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How will Kamloops' next top cop be chosen?

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February 06, 2013 - 4:57 PM

As the chief of police moves on, there is a void in the Kamloops RCMP.

RCMP Supt. Yves Lacasse announced Jan. 31 that he was retiring from the force to join the controversial copper/gold mine project, Ajax Mine, and retire from the RCMP after 27 years of service.

As he begins his new job on Feb. 24, the clock is ticking to find his replacement.

"The final decision likely won't be known for some time," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned.

The process for selecting the person to fill Lacasse's position is very involved and can take months. It begins with a shortlist from RCMP officer staffing in Ottawa.

"That shortlist will be determined as to whether they will move someone laterally or hold a promotional competition," Learned said.

Once the shortlist is completed, it is passed onto RCMP Chief Supt. Mike Sekela, responsible for the Southeast District, including the Central Interior, Okanagan and Kootenay regions.

Sekela shortens the list before passing it along to the City, including Mayor Peter Milobar and council. City officials can then give input as well as interview candidates.

"(Finally) it goes back to officer staffing with the suggestions and recommendations," Learned said. "The ultimate decision is from officer staffing in Ottawa."

The lengthy process takes time. Learned said Lacasse's promotion took a couple months to fill and prior to him, it took about six months to hire Jim Begley for the same position.

"Ultimately what they try to do is get the best qualified or best suitable candidate," Learned said. "It does a disservice to everyone if the best candidate and the right person isn't selected."

The position isn't for everyone; it comes with a fair amount of responsibility, delivering police services to the community.

Learned said the ideal candidate would be a good communicator with the public, city partners and within the force.

"You have to have your ear to the ground," Learned said.

While day-to-day tasks are ongoing, the chief is responsible for the bigger picture.

"You can't just be putting out the fires. You have to look at what's supplying it, what's driving it," Learned said.

He also said the chief is responsible for organizing priorities - from the detachment's priorities to the ones from Ottawa and within the district. The job description is specific, but Learned said a wide range of qualifications may fit the bill, with consideration for both experience and personality.

"What the process tries to do is match up the individuals who merit the right skills with the right personality," he said.

Learned said there has been no word on what will be done in the interim but expects to find out in the next week or so.

— Jessica Wallace


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