Cpl. Heinz Krauss, with the West Shore RCMP’s traffic unit, recently celebrated 40 years with the force. (Kendra Wong /News Gazette staff)

Local officer celebrates 40 years with the RCMP

Cpl. Heinz Krauss joined the force out of high school

For Cpl. Heinz Krauss being a part of the West Shore RCMP is like being on a circus ride.

When he walks into the detachment on Atkins Avenue for his shift, he doesn’t know what to expect, and every day brings something new. Even after serving with the force for the last four decades, it’s a ride he doesn’t plan on getting off anytime soon.

“As much as you joke sometimes about same day, same thing, it really never is, even if it is the same people doing the same things,” said Krauss, who celebrated his 40th year with the RCMP on Jan. 31.

“If this were a circus ride, I’d be in line constantly. It’s the best ride out there.”

Krauss’ journey with the RCMP began in high school when he was asked to pick a topic and write an essay about it. Growing up in Ontario, there was very little RCMP presence and up until that point, Krauss had only seen RCMP officers on post cards. While he admits he’s not sure why he settled on the RCMP, Krauss ended up writing a piece about the history of the force.

By the time Krauss had completed the project, he decided he wanted to be involved in “real-life situations” and becoming an officer with the RCMP allowed him to do that.

“I think I was always interested in police work without even realizing it,” he said.

After graduating from high school, Krauss completed six months of training at the RCMP’s depot in Regina – a time he “didn’t mind all that much.” And after completing the training, packed his bags and headed for the West Coast, where he would go on to serve most of his 40-year career.

Originally stationed in what he called the “Golden Triangle,” consisting of Langley, Prince George and Surrey, he served in a variety of units from uniform patrol to general investigation. At one point, he was also on the strike force and spent 15 years in the drug section.

RELATED: ICBC speed campaign shows drivers what’s at stake

It wasn’t until last March when he was assigned to the West Shore detachment and is now at the helm of the relatively new traffic section, responsible for road safety, including enforcement and working with ICBC on a number of safety campaigns mainly targeting distracted or drunk driving.

In the last year he’s served the western communities, Krauss still can’t believe the difference in attitudes of residents on the Island compared to those in the Lower Mainland.

For example, when Krauss was out on patrol about a month ago, he pulled over a woman for speeding. He initially gave her a warning, when she surprised him and asked for a ticket.

“That is a common attitude,” said the 61-year-old. “The people here are amazing. They’re supportive of our actions. If we’re doing enforcement in a particular area or a particular road, I’m astonished at how many people will come by and thank us, as opposed to the one-finger salutes I was used to in the Lower Mainland.”

RELATED: West Shore RCMP, ICBC continue to enforce distracted driving law

Not only has Krauss enjoyed making local roads safer, he’s created an unbreakable bond with officers, who all went through similar training.

“The work has been absolutely rewarding. The force is what I would consider my big family,” he said, adding he has no plans to retire from the force just yet.

“As long as the corners of the mouth go up, I’m staying, if they’re turned down the other way, that’s probably time to move on because you’re no longer enjoying it.”

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