Staff Sgt. Danny Willis
Years of service: 33
Staff Sgt. Danny Willis is proof that you can go home again. Willis, who was born and raised in Langford, took over in November as Operations NCO for the West Shore RCMP after 33 years of service elsewhere.
“I had no interest in police work,” Willis says. “I was a Grade 12 student at Belmont studying to be a CPA when a buddy got me involved in handling safety and traffic issues at the school. We worked with Cpl. Don Alexander, and he really turned me on to policing.”
Willis joined the RCMP in 1978 after an 18-month stint volunteering as an Auxiliary Constable with the West Shore RCMP.
“I started out with 10 years in small-town Saskatchewan, I’ve worked in a two-man detachment in the Kootenays and in Richmond, which has 154 members. It gives you a sense of what works and what doesn’t. Most of my career has been general duty, but I’ve done some plain clothes and worked every type of investigation from the most minor to the most major.”
That experience lends itself well to his current position at the West Shore detachment, where he is second in charge, overseeing the day to day operations and members.
“The nice thing about my position is that I really like mentoring the younger members,” he said. “I see quality assurance as a major part of my mandate to ensure we deliver a high level of quality service to the community.”
That can be a difficult task in an area such as the West Shore, which has experienced so much growth, Willis noted.
“The population has probably doubled in the last 30 years, but, sadly services haven’t grown at the same rate to keep pace. It’s a constant challenge to get the most out of the resources that are available,” he says.
Fortunately, Willis believes growth on the West Shore appears to be organized, as opposed to sprawled.
“Many of the changes, such as Veterans Memorial Parkway, make communities more accessible, which makes our work easier. It used to be a challenge to get from Langford to Colwood, but the VMP and other improvements make the West Shore more like one community as opposed to five isolated areas.”
Willis says one of the nice things about the way the RCMP is structured is the experience the organization has accrued in dealing with different sized communities.
“That enables us to get more involved in the communities we serve,” he said. “We’re well versed in the roles that CPAC (Community Policing Advisory Council), Speedwatch and the Auxiliaries play. All these volunteers gives us enhanced policing services that would impact taxes astronomically if we had to pay for them.”
“I, in particular, and the RCMP in general, really value these services, and work closely to maximize their positive impact on the community.”
Willis, a self-described idealist, subscribes to a simple philosophy when it comes to policing.
“We need to maximize our resources in an effort to put us out of a job,” he explains. “I know it’s unrealistic to think we’ll get there, but the journey maximizes our efforts.”
The journey back to the West Shore has been great so far.
“The biggest reason we wanted to come back is because two of my three adult children live here, and this is where we want to retire.”
—Rick Stiebel is the Langford-RCMP community liaison.