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BC RCMP appoints new commanding officer as police act reformed

Friday July 2, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC

by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends

On June 25, RCMP announced a new E Division commanding officer (the division which provides policing in British Columbia).

Dwayne McDonald, a 26-year veteran with the RCMP, and current assistant commissioner, will take over the role from Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan on July 1.

McDonald began his career as an officer in the Burnaby RCMP, and has worked as Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Surrey RCMP detachment (before Assistant Commissioner Brian Edwards took over that role on January 6, 2020). He has also worked with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, and Federal Investigative Services and Organized Crime.

Strachan, who was appointed commanding officer in June 2019, is retiring from the RCMP after 33 years of service to spend more time with family. Locally in the west shore, Strachan attended the official opening of the Sarah Beckett Memorial Park in Langford in August 2019, saying at the podium how much she missed the smaller community feel of local policing.

Jennifer Strachan, deputy commander
Jennifer Strachan, deputy commander, E Division

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says he is pleased to welcome McDonald to the role, and will be meeting with him soon to discuss expectations and policing priorities for the role.

“We have high expectations of the RCMP who provide policing in municipalities and Indigenous communities right across BC. We expect its members to serve with dedication and professionalism, ensuring the safety of British Columbians,” said Farnworth.

McDonald told media that he knows policing is “evolving” and he’s “ready to be part of the change and work with our people, partners and communities to make it even better”.

Special committee for reform:

​​On December 9, 2020, the BC government appointed the Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act to examine and make recommendations with respect to complex social issues such as mental health, addiction, the scope of systemic racism within BC’s police agencies, and whether there are measures necessary to ensure a modernized Police Act is consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

mike farnworth, public safety
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth during July 1, 2021 media session about wildfires.

The committee accepted public submissions between March 1 and April 30, 2021. The committee is taking a phased approach to its inquiry and additional opportunities to participate will be available at a later stage. Interested individuals and organizations may be invited to present to the Committee. 

“I am confident that Deputy Commissioner McDonald is prepared and committed to support this new approach to policing in BC,” said Farnworth.

The members of the committee are:

  • Doug Routley, MLA Nanaimo-North Cowichan (chair)
  • Dan Davies, MLA Peace River North (deputy chair)
  • Garry Begg, MLA Surrey-Guildford
  • Rick Glumac, MLA Port Moody-Coquitlam
  • Trevor Halford, MLA Surrey-White Rock
  • Karin Kirkpatrick, MLA West Vancouver-Capilano
  • Grace Lore, MLA Victoria-Beacon Hill
  • Adam Olsen, MLA Saanich North and the Islands
  • Harwinder Sandhu, MLA Vernon Monashee
  • Rachna Singh, MLA Surrey-Green Timbers

E Division:

The BC RCMP is the largest division in Canada, policing all but 12 municipalities in the province (Abbotsford, Central Saanich, Delta, Esquimalt, Nelson, New Westminster, Oak Bay, Port Moody, Saanich, Vancouver, Victoria, and West Vancouver.)

Brenda Butterworth-Carr
Brenda Butterworth-Carr is a former E Division Commanding Officer. [web – 2020]

Back in December 2020 during the pandemic, Brenda Butterworth-Carr announced plans to resign as the BC Government’s assistant deputy minister and director of police services “early in the new year.” She is also a former commander of the BC RCMP.

On the west shore, the West Shore RCMP Commanding Officer is Todd Preston. The West Shore RCMP Detachment serves Colwood, Highlands, Langford, Metchosin, View Royal, Songhees First Nation, Esquimalt First Nation.

===== LINKS:

Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act Consultation Open (BC Legislative Assembly)

Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act (BC Legislative Assembly)

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