The 100 Mile House RCMP detachment is welcoming a new commander into their midst.
Staff Sgt. Svend Nielsen began work as the new detachment commander on May 15, replacing Staff Sgt. Blake Ward, who left the detachment at the end of June 2016 to take a new post as an inspector in Prince Rupert.
Only six hours into his first day on the job, Nielsen sat down with the Free Press.
Nielsen is actually from the South Cariboo. He grew up in 108 Mile Ranch and graduated from Peter Skene Ogden Secondary in 1990. While he left the area to go to college, he returned in 1996 for a year to marry his wife.
“When 100 Mile came open again to be able to apply here, to come here was just a dream come true,” he says.
“The ability to come back and to come home, so to speak, was a big draw for us.”
Nielsen started with the RCMP in 2003 and brings his wife and four children to 100 Mile House after postings in Kamloops, Haida Gwaii, Cambell River, Comox Valley, Fort St. James and, most recently, Vanderhoof.
The job comes with a promotion for Nielsen, whose job will be to oversee the administrative and operational capacity of the detachment, as well as to work with community stakeholders and foster relationships and partnerships in the community.
The next couple of weeks will see the staff sergeant getting settled in his new job as he gets to know his staff, meets with community stakeholders and follows the protocol in place for installing a new detachment commander.
“Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks, they recognize who I am so I’m not just another face along the sidewalk. I’m somebody that I hope they feel is approachable and that the public can come and talk to me,” he says.
While he says the priorities for the detachment are fairly similar across the district, reducing criminal offenses, violent crime and property offenses, he says the uniqueness of the 100 Mile detachment is the area and communities it covers.
“Certainly, they all have their own needs and requirements that potentially might alter their needs or their requirements from us,” he says.
Overall, Nielsen says he is looking forward to connecting with the community.
“It’s about building a base with the community and fostering relationships building that layer of trust within the community – that is most important to me … which I believe quite clearly already exists.”
He says he’s excited to join the “well run” detachment.
“Certainly the group here is very good,” he says. “They’re very established. There are a lot of strong members who work here, officers who work here, and to be able to come here and come to a place like this is something I look forward to.”
In the meantime, Nielsen is settling into being back in the area and re-encountering old friends.
“I am excited to be here. [I’m] looking forward to being here for a long time, to put inroads into the community and it’s exciting to be home. It’s full circle for me almost and I look forward to being here for a while.”