BY RATTAN MALL
WHEN Jason Kingra was sworn in as a constable with the Abbotsford Police Department last month, the Kingra family earned the unique honour of being the first ever family to have three members serve on the force at the same time.
Jason’s dad, Staff-Sergeant Amar Kingra, on the other hand, is the most senior serving police officer with the APD.
At the annual Regimental Dinner, where the Police Chief traditionally serves dinner to the most senior serving officer and the most junior serving officer, it was a father and son that received that honour as they sat across from each other.
For Amar, it was all the more special because he will be retiring next year after 33 years of wearing the uniform with pride.
He told The VOICE: “I’ve really enjoyed my entire policing career. It’s a very rewarding career and I am looking forward to my retirement next year. Nothing can be more rewarding than serving the community that you live in and trying to make a difference.”
He added: “This job is not for everyone; that’s why only less than one per cent of the people who apply are hired as police officers. It’s a very strict screening process for recruits. If you do your job with respect, fairness and objectivity, then this is the right job for you. You have to maintain a positive attitude.”
Very aptly, Amar received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Interestingly, Amar’s nephew, Charn Kingra, who joined the APD as a Constable in 1996, teaches criminology at UFV and is known as, “Dr. Constable Charn Kingra,” having earned a Ph.D.
His dad, Lahora Singh Kingra, and his dad’s brother, Bachan Singh Kingra, served in the Royal Hong Kong Police under the British rule in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Both of them retired after the Second World War.
Amar’s parents immigrated to Canada in 1972 when he was in his early teens. He went to school in Mission. His family moved to Abbotsford in 1977 and he attended the Fraser Valley College. He was hired by the Correctional Service of Canada in 1981 and worked at the Matsqui Institution while studying criminology.
At the end of 1981, he became the first Indo-Canadian to be hired by Matsqui Police, which became Abbotsford Police when Matsqui and Abbotsford amalgamated in 1995 to become the City of Abbotsford.
Amar was pleasantly surprised when his son Jason, who was studying business at UFV, told him that he wanted to become a police officer as well.
Amar recalled his son telling him: “Dad, it’s in our blood. I remember when I was four years old, grandpa used to teach me how to march and salute.”
Amar added: “So he has those fond memories of his grandfather. And I said, ‘You know it’s up to you, Jason, whatever you want to do. At the end of the day, you’ve got to enjoy the job if you are going to do it for 30 some years.’”
Amar noted with pride that the majority of the members of the Kingra family are into law enforcement.
He pointed out: “Both of my daughters work for the government; one is working with the Parole Board of Canada and the other one is working as a Manager with the Correctional Service of Canada. Many of our relatives are also working in the law enforcement field and are carrying on the family tradition.”
Amar’s family originally came from the village of Chakar, district of Ludhiana in Punjab. He and his wife have been visiting Chakar every couple of years and they hope to go there every year after he retires.
IN view of last week’s murder of 18-year-old Harwindip Singh Baringh in West Abbotsford, and reports of tension between two South Asian groups that has been going on since May, I asked Amar what message he had for the South Asian youth in this city.
He replied: “My message has always been, ‘stay away from anyone who is into any type of criminal activity. Listen to your elders, get an education, and get a decent job.’”
He added: “Too many of our youth are dying, and this is all avoidable. It’s due to the poor lifestyle choices that they are making at such a young age.”
“The unfortunate thing is that it negatively reflects on all of the South Asian youth. There are so many good stories… good wrestlers, hockey players, lawyers, doctors, police officers, and other professionals who this community should be very proud of.”