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Oak Bay’s newest officers won’t share a shift

Department sticks to standard practice of spliting up married couples

Oak Bay’s newest officers came as a couple and join a former coworker on the police department.

Const. Cheryl Goard and Const. Adam Goard previously worked alongside Oak Bay Const. Kristin Stuart at the York Regional Police.

As they did in York, the officers do not work the same shift. In Ontario, the matching name bars came up on occasion where shifts overlapped at a scene. People would ask if they were siblings, Adam said with a laugh. They would imply that was the case and leave it at that.

The Goards and Stuart kept in touch and the couple came to visit the south Island in fall 2021.

The Island offerings of nature, hiking, hunting (for Adam), and backcountry camping suit them to a tee – and they knew it was in their future. “This is our vibe,” Cheryl said.

The only question was whether it was a retirement goal, or something more immediate.

Then multiple openings came up in the Oak Bay department.

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The desire the couple developed during the Island visit was apparent during the interview process, said Chief Mark Fisher. It impressed him they had a look first. “They developed a real sense of what they were applying to,” he said.

Each officer brings a set of skills as well. In his 17 years as a cop, Adam has worked patrol, public order, emergency response team, street crime and was a use of force trainer at the time of his departure from the Ontario department. Cheryl was working as education training officer, in her nine years as an officer, she has served patrol, as a coach officer, mental health support officer, acting supervisor and did some time with the criminal investigation bureau.

The broad training background is crucial for smaller departments, Fisher said. “It enhances the overall experience we can bring into the community.”

Decision made, interviews complete, the couple embarked on a cross-Canada trip fraught with personal challenges – the largest being the death of Cheryl’s father as well as a need to unexpectedly replace their truck (full of belongings) in Alberta.

The response from the Oak Bay Police Department was supportive, confirming they’d made the right decision.

Now settled in, with more than a week under their belts, the community also confirms the decision.

“You have the time for grassroots style, community policing,” Adam said. It’s how Oak Bay describes its approach, and it’s something less available in a busy place like York, with its 2,000 members.

The pair started patrolling the community mid-August. Four shifts in, both were impressed with the gratitude, beauty and camaraderie and kindness of the community and the department.

Leaving behind good jobs and family for the other side of the country was a great risk, but with great risk comes great reward, Cheryl noted. The reward for them, she said, is immediate.

“I have never received as much gratitude in seven-plus years in York as in four shifts here.”