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Lucky No. 13 ‘just one of the guys’
There is a new chief in town.
Mayor Nils Jensen swore Andrew Brinton in as the new Chief Constable of the Oak Bay Police, welcoming the 13th chief of the department since it’s inception in 1906.
“It’s a great day, it starts a new chapter in the 108-year history of our great police force. This new chief brings a real community-minded spirit to the job,” Jensen said. “We are community-based policing as a philosophy and he fits right in with that philosophy and it is going to be great to have him on board, working not only here in Oak Bay but connecting us to the region.”
Brinton replaces Mark Fisher, who spent just over two years with OBPD before taking a post in Nanaimo with the RCMP. Brinton, coming off 14 years in Powell River, said he is looking forward to integrating into a community not unlike the small-town feel of his previous post.
“(This) is huge. I have worked in small towns when you are the policeman on the Friday night and standing with the client base at the grocery store line the next day,” he said. “It’s something that I have always enjoyed. Some people shy away from it, I just enjoy being part of the community.”
Brinton’s career spans posts in Nanaimo, Parksville, Boston Bar, Whistler and Burnaby among others, including more than four years with the West Coast Marine Unit, an experience he said he will draw from working in a coastal community. The avid cyclist said he looks forward bringing those experiences and more to help in his new position, where he hopes to work with organizations outside the department, including community groups and services that make a difference in the lives of residents across Oak Bay.
“We are not just here for the traditional policing roles,” he said. “I see us playing a role in the big picture of crime reduction.”
Brinton plans to spend the early part of his tenure working on learning more about the municipality, getting a handle on priority areas, key issues and spending time with the residents of the community where he signed a new five-year contract.
“I play hockey, and the first time you go into a dressing room (I find) a lot of people have not had social contact with a policeman before,” Brinton said. “It’s fun to see the walls come down, the barriers come down. After a couple of ice times, you are just one of the guys. I think that’s so important in policing.”
Jensen sees parallels in the community-minded policing approach of Powell River including its size and the number of police, which is in part why he believes Brinton was chosen by the police board.
“Policing right across the region is about making better, safer communities and he has the skill and experience to do that,” the mayor said. “He brings a new energy and a new perspective. We are certainly looking forward to working very closely with him.”