First Person: Norman McPhail 

New head of Whistler/Pemberton RCMP relishes challenges, opportunities leading up to 2010

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Whistler RCMP deals with 8,000 cases a year, from simple traffic incidents to cases of sexual assault. The detachment is also responsible for dealing annually with Pemberton’s 3,000 or so cases following the integration of the two detachments in 2003.

Add to that the Olympic Games, which are coming to the region in 2010, continued growth of tourism and expanding populations and anyone can see the area presents some unique challenges for policing.

Earlier this year Staff Sgt. Norman McPhail took over as head of the RCMP for Whistler and Pemberton. The father of two is no stranger to the resort. In fact it is his third tour of duty here since 1988.

Pique Newsmagazine sat down to talk to him about the future of policing in the resort and the changes he has witnessed since he first worked here as a constable.

Pique : What do you see as some of the challenges of policing the Whistler region?

Staff Sgt. Norman McPhail: "It’s all about doing 2010 vision with 2020 planning. It is about trying to get the police operation into the state that it should be for the anticipated and significant growth coming to Whistler and beyond. Whistler is continually evolving as a resort destination, both in winter and summer, so we have to expand police operations in consideration of the clients that are coming to the area.

Pique : Obviously hosting the Olympics in 2010 is part of that growth. What are your thoughts on its impact on policing?

NM : The Olympics are going to bring added pressure. It is going to expose our area more to the world and people will see what a great place it is to live, and with that there will be policing challenges.

Some of the challenges for Whistler are to ensure we have the proper structures in place so that when the support comes in we are ready for it. There is an onus on us to provide policing for the citizens of Whistler and to have some complementary linkages, but not to be responsible for the overall security.

Leading up to the Games we are going to have build up in various areas so we have to look at if we have adequate provincial policing resources to deal with all… the challenges. We are quite conscious of the fact that it is only five years until the Games and we have to have our act together.

I see our establishment increasing by at least a couple of police officers per year up to the Games.

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