Chief Andy Brinton of the Oak Bay Police welcomes Const. Deane Johnston to the force with an April 1 swear-in. Johnston grew up in Saanich and worked in Oak Bay for a decade before taking up policing in Calgary. (@oakbaypolice Twitter)

Oak Bay’s newest officer a familiar face around town

Ex-Calgary cop now patrolling Tweed City

A late start to Const. Deane Johnston’s policing career is part of why he’s the right fit to become one of Oak Bay Police’s newest officers.

Johnston, 44, was sworn in on April 1. He grew up in Gordon Head, graduated from Lambrick Park secondary, attended Oak Bay United and even got married there. A career in the hospitality industry brought him to the Victoria Golf Club where he worked 10 years when, at the age of 40 and with two young children, he applied and was accepted to enter officer training with the Calgary Police.

“It was a good experience in Calgary, you’re exposed to a great number of calls in a short amount of time,” Johnston said. “It’s quite the opposite to here.

“Calgary was computer-driven, where you’re spending your day [on patrol] going call-to-call. There’s never time to work on building relationships with community members, whereas here you go out and engage with the residents.”

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

From 10 years at the Victoria Golf Club, Johnston got to know the residents here fairly well, he said. Johnston and his wife also ran their own business, which gave them added insight into the community as entrepreneurs.

“This is my top place to work at, I’m absolutely ecstatic to be here,” Johnston said.

It was his young family that caused Johnston to re-evaluate his career and look into policing, an option that had lingered in his mind previously. But it took a serious commitment, more than they anticipated. When Calgary Police accepted him, Johnston and his wife uprooted their family, which included her mom, and their two kids, now aged six and seven, to Calgary.

Halfway through the training, which can be physically gruelling, Johnston suffered an injury that set him back six months.

“Unfortunately I got injured but they kept me along,” Johnston said. “I started over from square one.”

With almost four years of experience in big-city policing, but a desire for grassroots policing and a return to Greater Victoria, Johnston was a good fit, said Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties. Especially since he already worked in the area, and had a feel for the way of life and policing here.

READ ALSO: Video: Homemade pedestrian scramble crosswalk removed by Saanich Police

“He is very familiar with Oak Bay and our style of policing, which focuses more on addressing issues holistically and being a trusted and approachable [officer],” Bernoties said. “Johnston is a mature, compassionate member who is doing a fantastic job already in Oak Bay.”

While the style of policing and the calls for service here differ from bigger cities, there was nothing normal about Johnston’s swearing-in. It was April 1, and it was under the cloud of COVID-19.

“Between me and the other new guy [Const. Derek Brand], it was the first time getting hired in a social distance environment so there was not a lot of pomp and circumstance,” Johnston said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusOak Bay Police Department

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

Just Posted

CRD explores option to use Oak Bay Lodge for people who are homeless

Motion asks staff to work with BC Housing, Island Health on possibilities

Public tips lead to arrest in alleged random assault on Victoria bus

June 19 incident was recorded by onboard camera

Woman who talked to unconscious husband, a Victoria police officer, for 30 years focus of study

Ian Jordan suffered a head injury when he and another officer were on their way to a call in Victoria in September 1987

B.C. residents can go to the Royal BC Museum for half price all summer

Museum reopening in phases, COVID-19 measures in place

Sidney asking tourists to respect health guidelines

Messaging says Sidney is ‘excited to welcome smart, safe, and respectful visits’

VIDEO: Victoria’s Raging Grannies call for end to public funding of for-profit senior homes

Organizer says COVID-19 has made senior home issues more apparent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Most Read