There’s a new smiling sergeant in town, commander Svend Nielsen with the Vanderhoof RCMP.
Originally from 100 Mile House, Sgt. Nielsen has been a member for 12 years working as an officer all over the province – Kamloops, Masset, Haida Gwaii, Campbell River, Comox Valley, Fort St. James and now Vanderhoof.
“I do it to help people. It’s an honour getting to do what we do, no matter what the situation is. Sometimes it’s a difficult situation but we can go in and help and ultimately make things better,” Sgt. Nielsen said, who was promoted last December as lead commander in Vanderhoof.
He most recently worked in Fort St. James for three and-a-half years where he became acting sergeant in June 2014 due to the previous commander’s retirement.
“He has great interpersonal skills and leads by example.He’s a superior supervisor,” acting Cpl. Derek Rondeau said of the Fort St. James detachment.
Vanderhoof has functioned without a commander for more than six months now however, the Fort St. James detachment continues to be low on man power, Sgt. Nielsen said, who right now bounces back and forth between the two towns.
“For the time being, I will actually remain acting commander of the Fort St. James RCMP and Cpl. Justin Thiessen will remain acting commander in Vanderhoof,” Sgt. Nielsen said.
Sgt. Nielsen moved to Vanderhoof in December with his wife Tanis and four children. He says he likes to live where he works.
“You have to know the community and the best way to do that is get out in it and meet the people of the community,” Sgt. Nielsen said.
Coming to the Nechako Valley has proven to be a shift in dynamic for him having worked in much larger centres. Yet it’s been a change he was happy to make.
“Generally you have closer relationships with people in the smaller centres. It’s a different dynamic but that’s the part I enjoy tremendously,” Sgt. Nielsen said. “Sometimes personal relationships in a smaller city can assist in gaining information on files. When people get to know and respect you it influences how they deal with you.”
His duties in both towns currently vary but as acting commander in Fort St. James, he has taken on more of an administrative role.
“In Vanderhoof its more of a bit of both [in-office and patrol],” he said.
And with him being in both places it has created an even stronger relationship between Takla landing, Fort St. James and Vanderhoof RCMP.
“Since numbers of members is low, it’s bound to form a bound between the detachments so even the boarders blur,” he said.
(Vanderhoof boundaries go east to lloyd drive, west to Willowvale Rd., north to Dog Creek service road and south 30 km. Fort St. James hits Vanderhoof boundary by Dog Creek and goes north roughly three hours.)
Sgt. Nielsen and his wife knew they would like the community since they had knowledge of the area through friends and family ties. They plan on staying in Vanderhoof for a while.
“I like having the advantages of a small town feel but having access to the larger centre. I think I’m going to like it here,” he said with a smile.