June 01, 2013 - 12:00 AM
It's a trip no cop enjoys making.
But next of kin notifications were part of regular duties for Kim Watt-Senner in her 19 years in uniform policing with the RCMP. That's what police call it when they have to inform family members that someone has died.
Giving the bad news always weighed heavy on her. She would offer an ear and — sometimes, a hug. She heard stories from families about dealing with death while stresses of an estate piled on top.
"I was always the kind of person who really felt for those people," Watt-Senner said. "I would circle back in two or three weeks to see if I could offer victim services."
When Watt-Senner entered the RCMP, she expected to 'get old and grey in the Mounties.' She wanted to be a cop since she was five years old. Her parents took her to parades as a child, and what excited her most was the flashing lights by police cars.
"I was always completely fascinated with that," she said, with a chuckle.
The Red Deer, Alta. resident applied to the force out of high school and was accepted when she was 22. Throughout her career as a Mountie, she was posted in Williams lake, Prince George, Kelowna, Quesnel and Kamloops. She even met her husband, still an active member in Kamloops, during training at the academy.
"We were in the same troop," she said.
But being a cop wasn't what she thought it would be.
"Policing has changed quite dramatically over the last 10 years," she said. "Knowing what I know now, I never would have joined 25 years ago."
But fate would offer her a different path.
Her compassion for victim's families met an 'ah-ha' moment one day while watching Oprah, of all things. An entrepreneur out of Australia was the focus of this particular episode.
It was the first time Watt-Senner became aware of 'professional organizing,' a side job she had been doing for family and friends for years. She was immediately drawn to the idea of starting her own similar business.
"It was a seed that was planted many years ago," she said. "I had first-hand experience dealing with chronic disorganization."
And her police work lended skills such as attention to detail.
"You marry those things together and you can get a very organized individual," she said.
In 2009, she founded Everything Organized, specializing in organizing: helping hoarders, movers and estate liquidation. The company's website auctions off household items, with some of the proceeds going back into the pockets of the clients.
She didn't know at the time that it would take over her childhood dream of being a police officer.
"I started the company and then about six months later I was in an (accident)," she said.
A car accident while on police duty left her with permanent head trauma.
"The injuries were such that I would never be able to return to general policing duty," she said.
But she was able to move past the accident and the badge. With a young child at home and work injuries, she reprioritized her life and left the force.
"The company was already doing well and it was just a natural progression," she said. "I don't know that chasing bad guys in the middle of the night is really what I wanted to do for 50 years."
Her organizing company took off quickly. Two years ago, she hosted TLC's reality television show, Buried Alive, and this past January, she began franchising.
"The funny thing is, I don't miss policing at all," she said. "I think that's because I truly love doing what I do now."
She enjoys being a business owner and spending time with her eight-year-old son.
"It was liberating," she said. "I don't have to go to anyone to ask permission to do it. I just clear my schedule — that is priceless."
And she's still able to help families in need, as she did as a cop.
"You walk away from a contract and know that you've changed someone's life for the better."
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013