Saanich names new police chief

Deputy Chief Const. Bob Downie will take over the Saanich Police Department in February 2014

Deputy Chief Const. Bob Downie with the Saanich police was named Friday the new chief of the department.

Deputy Chief Const. Bob Downie was today named the new chief of the Saanich Police Department.

Downie, 53, began his career with Saanich in 1982.

“What drew me to it? At the time it was really about making a difference in the community. I thought this was going to be a fun and exciting job, a career that will get you through your entire working life,” he said. “This is a job where you do make a difference and you do get to help the community you serve.”

Downie rose through the ranks, operationally and administratively, working as a lead investigator on the high-profile 1997 Reena Virk murder investigation, as well as helping create the first Professional Standards Office within the department.

He was promoted to deputy chief in August 2009.

“(Downie has) really made a commitment over the years to prepare himself for this position, in terms of education opportunities he’s pursued,” said Mayor Frank Leonard, chair of the Saanich police board. “He’s got well-rounded experience, be it in administration or the operational sides of policing. We’re very pleased to have somebody like that within our ranks and look forward to him taking the position.”

In his 31-year career with Saanich, Downie has received the Police Exemplary Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada, the Police Honours Medal for Meritorious Service, and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.

“It sounds trite at the end of the day, but it’s all about making the difference. I eat and breathe this stuff,” Downie said.

Leonard says the department purposefully implements a succession plan for being able to promote from within, though the police board did consider external competition, as well.

“We have a culture of growing our own. We do management coaching so that we want to encourage people throughout the ranks to prepare for senior management positions,” Leonard said. “We did scan the external market in terms of if we were to post externally what is in the marketplace, and we  found that we really have such a strong pool of talent within the organization that we view to be our best option.”

Downie says he’s already seeing future leaders of the department still very young in their policing careers.

“I can look down and see constables who can be chief one day – these folks are committed to serving, I see that in the work they do,” he said.

A search will begin next month to fill Downie’s current position as deputy.

Downie will take over from outgoing Chief Const. Mike Chadwick on Feb. 1, 2014. Chadwick has been chief since August 2009.

“Mike’s been a great chief. People have asked, ‘What are you going to change?’ We don’t have to change anything. Mike’s been able to lead a wonderful team. The vision we’re following is a united vision, and we’re going to carry on down that path,” Downie said.

Downie is a longtime Saanich resident. He is married and has two teenage sons.

kslavin@saanichnews.com

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

Just Posted

Island riders conquering new heights

With no races, cyclists tackle Everest challenge to lift community

Saanich police search for suspect accused of using stolen credit, debit cards

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers says suspect made numerous fraudulent purchases

Homeless woman sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling drugs to Victoria police officer

Officer paid $20 for a substance consisting of heroin, fentanyl and caffeine

Family restaurant to hold Saturday fundraiser for Beirut blast

Wrap and Roll will donate all sales to victims of blast

Police looking for witnesses of alleged assault in Burnside Gorge’s Cecila Ravine

Concerned woman pushed to the ground, had phone broken while taking a photo of a dog

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

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

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

Most Read