Andy Brinton takes over as Oak Bay's new chief constable April 22.

No more just ‘catching bad guys’

New chief’s focus is on crime prevention

Andy Brinton was drawn to public service at an early age.

He grew up in New Brunswick and joined the RCMP when he was 19. His first posting brought him across Canada to Gibsons, B.C.

“I lucked out with that,” Brinton says. “I have been on the coast for most of my career.”

Brinton has been with the RCMP for 32 years. He worked in Prince Rupert at the West Coast Marine detachment, he was a watch commander in Parksville, detachment commander in Boston Bar, did plain clothes duties in Burnaby and he also served in Whistler and Powell River twice. He has been the Powell River RCMP detachment commander for the last five years.

“Throughout my career, I have done lots of different functions, from working in an isolated community to being in a large community like Burnaby,” Brinton says, adding he has enjoyed the diversity that comes with being a police officer.

“There’s something new every day. You never know what call you’re going to do next.”

After three decades of “catching bad guys,” he has found an appreciation in developing and fostering positive relationships with his officers and the community. He prefers the community policing approach to crime prevention and punishment, which he described as more than regular policing.

“It’s about looking at the whole package to come to a conclusion,” Brinton says, citing connecting people with substance abuse or other issues to agencies that can help them as an example. “It’s pretty rewarding as opposed to just response-type policing, which you see in larger centres.”

It is that community focus that got him hired as Oak Bay’s new chief constable, says mayor and police board chair Nils Jensen.

“He comes with the kind of experience we are looking for and a commitment to community policing which is the mainstay to Oak Bay,” Jensen says. “We have a ‘no call is too small’ approach which is what our community wants.”

Brinton says he and his wife have always wanted to live in the Victoria area and when the Oak Bay posting came, he jumped on it.

“Mark Fisher (current Oak Bay chief constable) was in the RCMP and I worked with him when he was in Courtenay,” Brinton says. “So when I saw this opportunity, I didn’t hesitate in picking up the phone to get more information (from him).”

Brinton and his wife have two grown sons. The oldest who is 20, is studying in Toronto. His youngest, 18, is a student at UVic.

Brinton starts in his new role April 22.

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