New Sidney North Saanich RCMP commander sets sights on big picture

Staff Sergeant Anna Marie Mallard took over the post from Dennis O’Goreman officially on Feb. 16.

Anna Marie Mallard is the new staff sergeant at the Sidney North Saanich RCMP detachment.

If Anna Marie Mallard was a song, she’d probably be Johnny Cash’s I’ve Been Everywhere.

She’s been to Nunavut, Yellowknife, Baffin Island, Bella Bella, Port Hardy, Campbell River, Victoria and, well, you get the picture.

Now, she’s landed in Sidney as the detachment commander for the Sidney North Saanich RCMP.

Staff Sergeant Mallard took over the post from Dennis O’Goreman officially on Feb. 16.

They actually switched jobs — O’Goreman moving into Victoria’s RCMP headquarters to become Advisory Non-Commissioned Officer and Mallard coming to Sidney. Mallard said her previous role was working with eight detachments in the South Island region on such matters as their annual performance plans.

This latest move, she said, means she has been a commanding officer in nearly every role within the RCMP.

Her first job since arriving on the Saanich Peninsula has been to meet with the leadership of local municipalities (Sidney and North Saanich) and the four First Nations communities.

Working with First Nations here is one of Mallard’s priorities, she said, adding that will be part of the bigger picture of policing within their jurisdiction. She’s had extensive experience with the restorative justice program for youth, saying she thinks it can be successful at many levels.

“Traffic, speeding in reduced speed areas like school zones, is one area of focus,” she added. “Other priorities here include crime reduction and looking at areas where more crime is taking place, and focussing on those.”

Mallard pointed to the RCMP’s prolific offender program. They liaise with other offices, such as Central Saanich Police Service, to identify repeat offenders. Their goal, she said, is to prevent new crimes from taking place.

“Our priorities will remain the same as before,” Mallard continued. “I hope to carry on the good work that has gone on here.”

Mallard added she thinks accountability must be at the fore of everything the RCMP does in the community. To that end, the local detachment recently started community consultative committees. Mallard called this a huge support to local police, enabling people to see what the police do, share their concerns and seek positive outcomes. It’s another method of involving the public, she said.

Overall, the Saanich Peninsula has a low rate of crime. Mallard said having worked in Victoria and liaising with the Sidney North Saanich detachment, she knows the community it serves. The police focus on specific concerns to the residents here — such as ongoing scams and frauds that target seniors.

Her role, she said, will be to oversee the detachment’s 32 officers and eight support staff, develop the budget and perform regular administrative jobs.

Mainly, she will work with  Sidney, North Saanich and the First Nations communities to address local concerns.