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Oak Bay chief creates a new work cycle

Mark Fisher is getting adjusted to life around his home neighbourhood of Oak Bay
Mark Fisher

His pants may not have arrived just yet, but Oak Bay’s new chief of police hasn’t let that stop him from getting down to work.

Mark Fisher assumed the top job last month. Despite the fact he doesn’t have his whole uniform yet – he’s been wearing his bike shorts to work – he’s had a chance to try the new job on for size, and it’s looking like a great fit.

“One of the things that attracted me to policing in Oak Bay is we do have the (ability) to take that extra bit of time with people when we attend calls,” he said. “We probably go on a lot more calls that police in other jurisdictions don’t have time to.”

Fisher, who has lived in Oak Bay for the past four years while serving as the officer in charge of the RCMP’s West Shore detachment, is enjoying working in a small community once again. His family visits him at work from time to time, which he says is similar to his stints at small RCMP detachments in Bella Coola and Creston.

More importantly, he’s able to keep tabs on more of the department than was ever possible in his last job.

“I have the ability, essentially, to know about every file of our involvement, big or small,” he said. “In a place like West Shore … it’s not feasible.”

Don’t mistake that for micro-managing, however. Fisher is quick to credit his officers and staff with enabling him to make a smooth transition.

“My Blackberry’s not going off 40 times a day,” he said. “You’re still being relied upon to give advice on certain matters, but you’ve got (veteran officers) and supervisors here that are able to draw on their experiences.”

Even though he’s the chief, Fisher finds he’s still able to help out with hands-on police work.

During a recent spate of break-ins in the Uplands, he took some time to head out on his bike on an evening patrol.

In fact, bikes are a big area of focus for Fisher. He’s well aware that the Oak Bay PD has three new bikes just waiting to be ridden, and he intends to put his skills as a trainer for police mountain bike courses to work.

“I’d like to see an increased (police) presence on bikes in the community,” he said.

“I think it’s a fantastic community to do bicycle patrols in and it increases our level of engagement with the public.”

Increased bike patrols are one of Fisher’s key priorities as he continues to put his stamp on the department.

He also wants to have more in-service training for his staff, and with the retirement of a few officers potentially looming, he acknowledged the need for a solid recruiting plan.

In the meantime, he continues to get comfortable – even if it means wearing those shorts for a few more days.