By Jonathan Riley
© Jonathan Riley
Digby’s new RCMP staff sergeant Rocky Calhoun has arrived and taken over command of the detachment.
Digby’s new RCMP staff sergeant has arrived.
Rocky Calhoun, formerly a sergeant in the Annapolis detachment, has taken over command of the Digby detachment.
Calhoun is originally from New Brunswick – the central Miramichi area – but served for 30 years in British Columbia.
“When I graduated from depot I asked to be posted to the East Coast and I ended up in B.C.,” said Calhoun on Thursday, Dec. 5, his fourth day on the job in Digby.
Calhoun finally got his chance to come back east three years ago when he was appointed to the Annapolis detachment.
Calhoun’s wife works in Bridgetown and they will continue living there for a little longer; they have two sons, one in university and one working in B.C.
Because of the commute, Calhoun has already been able to help one motorist after she hit a deer on the 101.
But he quickly acknowledges that commuting isn’t a perfect situation.
“Where ever I’ve worked, and I’ve worked in many communities, I’ve always lived within the town and usually within walking distance of the office,” he said. “I’ll be the first to admit it’s very important to live in the community you’re working in.”
Calhoun says he is a firm believer in community-based policing.
“Police need to be seen in the community and the community needs to know who the officers are,” he said. “I push for visibility – there are a lot of programs with big names but it’s not rocket science– people want to see the police in the community—on foot in the stores or just in the schools they want to them to be visible in the community.”
Calhoun says that already seems to be happening here and he credits the hard work of retired staff sergeant Phil Barrett for bringing the detachment to a high standard.
“I know I’ve got big shoes to fill and sometimes, you know, it’s easier to come into a place that is struggling,” he said. “But it’s nice to come into an office like Digby where everyone is happy and smiling.”
Calhoun says he will be making an extra effort over the next few weeks to meet with people, community groups and organizations, councils.
His priorities for the detachment are domestic violence, crime reduction and road safety.
“This weekend is the big kick off for Christmas holidays and one of our priorities is going to be impaired driving—it’s always something we work hard on but we’ll be giving it even further attention this Christmas season and in the coming months,” he said.
“I have a background in traffic and I have a lot of experience with accidents – a lot of them are preventable,” he said. “And when I talk about road safety, I’m not talking about just enforcement, a big part of it is education.”
Calhoun says he hasn’t had a chance to really look at staffing levels at the Digby detachment– officers in the Annapolis detachment have been asking municipal councils there to fund more positions because they are stretched so thin and overworked, they say.
“I do know during the summer months and up to now that Digby has had its challenges – we (Annapolis) asked them (Digby) for resources and Digby was searching around themselves,” he said. “I do know we don’t have any wiggle room. We have one officer out on sick leave and others on paternity who aren’t back filled. We have challenges.”
Calhoun says the frustrating part is his officers want to be on the road but the paperwork and reporting requirements keep them at their desks longer than they want.
Digby has been without a staff sergeant since Barrett retired in October 2012. Digby has two corporals and they have been taking turns leading the detachment with support from the head of western region, staff sergeant John Ennis.