The Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board got it right.
While to many onlookers this week’s official naming of acting Chief Constable Del Manak to the top job in the Victoria Police Department was a logical conclusion for VicPD after the Frank Elsner scenario, the board still had to decide who was the best person to replace the embattled former chief.
Manak is a hometown guy who knows the neighbourhoods of Victoria and the urban challenges it faces as well as anyone. Having spent more than 24 years with the department, he’s paid his dues and come up through the ranks by providing exemplary service and commitment to the job, whatever duties he might have had at any given time.
An old photo in the Victoria News files showed a smiling, slightly trimmer Manak as one of the initial members of the newly formed Integrated Road Safety Unit. On Tuesday he was still smiling, surrounded by family and many of the fellow officers who have served in the trenches with him along the way.
His connection to people in the community and on the job will serve the department well.
While in some cases there might be a risk of perpetuating a certain work culture or office environment by promoting from within, we sense no evidence of that being the case here. Bringing along a veteran officer to the point whereby he or she can ascend to the top job demonstrates to other officers the belief that they can reach the upper ranks by working hard and staying committed to the ideals of policing.
Victoria/Esquimalt’s two previous chiefs, both hired from out-of-town departments, had their strengths, but ultimately stayed in the job for a relatively short time.
We imagine Manak, 52, will stick around for a while. And the community will no doubt be better for that.