Staff Sergeant Graham Morgan has returned to the Kitimat RCMP as Detachment Commander. He’s happy to be back and says he has kept community engagement as one of his top priorities. (Kitimat RCMP photo)

“We do want to be involved and engaged and approachable”: Kitimat RCMP gets new detachment commander

Staff Sgt. Morgan previously worked at the Kitimat RCMP from May 2014 to May 2018

After two years away from Kitimat, Staff Sgt. Graham Morgan has come back as the new detachment commander at the Kitimat RCMP.

Morgan previously worked at the Kitimat RCMP from 2014 to 2018 as the Operations NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer). He left in May 2018 to work at the Surrey RCMP detachment, but said he is excited to be back in Kitimat.

“It is nice to be back. Already I’ve received a warm welcome back,” Morgan said. “It is kind of nice when you go to the grocery store or the coffee shop, you’ll run into people that you know from the community. So, it is kind of nice that way, there’s kind of a community feel here that you don’t get in a large centre.”

Morgan has been with the RCMP for almost two decades. He started at the Surrey detachment in 2001 and moved to the Whistler detachment in 2007.

“I was fortunate to….work there over the Olympics, which was kind of neat to see and, you know, see how everything unfolded there.”

In 2011, he moved to the White Rock detachment, which was a similar size to the Kitimat detachment, until 2014 when he got the job in Kitimat. Morgan said he enjoyed his four years here previously. He had a lot of good learning experiences and made connections with many local groups, such as Haisla Nation, the Kitimat General Hospital, Tamitik Status of Women (TSW), and the Seniors’ Centre, as well as industry partners.

“It was kind of at the end of the Rio Tinto Modernization Project, so it was busier in 2014 [and] 2015 than it was in the latter two years.”

Morgan was also around for the flooding that occurred at the Lower Dyke in 2017, which washed out shorelines on the Kitimat River and many of the campsites at the Radley Park campground.

“Motor homes washed away, people were rescued by helicopters from the top of motor homes. And this all happened at, like, three in the morning.”

Morgan said the response between RCMP, Kitimat Search and Rescue, Terrace Search and Rescue’s swiftwater team, and the community was strong, and they managed to get everyone involved to safety.

“Just after that, the support that was needed for some people, like some people living down there were homeless, so then people came together to find them housing and it was a good example of a community effort during a time of need.”

In 2018, Morgan went back to the Surrey detachment as part of the Emergency and Operational Planning unit, working on planning internally in the RCMP for major events, such as parades, festivals, concerts, etc., as well as for emergency situation response.

Morgan did that for almost two years, until he felt it was time for a change.

“Leaving [Kitimat], I kind of realized how special a place it was. And the work here, it’s very meaningful work that I can do, and I feel like I can make a difference to the community and to the detachment.”

Morgan’s previous work here involved initiatives such as the “Clean Up Kitimat” project, the “Guns and Hoses” hockey charity event with the fire department, presentations and events at the Seniors’ Centre, and working a lot with the vulnerable population in Kitimat.

“There are homeless people in Kitimat, or people with, I guess a better way to describe it is inadequate housing.”

Morgan and the Kitimat RCMP are involved with a project called the Interagency Case Assessment Team (ICAT), which consists of a representatives from a number of local groups, including TSW, the RCMP, Victim Services, the ministries of Social Development and Children and Family Development, Community Corrections, and Mental Health and Addictions.

ICAT works to help victims in specific cases, shining a light on a specific file and what can be done to help that victim.

“Everybody’s at the table, too, so everybody knows what each person [or group] is going to be doing for the situation.”

Going forward, Morgan said he and the Kitimat RCMP are working on this year’s Annual Performance Plan, which includes priorities such as working with prolific offenders; the ICAT team and working with victims and cases of domestic violence; road safety; mental health checks, and making sure the RCMP is staying informed through different medical professionals on how to deal with different mental health issues; as well as community engagement and staying involved, especially during such an isolating time.

“We just look for different ways to interact,” Morgan said. “We do want to be involved and engaged and approachable. If there are concerns, you know, our doors are open.”

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