Williams Lake has a new RCMP sergeant, replacing Sgt. Rick Lebeuf who retired last fall.
Sgt. Mark Smith began working at the Williams Lake detachment on June 6, and said he applied for the position because he wanted to get back to B.C.
“Williams Lake is a bit of a gem because you are close to everything,” he told the Tribune Wednesday. “You have the airport, you have basically everything you need in town and you aren’t far from Kamloops or Vancouver.”
Smith and his wife Josée, also an RCMP member, were working in Edmonton from 2004 to 2016.
During the last six and a half years, he was with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) in Edmonton.
“A lot of work with CFSEU was drug and gang related so it involved writing search warrants and investigating organized crime groups,” Smith said.
Smith grew up in Edmonton and became an RCMP officer in 1990, something he said he knew he wanted to do ever since he was in junior high school.
He went to university and studied history and political science before entering the RCMP Academy, Depot Division in Regina, Sask.
It was at the academy that he met Josée.
His first posting was with the West Shore RCMP detachment in Victoria, B.C. where he stayed until 2004.
Twenty-six years into his career, Smith still enjoys himself and is looking forward to the supervisory role that comes with being promoted to a sergeant, he said.
“I enjoy working with the younger members. It’s fairly junior here, I’m not used to seeing regimental numbers that high.”
In addition to supervising and training new recruits, Smith will be responsible for First Nations policing, victim services, the safer community program, and for the dog handler in Williams Lake.
As for his management style, Smith said he’s not heavy-handed, but prefers teaching and making suggestions.
“I’ve had all types of bosses through my career,” he recalled. “There were the guys who always had their thumb on you, to guys who were totally oblivious to what you were doing. I hope to be somewhere in the middle.”
When Smith isn’t at work, he enjoys doing anything outside, such as golfing, biking, swimming, running and training for triathlons.
“Williams Lake is a beautiful town with the mountains, the trees and the lake,” he said. “If you are an outdoor enthusiast, what better place to live?”
He used to play hockey, and watched his children play hockey as they were growing up, and wouldn’t mind getting back into playing, even though it has been a long time, he added chuckling.
The Smiths have two grown children — a son going to university in Edmonton and a daughter going to school in the U.S.