On the Smile Patrol

Oak Bay PD’s newest constable is loving her new gig

Oak Bay's newest police constable

One of the brightest smiles in Oak Bay these days belongs to its newest police officer, and considering her previous career choice, that should come as no surprise.

Before becoming a cop, Const. Julie Chanin went to school to become a dental hygienist.

“It was working with people and health care, helping people, and I liked that aspect,” said the Cowichan Valley native.

“But I knew it wasn’t a job that I could see myself doing for 30 years, so after I graduated from dental hygiene school I applied for the RCMP.”

The interest in oral health is one explanation for that grin, but there’s a more relevant one: she loves her current job even more.

“There’s a good feeling in the building, and I’ve been very welcomed by the staff and my co-workers. The transition has been very smooth,” said Chanin, 39.

Making the move from the RCMP, with whom Chanin spent the past 11 years, to the Oak Bay department, was prompted by a few factors.

At the top of the list was a desire for a more geographically stable job within the law enforcement community.

“I have a four-year-old son, and my stepson did five different schools in five years,” Chanin said. “I’ve seen the impact of that, and my son, Sam, is starting school next year. It’s not like the RCMP was trying to move me or anything like that, but I really see the importance of stability and family and putting roots in your community, and this is exactly what that is.”

Chanin met her husband Russ, a Mountie himself, when she was in Port McNeill and he was stationed a ferry ride away in Alert Bay.

Shortly after the two married, Chanin transferred to the West Shore detachment, where she remained until learning that a position in Oak Bay was available. “Oak Bay is the best of all worlds,” she said. “It’s small-town policing, yet in a city, and there’s an excellent amount of resources.”

It also doesn’t hurt that she’s been reunited with Oak Bay Chief Constable Mark Fisher, her former boss.

“I was quite upset with Oak Bay at the notice that (he) was leaving the West Shore,” Chanin joked.

Fisher is extremely pleased to have Chanin on his team once again.

“She brought a great skill set to the table and her age was a factor as well,” he said. “The fact that she’s younger and she only has 11 years police service, she’s somebody we’ll see in Oak Bay for a long time to come.”

As for the notion that the department hired a woman to counter any negative publicity that came in the wake of complaints of gender discrimination made by another female member, Const. Jennifer Gibbs, Fisher said that simply isn’t the case.

“She was the best candidate by far, regardless of her sex, and she came with a whole bunch of training and experience which is very applicable to the type of work we do in Oak Bay,” he said.

Chanin says any past problems in the department had no influence on her decision to apply for the job.

“My understanding is that there were issues that did come to light and that they’ve been addressed, and change is in the air,” she said. “So that really had no bearing one way or the other.”

As for the job itself, Chanin’s philosophy on policing is simple.

“When it comes right down to it, it’s about problem solving, and doing whatever you can to make people feel safe in their community,” she said.

“And I’m pleased to say that Oak Bay is very friendly, very happy, and I’m very fortunate to be here.”

Which makes it pretty easy to understand why she seems to always be flashing those pearly whites.

“I’m smiling every day on my way to work, and I’m smiling on my way home.”

editor@oakbaynews.com

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

Just Posted

Saanich looks at allowing alcohol in parks after North Vancouver gives the green light

Bylaw allowing liquor in parks ‘a very positive idea,’ mayor says

Pandemic profiles: Passion at the heart of community businesses

Businesses rely on community support to stay open

Organizer, Victoria councillor, VicPD talk about upcoming rally for Black lives

‘It’s a simple ask’: Peace rally for Black lives organizer asks people to listen

George Floyd mural appears on Victoria street

Victoria artist Paul Archer painted the mural outside his shop on Fort Street

PHOTOS: Dozens show up to rebuild vandalized Victoria people-less protest

Chalk messages of support surround the fountain in Centennial Square

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read