The West Shore’s top RCMP officer will step down next month to become Oak Bay’s new chief of police.
RCMP Insp. Mark Fisher accepted the job offer last Thursday and will take command July 11. Fisher, a 20 year veteran with the RCMP, served in communities across B.C. before taking the West Shore helm in March 2009.
“This was a very difficult decision. It will be a tough last day when I actually have to leave,” Fisher said. “It’s been a great experience working here, we’ve done fantastic work on significant files.”
Fisher said taking the police chief job in Oak Bay allows his family to stay living in Victoria after moving eight times over his RCMP career. It was only a matter of time before he was reassigned from the West Shore detachment, he said.
“Becoming chief of a municipal police force is a great opportunity and a huge challenge,” he said. “Oak Bay has a really experienced group there, and it’s not often a job like this comes open.”
Fisher will oversee 26 Oak Bay officers compared to 57 officers at the West Shore RCMP detachment. Since he already lives in Oak Bay, he’ll be able to walk to work, although “that was not the deciding factor,” Fisher said laughing.
Despite his short tenure on the West Shore, Fisher was at the helm for a number of tough cases, including the brutal murder of Kimberly Proctor. Most recently, the detachment nabbed an alleged serial bank robber. He championed such well-received programs as having officers patrolling on mountain bikes during the summer.
“The guys are doing great work here. The public is in good hands,” he said. “I don’t want to leave, but I’m leaving when it’s going well.”
Fisher is entering the Oak Bay police force as it works though a number of contentious internal issues.
The department was subject to external reviews of its structure, policies and operations this year. Two of its senior officers were named in an discrimination case by an officer in 2009. A second officer filed another second human rights complaint this year. Both complaints have yet to come before the B.C. Human Rights tribunal.
Fisher said a municipal force offers a different, interesting dynamic, such as officers working within a union and working with a police board. At the West Shore detachment, the RCMP commander generally works with the five West Shore municipalities and First Nations communities directly.
“We are very pleased to have Mark Fisher coming on board,” said Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton. “He has a solid knowledge of local policing issues, given his experience at the West Shore detachment. He also has a track record of having strong, positive relationships with other chiefs and departments in the region.”