It’s that time again. That’s right, ‘tis the season for the RCMP shuffle, when we have to say goodbye to families that have become an integral part to our community and when we start introductions to a new family that we will no doubt grow fond of in the short years to come.
Long-time resident RCMP Constable Tim MacDonald and his family will be missed (both on and off the ice) when they make the move to Kaslo. Constable Shawn Foley will be taking over his post in Nakusp, in another short-distance move from New Denver. At least they’re staying in the neighbourhood.
“It’s crazy,” Corporal Ryan Fehler said. He sees staffing as probably one of the most difficult jobs in the RCMP, having to tell people they have to move. “You’re never going to make everybody happy,” he said, shaking his head.
Corporal Fehler might know about that impossibility. In the course of the interview, he explained that a corporal is a rank up from constable, which generally means more paperwork and time in the office. But it can also mean more time to find opportunities for collaboration with community groups and schools.
Bringing his enthusiasm with him from up north, Fehler is glad to be here. After spending eight years up north in Williams Lake and Burns Lake, the Kelowna-born officer is enjoying a more southerly climate once again.
Like most newcomers to the area, he has been happily overwhelmed by the phenomenon of small-town celebrity where it seems like everyone in town already knows who you are, even though you may not have met them yet.
“I enjoy that aspect of it,” said Fehler. He appreciates the knowledge that comes with knowing everybody and being in a small place, seeing it as an opportunity to be open-minded and to learn.
Luckily for Nakusp, RCMP staffing is replacing one hockey-playing family with another. Fehler is a big hockey player and his five-year-old son was part of the novice league this winter.
“It’s a nice way to meet community members,” he said. Fehler also took part in the Blue Knuckle Derby, but after one day of horizontally-blowing snow and near-zero visibility, he packed it in.
Fehler is keen to make connections with community leaders in the area, and wants to get involved with local youth more. He is impressed by the level of community involvement of his fellow officers and their families, something that he said helps build positive relationships in the town. Good relationships are key, the Corporal emphasized.
“There’s a joke: under six and over 60 are the ones that like us,” Fehler said. That’s not really the case here, he said. Some towns have shutters over windows, but we’re fortunate, said Fehler. “It speaks well of parents and the community that we have respectful young people.”