Const. Kirstin Stuart is the newest Oak Bay Police officer, having started in January. Stuart comes from 12 years with the York Regional Police. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

From the streets of York to Oak Bay, new police officer excited to be back on Island

Skills working in the community made newest officer an attractive hire for Oak Bay police

Since she was a kid, Kirstin Stuart’s aunt said she should work for the Oak Bay Police Department.

In the first week of January, Stuart was officially sworn in as Oak Bay police’s newest hire. It’s made for one happy aunt, said Stuart, who moved here after nine years policing with York Regional Police in the suburbs of Toronto.

“My aunt always said great things about Oak Bay police, even before I ever thought about being a police officer,” Stuart said.

As a youth, Stuart’s family left Sooke for Newmarket, one of the nine municipalities that make up the Regional Municipality of York. She finished high school and graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa and started as a civilian with York Regional Police in 2008.

READ MORE: Oak Bay Police welcome former Langford firefighter as newest officer

For three years Stuart worked in administration and as a coordinator of community events designed to build relationships between police and the diverse York population.

“It’s one of the most diverse populations in Canada,” Stuart said. “[As a civilian] we introduced policing to communities that included a lot of new Canadians, people who didn’t speak English and didn’t understand [the police’s role].”

Then in 2011, Stuart was hired as an officer.

It meant responding to the types of crimes that put York Regional Police in the lens of the national media, such as shootings and stabbings, but also dealing with tight-knit communities.

“There are small communities in York that are intense,” Stuart said. “Police aren’t always popular there. It’s why we were trying to engage in different ways. It’s fast-paced in York, you respond to a lot of calls of a wide variety, but also, the community is very tight, just like Oak Bay.”

Eventually, Stuart was partnered with a social worker on a mental health team that brought resources to vulnerable members of the community.

READ MORE: VicPD issues nearly $17,000 worth of distracted driving tickets in five hours

By that time her parents had left Newmarket and were back on Vancouver Island, this time in Nanaimo. She felt the call of the Island and finally last year started looking at options. It was the summer and Oak Bay police was running a hiring campaign.

Her skills working in the community made Stuart an attractive hire for the Oak Bay department, said Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties.

“She is passionate about community policing which made her a great fit for us and she has hit the ground running here in Oak Bay,” Bernoties said.

Stuart joins Const. Jen Berkley as two of four new officers that Oak Bay Police Department is hiring, with two more expected to be announced soon, said Bernoties.

“I look forward to the opportunity to make connections, to sit with people and hear their issues, and later to take time to follow up,” Stuart said. “I’d like it to come full circle and be able to help solve problems.”

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan (left) and Kierry Bui. The family says they are relieved the trial process has come to close Monday morning with Tenessa Nikirk found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sentencing begins for Peninsula woman convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Victoria police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Victoria police are looking for high-risk offender Douglas McPherson. (Courtesy of VicPD)
High-risk parolee with history of bank robbery believed to be in Victoria

Police ask for public’s help locating 64-year-old parolee

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest suspect in Saanich liquor store break and enters

Windowpane removal key component in string of thefts

Nicole Abbott and her 10-month-old daughter, Ophelia, shown here at the Metchosin Fire Hall for the Halloween events last year. Residents are invited to a drive-through version this year. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore fire halls take pandemic-safe approach to Halloween

One spooky lane among three drive-thru features by firefighters

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

A view from the deck of a home in SookePoint. The property is a prize in the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery. Tickets are on sale now. (Contributed photo)
Millionaire Lottery home up for grabs in Sooke

Sooke prize home part of latest VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at Vancouver Island location

HMCS Quadra is serving as the winter training base for the Canadian… Continue reading

Most Read