Her swearing in with the Oak Bay Police on Monday marked a return to Vancouver Island for Const. Jenn Berkley.
The newest member of the 23-officer squad will start with general duties.
Originally from Nanaimo, Berkley spent the last year with the RCMP. The first half was with the academy training in Regina, the last half a placement in Mission.
We're thrilled to swear in our newest member today. Cst Jenn Berkley has an extensive background in seniors care, working w/ youth & recreation as well as being a volunteer firefighter. Thanks to our Police Board including Mayor @MurdochOakBay for attending the ceremony. pic.twitter.com/c2YYcmFAl0— Oak Bay Police (@OakBayPolice) December 2, 2019
When the opportunity to join Oak Bay came up, the long-time Langford volunteer firefighter took a chance.
“The goal was to get back to the Island, to work in a smaller detachment and to focus on pro-active policing and community involvement,” Berkley said.
As one of the RCMP’s smaller Lower Mainland detachments, Mission had “everything going on,” she added, knowing it is a quieter, slower pace in Oak Bay.
During more than five years as a Langford firefighter Berkley worked with seniors in recreation and activities, and in health care.
She’s also familiar with Oak Bay as her grandparents lived here.
“It’s a positive move for myself, to be closer to my family,” Berkley said. “And I do appreciate the ability to be proactive as opposed to working call-to-call.”
That five years of firefighting gives Berkley a lot of practical experience as a first responder, giving her a total package that the Oak Bay Police Department liked, said Chief Andy Brinton.
“When we go through our hiring process we look for fit,” Brinton said.
“It’s about how they’ll fit within our organization. This member has experience outside of policing in working with youth and significant experience with seniors, and senior care, so we feel that will make her a really good fit with Oak Bay community style.”
Brinton calls the Oak Bay style of policing a “full-circle” compared to the calls that officers respond to in cities with higher volumes of calls.
“[There] officers attend and move on, [but] here, we tend to problem solve and find a solution, and we’re pretty fortunate here with the hires we’ve had this far,” Brinton said.
Berkley is the first of four new officers Brinton expects to have in place by the end of February.
he said. They’ll replace a number of retirees.
“We’re still actively seeking people who are interested as we generally hire experienced officers,” Brinton said. “We like that they are a known commodity so we can assess how they’ll fit into our department.”