September 16, 2013 - 2:30 PM
KELOWNA – In his first two weeks as Kelowna's top cop, Supt. Nick Romanchuk is finding the city a little busier than his last posting in the Kootenays.
He's been in and out of meetings, getting up to date with staff, fellow officers and the broader community, including local media. He had RCMP brass in town with the Prime Minister last week and made the call to shut down a neighbourhood and send the Emergency Response Team to deal with an armed suicidal man.
“I could have waded in slowly or I could have dove right into the deep end... I chose to dive into the deep end,” says the 46-year-old Saskatchewan native.
Moving from the Kootenays where he was head of the regional detachment to the heart of the Okanagan comes with big changes. While Romanchuk says Kelowna certainly has a larger volume of crime, the basic principles of policing stay the same.
"The faces change," he says, but adds, “policing is policing no matter where you are. Policing in every community that I've been in is very, very similar."
Kelowna does have its unique challenges, though. He's already considering August's Centre of Gravity festival, a large music event that brought significant gang activity to the city.
“Certainly there is quite a significant gang presence here, I think part of it stems from just the location. It's a very beautiful city with a great environment and climate, so that attracts all sorts of people and unfortunately it attracts the criminal element as well,” he says.
Romanchuk has spent the last 14 of his 22 years with the RCMP as a detachment commander and of all the places he's lived he's noticed something a little different in Kelowna.
“I've gone into a number of communities over the years... and this one by and far has been the most welcoming experience I've had,” he says. And with two young daughters adjusting to new schools, it's a pleasant surprise.
From invitations to meet locals to the positive feedback he's getting, Romanchuk is discovering the outgoing spirit of his new community.
“They want the police to be included in what they're doing,” he says, and is fully prepared to make that happen.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Julie Whittet at email@example.com or call (250)718-0428.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013