Sgt. Jim Fenske is the new commander of the Lisims/Nass Valley RCMP detachment.

Sgt. Jim Fenske is the new commander of the Lisims/Nass Valley RCMP detachment.

New Lisims/Nass Valley RCMP commander takes up his post

Sgt. Jim Fenske moved to the Nass Valley from northeastern B.C.

The new commander of the Lisims/Nass Valley RCMP detachment loves working in small towns in the great outdoors.

Sgt. Jim Fenske took over March 6 after being in charge of the detachment in Hudson’s Hope B.C. for eight months.

Before that, he was posted in Mackenzie as commander there for four years.

His previous posts include Carmacks, Yukon, Campbell River, Stewart and he started his career in Fort St. James.

Small towns suit his lifestyle better than larger centres.

“My hobbies are outdoorsy, fishing and hunting, hanging out with the kids, camping,” said Fenske.

“When you grow up on the farm in the Prairies, you have a total appreciation for the mountains, rivers, lakes and just how beautiful it is,” he said, adding the weather here is better than when he was growing up “on the flat bald prairie where it’s -40 degrees for three weeks” in the winter.

Fenske plans to continue with former officer in charge Sgt. Donovan Tait’s approach of the RCMP as a service provider to meet the needs of the Nisga’a communities in the Nass Valley.

“It’s something we’ve got to build on. He’s clearly set the groundwork. It’s just a matter of adding our own twist to it,” said Fenske.

“First Nations policing officers, we have three here, and you know there’s four villages so they spend an enormous amount of time in with the kids and elders and sometimes it’s not ‘traditional’ police work but they’re building bonds and relationships with people,” said Fenske.

The detachment has its full complement of a corporal and five constables.

“There’s members with lots of interest in coming up here so that’s a good thing.”

And whereas small towns used to be where officers got their start, that seems to be shifting.

“Normally, we’d get recruits or those with a couple of years of service but we’re getting [members with] up to 10, 14, 25-plus [years] who want to come up here.”

That’s likely due to a combination of factors: always wanting to do something like that or looking for a change of role in a smaller town, he added.

Small town policing in uniform is more “down to the roots, boots on the ground police work,” he said.

Former Lisims/Nass Valley RCMP officer in charge Sgt. Donovan Tait spent two years in the valley before transferring to Nanaimo in August 2013.