The timing couldn’t be better — just as the winter snow started to blanket Yellowknife, the West Shore RCMP’s new commanding officer touched down in Victoria.
Insp. Kevin Violot, 54, took command in Langford Nov. 11 after four years as the officer in charge of the vast and sparsely populated territory between Great Slave Lake to the Beaufort Sea, past the Arctic Circle.
“We got out at the right time. It does get cold there,” Violot said.
The contrast between postings is stark. Most communities under the Northwest Territories North District watch were remote and accessible only by plane.
Now he’s getting up to speed with the vagaries of managing policing for five different municipalities — Colwood, Langford, Highlands, Metchosin and View Royal — and two First Nations communities — Songhees and Esquimalt.
“Each posting is a unique challenge. In the north you can’t get anywhere in a hurry. High priority calls can take three hours to get there,” Violot said. “Here the response is quicker, everything is a lot closer, but that has challenges as well.
“It’s a unique situation here. Each municipality has its own priorities and want the police to work with them on that. You have to juggle a lot.”
The 31-year-veteran Mountie, originally from Chatham, Ont., spent the majority of his career in communities throughout Saskatchewan before taking command in the north about four years ago.
“As a young guy I wanted to see different areas of the country, and the RCMP afforded me that opportunity,” he said. “I like seeing different people, different communities.”
In that spirit, Violot jumped at the chance to take command of the West Shore detachment. With three grown kids out of the house, Violot and his wife were happy to relocate to the West Coast.
“I visited the Island a year ago and fell in love with it instantly,” Violot said. “I was ecstatic when I got this job. The smile on my face didn’t come off for days.”
Violot doesn’t expect to change current detachment priorities of targeting prolific offenders, those who commit the majority of break-ins and property crimes. A hands-on kind of officer and “not a big fan of email,” Violot expects to keep a high personal profile in the community.
“My No. 1 priority is community policing, getting out there, getting involved in the communities we police. Not just myself but all members,” Violot said.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge. Five municipalities and two First Nations communities expect a good policing service. To do that we’ve got to work hard with them.”