Calling all cars, calling all cars
Whistler has a new top cop
By Chris Woodall
The Mounties in Whistler have a new man to get their man.
Meet Staff Sgt. Frank Shedden, who joins the Whistler detachment of the RCMP from Grand Forks, B.C.
Shedden comes to Whistler with his wife Laraine and two teenaged daughters: Lindsay's in Grade 10 and Bonnie's in Grade 9.
Laraine Shedden works in emergency health services in Pemberton. Although Frank is from Saskatoon, he met Laraine while posted to Nelson, B.C.
As for the daughters, Lindsay is fast becoming a snowboarding wiz. Bonnie is just getting into it, says her father.
As for dad, he's a steady blue-run skier with a hankering for the hockey rink. But he admits his knees are a little older and so badminton is a favourite winter sport.
In the summer you'll find him fishing or playing baseball in his off hours.
Shedden replaces Staff Sgt. Jim Eglinski, who left in November.
The new top cop comes at a time when Whistler's size dictates it must decide what its policing will be for the future, and pay for it. Municipal council can decide to go the more expensive route and form its own force, or, as seems most likely, it can contract policing services from the Mounties, earning the side benefit of having those dashing red serge uniforms on duty for certain occasions.
Until council makes that decision, Shedden is reluctant to say what kind of stamp he'll put on the force under his command.
That decision will also determine the number of officers Shedden will have and how he'll be able to use them.
A promotion to his current four-striped rank and a chance to work with a slightly larger 12-officer detachment — there were 10 in Grand Forks — were the kinds of challenges he hopes will make the job interesting.
"Do I put an officer on the road (for general patrol) or do I put them on a specific job case, such as traffic or community crime," he says by way of an example.
It's still a little early to tell what separates Whistler policing from the many other communities he's served. "There are enough times that Whistler is in the news, you have an idea that Whistler is a unique community. But it's a small community with a massive influx of people."
Although he's been in Whistler only since the beginning of February, Shedden says he'd been reading both community newspapers before he moved here to find out what makes a Number 1 ski resort tick.
How the relationship between the RCMP and municipal bylaw officers will work is a unique challenge, Shedden says. "In most communities, bylaw officers don't report to the RCMP. I'll have to find a groundwork how each will report to the other and make things run smoothly."
But he acknowledges that this relationship also depends on what municipal council has in mind.
One thing for sure, he likes the summertime bicycle patrols. "It interacts a lot with the public," Shedden says.