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New cop joins local Oak Bay police ranks

Const. Manny Montero joined Oak Bay Police Department on Sept. 1.

The Oak Bay Police Department has a new face policing the local community.

Const. Manny Montero, a former officer of the London Police Service in London, Ont., started with the Oak Bay Police Department on Sept. 1.

Since moving here, the policing experience in Oak Bay is what Montero calls “a breath of fresh air” from what he dealt with back in Ontario.

“It’s unbelievable how business is conducted out there and how it is here… there it’s just reactive policing, call to call, to call, here it’s more proactive community-based policing,” said Montero, who spent 20 years with the London Police Service, the last few as a sergeant and supervisor. “It’s nice because with reactive policing, you only get to know the people who are your repeat customers. Whereas with proactive policing, you get to meet the people from a different perspective.”

The real sense of community here attracted Montero to this post, something that goes back to his main reason for becoming a police officer.

“One reason I got into policing is because you truly feel you can make a difference by being involved. It gets to a point where it’s this us versus them mentality, but I don’t see that here,” he said, adding he was impressed from the start with the level of volunteering spirit in the community and how involved people really are.

And, like any kind of policing, the community’s connection to the police force meant to protect it is vital.

“That whole feeling of wanting to make a difference is quite apparent here… like when you’re invited to a block party, that’s unheard of back where I came from,” Montero said. “It’s quite refreshing that we can be part of it without having to be an outsider.”

Being involved is something that runs deep for Montero. Before becoming an officer he was in the military, then went back to school and spent two years as an auxiliary constable and was hired with London Police. Along the way, he did general patrol, was involved with the guns and drugs division for four years, served as an informant, did case management, and worked with traffic management and major crime units.

Having only started here, he finds himself falling into old habits.

“I find myself typing up a report trying to clear it as soon as possible to get onto the next one, then realize that the next one may not come until the next shift,” he chuckled. “It’s quite different than how I’m used to conducting business.”

The welcoming feel from residents and positive involvement is something Montero takes to heart; so far that he hopes one day to retire in Oak Bay.

“It’s been very nice to see whether you live in the south or north end of the community, this is ours and we’re going to protect it, because it’s such a great place to live,” he said.

When he’s not doing police stuff, Montero plays soccer (he’s been playing since age four) and is dad to his four daughters.

“Whatever their hobbies are, they’re mine too,” Montero laughed, though added he also collects military antiques every now and then.

He’s taking it step by step though. At this point, Montero says his focus is to catch up with everything.

“I just want to get to a place where I feel I’m contributing, whether it’s in this building, or within the community.”