THE NEW RCMP inspector running the detachment here says he’s impressed by how the community wants to work with police on its crime issues.
“People, whether the mayor or council or band council, want to help,” said Dana Hart, who started work here Aug. 15 replacing Eric Stubbs who was promoted to superintendent and transferred to Prince George.
“The support the RCMP receives is very satisfying,” he said. “‘The police are only as good as the community they police’ – in other words, our effectiveness is dependent on the community’s support and participation in making it a safe place to live.”
Hart has worked in seven provinces and territories and, most recently, spent three years as part of the security detail for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which took him away from home a lot and around the world. And now he wants to settle down in one place for a while.
His wife, Pam Scott, is a sergeant with the RCMP and has taken over from Don Murray as the sergeant in charge of the region’s highway patrol section.
Hart said the couple was fortunate that positions came open for both of them.
Hart began his career in Williams Lake in 1990, moved to Queen Charlotte City in 1994, went on his first foray on the prime minister’s security detail as bodyguard and driver for Jean Chretien in 1996, then headed to Watson Lake, Yukon in 1998 until 1999.
He stayed in the Yukon, moving to Faro to become a corporal and detachment commander in 1999, then headed down east to be the head of operations at Queens detachment in Queens County, Nova Scotia in 2002.
He was promoted to sergeant and transferred to St. Stephen, New Brunswick to be detachment commander in 2005, and then was acting staff sergeant and acting District 1 commander for New Brunswick for nine months in 2006.
He returned to the west to be in charge of staffing as a sergeant in Regina in 2006 for a year, before heading to Yellowknife as staff sergeant in staffing, also for one year.
Hart became an inspector and took his second turn on the prime minister’s security team as personal security/travel officer to Stephen Harper in 2008 before coming here.
Terrace has more amenities than he’s used to after living in some small communities, he said.
Hart saw the BC Civil Liberties Association’s report on policing in small communities – in which Terrace had the most negative comments of the 14 communities visited by the association – before he arrived here.
“Of course, no one has the same view. People have different views and present their own stories. There’s always room for improvement,” he said.
“Overall, the members here at the detachment are motivated to do the right thing and it is challenging when dealing with criminals and some with issues as well. There is no quick fix,” he said.
Those who are critical of the police are asked to keep an open mind and realize how difficult their job is, said Hart.
Officers often have to make a critical decision in a split second, the inspector added.
“That’s not to make any excuses for behaviour that crosses the line,” he said, adding he will not tolerate bad behaviour from his officers.