Sooke’s new RCMP detachment commander has been in his new position for less than a month, but he’s already decided this is a great community.
“It’s always a good sign when members of the RCMP retire and choose to remain in the community,” said Staff Sgt. Brett Sinden, with a grin and an obvious reference to his retired predecessor Jeff McArthur.
“Seriously though, this is a beautiful community.”
He added the detachment has a strong group of committed members with a lengthy history in Sooke.
“They know the community and the community knows them. It makes our efforts that much more effective,” Sinden said.
Sinden came to Sooke after a two-year stint in Sidney and previous experience in several other communities as well as a role with the provincial unsolved homicide unit.
“There are advantages to moving around as it gives you the benefit of a lot of perspectives,” Sinden said.
He identified community growth and the large area that the detachment polices as the main challenges for the RCMP.
“This region is growing very fast and social issues will always become a challenge where rapid growth happens. We have to stay on top of that and work with the disadvantaged people in the community to ensure everyone’s safety.”
Sinden said he will also be working to increase the number of officers in Sooke from the current contingent of 17 to a number more in-keeping with the enormous area his force needs to cover.
“We police an area that includes numerous communities and three First Nations, each with their own character and challenges,” said Sinden.
“Until we can increase the number of officers, the size of the region will remain a challenge from a policing standpoint.”
For the moment, Sinden continues to learn about his new command with a view to developing a new performance plan for the detachment in April.
“That plan will be made with the input of the community through a series of consultations. We want to hear from the residents to determine where their priorities are.”
Sinden isn’t the only new RCMP arrival in Sooke.
Const. Kent Williams arrived in Sooke two weeks ago after five years in his first posting in Chilliwack.
At 50 years of age, Williams acknowledges that he came to the force later in life than some, but said that he has very much enjoyed his new career and loves his new posting, particularly since his family lives on Vancouver Island.
“I’ve been teased that joining the RCMP ws my mid-life crisis,” said Williams with a chuckle. “Some guys buy motorcycles and I joined the RCMP.”