February 13, 2013 - 5:19 PM
By Shannon Quesnel
A thundering hand and a velvet touch are two qualities needed in a new police chief, says Mayor Dan Ashton.
Outgoing Penticton RCMP Inspector Brad Haugli will leave big shoes to fill as he moves to another position with the RCMP, according to the mayor.
Haugli served as the officer-in-charge (OIC) for the Penticton South Okanagan Similkameen Regional Detachment from 2009 to 2012. This was his second post in the community. He first served as a recruit in 1990 before returning as detachment commander in 2009.
A city-led committee will decide which of the candidates for OIC, pre-selected by the RCMP, will be right for the job. The mayor says that process is under wraps as it deals with the hiring of new personnel. He did say whoever is selected will need to understand Penticton.
“Inspector Haugli did an incredible job here. What we are looking for is somebody to realize, number one, we are a retirement area that has more police demands. In conjunction with that we are a tourism area that can see our population double at certain peak times during the summer,” he said.
A new detachment commander will need to find a balance between upholding the law and dealing with the community's particular needs.
“It's real easy to be a by-the-book police officer. But you can't do that in an area that has such a mixed demographic. You have senior citizens... that require more care and handling than most. Then you have an age group that comes to enjoy the south Okanagan and the Similkameen. Younger kids come up from the coast and you want to make sure they are treated properly. We don't want any tomfoolery, but we want to make sure we don't offend them because they come back as young adults and bring their families.”
“That is incredibly important,” Ashton says. The community needs not only a cop but someone who understands tourism.
“We want somebody that's firm, that can deal with issues, but we also need somebody that has common sense and utilizes that common sense.”
The mayor says in the past there were serious issues facing the community and the response by the RCMP was aggressive.
“The heavy hand of the law came down and it killed what Penticton had going. It literally killed us for years to come. It was a whole generation (of) people who got pissed off.
“We need an OIC with a thundering, velvet hand. You can quote me on that one.”
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at email@example.com or call 250-488-3065.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013