Kitimat's new RCMP Staff Sergeant James McLaren.

Kitimat's new RCMP Staff Sergeant James McLaren.

Kitimat welcomes new top cop at RCMP detachmnt

Staff Sergeant James McLaren joins the Kitimat detachment.

He’s braved the frontiers of Nunavut, he’s trained police in Kosovo, but Kitimat’s newest staff sergeant at the RCMP detachment is already feeling quite at home in our coastal community.

Edmonton-born McLaren has spent 22 years in the RCMP, and aside from Kosovo and far north Canada he’s also had stints in Saskatchewan and Alberta too.

While Kosovo was a time he enjoyed immensely, he said Nunavut was the real highlight of his career so far.

“There experience there was just phenomenal,” he said.

His perspective is a clue to the community-minded approach he’s taking to policing.

“The thing I liked the best about Nunavut is the work we were doing in the communities. You could see the results come back really quick,” he said.

The community needs were essentially the same as anywhere else, he said.

“They want to have a police force that they can trust, that they can rely on, that they can feel safe and secure with. That’s just foundation, basic building blocks.”

Since being a constable he’s held a very community-minded approach to policing in any community he’s been.

“We’re here for the community, we’re not here because of the community. I’ve taken that philosophy ever since I was a constable on my first post.”

He’ll also draw on his experiences working in other resource towns that see the boom cycles like Kitimat.

“I have experienced resource town booms and all the problems that brings with it. I’m going to pull a little on that. But [Kitimat’s] gone through it before,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people preparing for it.”

While the learning curve to working in a boom cycle town is high he’s looking forward to the challenge. And so far he’s found Kitimat a very comfortable town compared to others he’s policed, especially as far as the call volume.

He said there’s been posts where he’s getting calls multiple times a week for serious incidents.

So far there’s been nothing like that in Kitimat.

“It’s a really good team here,” he said of his officers, noting the local detachment’s engagement with the community.

“I want to keep that fire burning.”