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 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

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Most Read