Sergeant Gerald Walker took command of the Prince Rupert RCMP detachment in mid-May as the new Office in Charge. He said he is looking forward to learning the nuances of the port city. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

New Prince Rupert OIC says policing is about helping people

The new detachment commander has family roots in the area

Residents of Prince Rupert can feel a little safer with a new permanent Officer in Charge (OIC) at the Prince Rupert RCMP detachment.

Sergeant Gerald Walker is a seasoned officer with more than 21 years of experience under his belt and is filling the permanent position after two years of various temporary leadership at the detachment. Having arrived in the city just three weeks ago from his previous post in Lake Louise, Alberta, he worked in Yukon, Nunavut and across the county.

“Sgt. Walker brings a lot of experience with him in general duty functions, general investigation sections, major crime units, indigenous policing services and detachment management,” Const. Gabriel Gravel, media relations officer, said in a statement announcing the leadership.

Northern B.C., especially Prince Rupert, is a familiar landscape to the new OIC whose roots stem from the area with his mom, born and raised in the port city. His wife’s dad used to own property in Port Edward.

“After visiting family here while growing up, Prince Rupert has always been a place we wanted to call home. My family and I are excited to experience the community and opportunities it presents,” Walker said.

During his early career, when posted in Prince George, Walker told The Northern View he and his dad would come fishing each year to visit family in Prince Rupert. He recalled a humorous anecdote that on every trip, for years, the weather would be bright and sunny with not a wave on the ocean. The sunshine-warmed climate convinced his dad so much that he wanted to move to the city. Walker’s mom kept telling them “It is not like that,” but his dad was convinced enough he promised his son if he ever reached Prince Rupert, he would buy him a boat.

Sadly, Walker’s dad passed away four years ago and didn’t get to see his son move to Prince Rupert.

“So when I called my mom and said we were coming here, she’s like, really? And I said, to be fair, Dad said that if we moved here he’d buy the boat. So, I’m just throwing it out there, Mom,” he said. He hasn’t bought that boat yet — neither has his mom.

The new detachment manager moved to town with his wife, Corporal Angela Spicer, who also works at the detachment and their 11-year-old twin daughters.

“I look forward to meeting with our partners and stakeholders and working with my colleagues to provide the service this city deserves,” Walker said.

The new OIC said he loves policing and the work involved because there is something different every day. It’s about helping people and going above and beyond what is expected, whether it be giving a hug on the roadside to a grieving parent who has lost a child, or returning a stolen sentimental ring to a widow across the country. Walker’s done it all.

However, he said there are nuances to be learned in a new position and challenges to the job. He said his difficulty is paperwork, adding on a more serious note that those challenges may seem different to other people who are not in the profession.

“The job is for helping people. You are there for people. What becomes regular for us as police can be [someone’s] worst times,” he said, giving the example of someone’s house being broken into or, more tragically, a death occurs.

“That’s their worst day, whereas we see it routinely,” he said. “I tell my guys when helping families, we can’t change what’s happened, but we may be able to make it [whatever it was] a better experience for them.”

In one of his last positions, the frame around the office welcome window was adorned with thank-you cards from citizens the officers in the detachment had assisted in many different ways.

“The cards would say, sorry I had meet you this way, but you made our day better,” the detachment commander said.

“The Prince Rupert RCMP is happy to welcome Sgt. Walker and his family to the team and the community. Please join us in making them feel welcome,” Gravel said.

K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist 
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