The Grand Falls-Windsor RCMP detachment has had a new officer in charge since October. Staff Sgt. Kelly Bryan has settled in at his latest assignment in a policing career that spans 24 years and the entire country. Items on the wall of his office include some photographs of his time with the tactical unit. He still serves in the unit part time and trains once a month.
There’s a great distance between his homeland and recent RCMP postings for the Grand Falls-Windsor detachment’s new Staff Sgt. Kelly Bryan, but the police duties remain virtually the same.
The native of Vancouver Island was assigned to Grand Falls-Windsor in October 2015, but he’s spent five years in Newfoundland having previously been stationed in Port Saunders and Placentia. He has also spent some time with RCMP tactical units.
The exposure at larger and smaller detachments on both sides of the country has provided an experience that is proving invaluable.
“There are 100-plus variations of policing, so it’s much more than a job — it’s a career,” Bryan told the Advertiser Thursday.
The main focus for the new detachment leader has been to improve delivery service.
The detachment got a boost in last week with the announcement of its inclusion in a pilot project to expand the RCMP’s visible presence throughout the region, mainly by readjusting schedules and maximizing resources at peak times.
He said some other gains could come from increased efficiencies.
Bryan said he is aware of some of the concerns over police presence expressed by the region’s municipal leaders.
“I’ve met with the Exploit’s Joint Council and they all want improvement,” he said.
Harmonizing policing work is on his list as well.
“A lot of it is about forming and solidifying existing partnerships with other agencies (like DFO),” he said. “Policing is a team effort and although we’re the lead federal agency, we can’t do it all.”
The detachment is a big one with a large coverage area. Current resources include a policing and support staff of 35.
In addition to officers to handle day-to-day policing, the detachment also houses a police dog team, a forensic identification unit and a general investigative service (plainclothes).
Bryan said the general investigative unit would be tasked to deal with matters like a rash of break-ins.
There are some members at the detachment whose responsibility are in highway enforcement, but oversight for that comes from divisional command, he noted.
The physical area is huge — Buchans to Leading Tickles. While former detachments in Buchans and Botwood no longer operate, the Town of Buchans does provide an office if members need to use one while policing in that area. There is also a policing base in Botwood that isn’t open to the public, but allows members who reside in Botwood to begin and end their shift from there.
There are always differences between jurisdictions and there is an accompanying period of adjustment.
Bryan’s wife is a native Newfoundlander and while there was a culture shift coming to this province, “it’s been a good change,” he said.
As for the policing, he doesn’t see a great deal of difference.
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“We have national policies, but there are some minor differences in administrative paper flow,” he said. “There are some statutes that have some differences, like the Highway Traffic Act, but it’s all just a learning curve.
“The calibre of members here is excellent. And the service the public is getting here in investigations is as good as it was in any of my other postings.”