For Derren Lench, it’s a long-awaited homecoming. He’ll soon be taking on the job as Deputy Chief Constable with the Central Saanich Police Service and he couldn’t be happier with his return to the Peninsula.
For Lench, it’s the next step in an odyssey that started in Sidney
“I was 12 years old when my family moved to Sidney. Dad worked as a captain on the B.C Ferries and I’m pretty sure that he would have loved for me to follow in his footsteps and take on a career somewhere on the water … but it didn’t work out that way.”
Lench attended school at Parkland Secondary and it was as a high school student that Lench became fascinated with the RCMP. By the age of 13 he had decided that his future lay in the red serge uniforms and the iconic police force that safeguarded his Peninsula community.
“When I turned 18 I became an auxiliary constable and when I turned 20, I was finally accepted to the RCMP and went off to training,” said Lench.
It’s been 35 years since those early steps in a policing career that would see Lench travel across the country and live and work in more communities than many people will ever know.
“I started out working small communities in northern Alberta,” said Lench. “It was a largely rural setting and we worked in small towns and aboriginal communities. I learned a lot in those days … how to relate to a wide range of people and how important it was to become immersed in the community in which you worked.”
When Lench was moved to Drumheller, he met the woman who was to become his wife.
“She’s stuck with me through a lot of moves and after more than 30 years she’s still my rock … I couldn’t have done it without her.
“I really have seen almost all of this country, and it’s been a wonderful experience,” said Lench.
And it’s that wide range of experience with the RCMP that made Lench a perfect choice for his new duties in Central Saanich.
His past postings with the RCMP saw him gain experience in aboriginal policing, traffic control, forensic identification, operational communications, marine policing, crime prevention and a host of additional administrative and control functions.
Paul Hames, the Police Service’s outgoing Chief Constable is confident that Lench will be an enormous asset to the community.
“As he takes on this job, Derren will be inheriting a strong series of relationships … with the Police Board, council, his fellow constables … most importantly with the other citizens within the community.”
“We’ve developed a trusting and supportive community here, and Derrel Lench is just the man to continue to nurture and strengthen those ties.”
Forging relationships has, in fact, always been vitally important to Lench. He is the current President of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police, the Pacific Region chair of the National Joint Committee of Senior Justice Officials and is on the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Victims of Crime Committee.
“I actually know many of the other police officers and administrators working on the Peninsula very well, both within Central Saanich and in the surrounding communities,” said Lench. “So there is a real comfort level in coming into Central Saanich. I have the opportunity to use those existing relationships to help ensure that we’re always improving the way we do the job.”
But as much as his relationships with his fellow police officers, particularly the 23 sworn officers under his command, will be important, Lench said that he is most looking forward to getting out and getting to know the people in the community.
“I’m a great believer in rolling up your sleeves and getting out there to meet the people you serve,” said Lench. “The residents of the aboriginal communities (which, incidentally, are not policed by the Central Saanich Police Service but who may come into contact with the service on specific call out situations), Central Saanich residents, business owners and visitors to Central Saanich are all part of the fabric of our community. I’m determined to become a part of that fabric and help to make our Police Service the best little Department anywhere.”
Hames is confident that Lench will do exactly that.
“He has a strong belief in Community Policing, and that’s exactly what Central Saanich needs,” said Hames.
As for Hames, after 41 years as a police officer and 16-and-a-half years as Central Saanich’s Chief Constable, he is looking forward to retirement.
“I’ve led a very structured life to this point and I guess I’m most looking forward to not knowing what’s going to be next. That’s exciting … this is the next chapter in the book of my life and it’s a chapter I intend to write as I live it.”
Hames will be stepping down September 3 and will be handing over his responsibility as Chief Constable to the current Deputy Chief Constable, Les Sylven. Lench will be taking on the role as Deputy Chief at that time.
-— by Tim Collins/News contributor