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Police officer called to serve

New Central Saanich deputy chief likes community focus of police force
New Deputy Chief Les Sylven wears his new uniform after being sworn in as second-in-charge with Central Saanich Police Service.

Service. It’s more than just a word for police officer Les Sylven.

Aside from being connected to a vertical career move, the term service — as in Central Saanich Police Service —was among the reasons Sylven accepted his newest position.

“That’s why I decided to become a cop 23 years ago. To serve,” he said.

Supreme Court Justice Keith Bracken swore Sylven in Nov. 7 as the fourth deputy police chief in the department’s 60-year history.

“I know there were a lot of excellent candidates interested in the position, both inside and outside the (department), so I am tremendously grateful for receiving this offer,” he said. “Central Saanich is a great community and the Central Saanich Police Service has a strong community policing focus that really appeals to me.”

Two things struck Sylven in his first few days on the job.

“Firstly, the depth of experience that they possess, and their level of commitment to the community. I’m really excited to now be part of it,” he said.

Sylven has served in Squamish, Esquimalt and the City of Victoria. He was senior media spokesperson for the Victoria Police Department and has specialized in major crime investigations and ‘use of force’ training. He recently completed his masters degree in leadership and training at Royal Roads University.

“The opportunity to apply that newfound knowledge was a motivating factor,” he said.

Sylven’s diverse background, including several years with the RCMP and most recently as an inspector heading up VicPD’s human resources division, will be of benefit to the department, said Chief Paul Hames.

“With his extensive policing experience (and) his recent academic achievement, I look forward to our partnership in the future of the Central Saanich Police Service,” he said.