Ucluelet’s long wait for a police chief is over and another young family has been added to the town’s growing roster of year-round locals.
The local RCMP detachment has been without a commander since Sgt. George Jenkins left the position in February, 2016, due to injuries he sustained in an altercation with a local youth.
The top cop seat sat vacant for over a year, but was finally filled when Sgt. Steve Mancini arrived with his wife and two small children and hit his new Ucluelet beat for the first time on May 4.
“Myself and my family are very excited to be here,” Mancini told the Westerly News. “What’s not to be excited about? This place is absolutely amazing. The community has a great vibe. The people I’ve met so far are all fantastic, very friendly and very welcoming. It’s like no place else I’ve ever been…It’s a beautiful place and an amazing little town and we’re super excited to be here.”
Mancini arrived from Barrier, B.C., where he had served as the detachment commander since 2015.
He said the Ucluelet detachment offered an impressive first impression and he was thrilled to see the community dedication displayed by local police.
“They’re really community minded,” he said. “They want to be here and they enjoy being here and the detachment is great…It’s a great set up and I’m just hoping to be able to slide in and keep it moving forward.”
The 35 year-old sergeant was born and raised in Manitoba and followed in the footsteps of his father, who celebrated a 35-year policing career, to join the RCMP himself roughly 15 years ago.
“I was always fascinated with law and it was always something I wanted to do,” he said.
“I’ve really liked it. Obviously with any job there’s good days and bad but I’ve got to experience a lot of things and meet a lot of great people…The opportunity that it’s presented me to be able to travel around the country and experience and see new things and meet new people has been phenomenal.”
He said he came to Ucluelet without any preconceived ideas about where to steer its policing efforts and plans to keep his ear to the ground while he transitions into his new position.
“I’m going to meet with as many people in town as I can to find out what the issues are and what the concerns are amongst the community and definitely work to address them,” he said.
“I want to lend my skillset, however I can, to do what we can to solve any issues that the community may have and to work together as a whole to come to a positive resolution and see that everybody here is enjoying it and that it’s the best community we can make it, together.”
He added he and his family “100 per cent” plan to be active in the community.
“We intend on being as involved as we possibly can,” he said. “One of our draws to Ucluelet, when we were researching places we wanted to go, is this town has so much going on for extracurricular activities, especially for young families…It’s all stuff we want to be a part of.”
He said he hasn’t been on a surfboard yet, but plans to get into the sport in short order.
“It’s something I’m going to do probably when nobody’s around because it’s going to be an ugly scene, but I’m definitely excited to try it,” he said. “The kids are excited to get out and give it a shot too, so we’re looking forward to doing that and seeing what it’s all about.”
He’s also excited to explore the community’s trails and beaches.
“We’ve been out as much as we can already and can’t wait to get out on the kayaks and go experience whatever we can,” he said. “Whether it be a quick walk down the beach with the kids to flip rocks and see what they see, or walk the trails; it’s an absolute beauty.”