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Cooperation key for new Nanaimo police chief

Supt. Mark Fisher, Nanaimo RCMP detachment’s new commanding officer, wants to familiarized himself with the community before recommending new programs or tweaking existing ones.  - CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin
Supt. Mark Fisher, Nanaimo RCMP detachment’s new commanding officer, wants to familiarized himself with the community before recommending new programs or tweaking existing ones.
— image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

One of the things that drew RCMP Supt. Mark Fisher to Nanaimo is the level of cooperation within the detachment and with the City of Nanaimo.

Nanaimo RCMP detachment’s new commanding officer held a media meet and greet Friday after putting in his first week on the job. He said the eagerness among staff to start on new crime reduction project proposals he delivered when he served as government liaison was another reason he was attracted to the Harbour City.

“It was a quite interesting to walk in with the suggestion of a project and watch how well these people worked across the table,” Fisher said. “Nanaimo and Kamloops were examples that I thought did the best job of this across the province, at what we were bringing to the table as a provincial initiative and it was something that was very attractive to me as well, just knowing that there was that level of cooperation and integration in the community.”

Fisher, 44, was brought in from Oak Bay Police Department, where he was chief constable, to take over from Supt. Norm McPhail who retired last fall.

Fisher was officer-in-charge of the RCMP’s West Shore detachment before he left the RCMP to take over as Oak Bay’s chief constable in 2011. He also has history with Nanaimo from when he worked here in 2008 and 2009 as part of a government liaison committee.

Some of the biggest challenges the Nanaimo detachment faces, Fisher noted, is maintaining the quality level of work in the community and building on successes in times of fiscal restraint.

That also means he has no plans to tweak existing programs or start new ones right away. For the time being his first order of business is to keep his ear to the ground, get out and talk with people and get a feel for what people around Nanaimo think are areas of policing that need attention.

“My sense is, in general, they’re quite happy and like what they see, but again, you can’t sit in an office and make judgments based on what you read in reports or assumptions based on that and I’ve never been one to do that,” Fisher said.  “So it’ll take some time for me to be in the community and meet with the community leaders and listen to what they have to say about how we’re doing. All of the feedback thus far has been quite positive.”

Fisher said a continual focus of policing is engaging youth, starting with pre-school age children, especially those from high-risk families. Programs to tackle high-tech crime and elder abuse are other areas he would like to direct police resources as well.

Any plans and programs have to be shoehorned within budget constraints, however, and certain types of crime and how cases have to be prepared for the Crown continue to drive up costs.

Changing regulations around medical marijuana legislation will also place more demand on resources as police are tasked to ensure individuals cease cultivating pot to comply with the law.

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