Sgt. Jeff Swann is fighting for his right to stay in Ucluelet and Uclueletâ€™s business community has joined him in the ring.
Swann is facing a forced transfer in July due to the RCMPâ€™s limited duration posting policy.
The executive director of Uclueletâ€™s chamber of commerce Sally Mole noted Swann has overseen a roughly 70 per cent reduction in crime since arriving in Ucluelet in 2009 and said the local business community has a keen interest in keeping the good times rolling.
â€œTheyâ€™ve seen the crime reduction in town, which directly affects their business,â€ Mole said.
â€œPart of the chamberâ€™s role is to advocate for things that are good for business and obviously the crime stats are huge; dramatic changes have been made and itâ€™s appreciated by the businesses.â€
She said Swannâ€™s policing efforts have helped make Ucluelet a more attractive destination for incoming businesses and residents
â€œAs someone whoâ€™s moved to the community, that was huge for me: the safety and the comfortableness of the community,â€ she said.
â€œThis community really did change, so that makes it more appealing for people to move here which impacts business…vandalism was a big concern for people, especially on Peninsula Rd.â€”it was in the newspaper fairly regularlyâ€”(and) thatâ€™s pretty much disappeared.â€
She added Swann and his team have consistently supported community events like the Edge-to-Edge Marathon and Ukee Days and that this support is not as common in other communities.
â€œWeâ€™ve had such great involvement by our local RCMP through Sgt. Swannâ€™s leadership and that doesnâ€™t always happen,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s been my experience that itâ€™s not always forthcoming, whether itâ€™s ability or willingness, but weâ€™ve been really well supported by the local RCMP.â€
A quick Westerly walkabout through Ucluelet businesses backed up Moleâ€™s claims.
â€œI support Sgt. Swann. Heâ€™s a definite asset to our town, he has kept it safe over the time heâ€™s been here and it would be very sad to see him go,â€ said Billy Payne of Murrayâ€™s Grocery.
â€œSgt. Swann has done great things around the community. Heâ€™s very involved in the community and if he wants to stay why not just let him stay,â€ asked Carla Anderson of Ocean Pet Supplies.
Anderson said Swannâ€™s RCMP have a valued presence in the community and are routinely seen out and about speaking with locals and visitors.
â€œItâ€™s a valuable asset for our community to have RCMP members who are invested in us,â€ she said.
â€œIt means theyâ€™re going to take things more seriously and theyâ€™re going to deal with things on a personal level because they live here, they love it here, and they want to make here a better place.â€
Kerry Roper of the Ucluelet Liquor Store said the confidence she has in her local police allows her to feel comfortable both at work and as a mother.
â€œI feel supported by them,â€ she said. â€œItâ€™s safer in town and my kid can wander around and not be scared.â€
Mole submitted a letter on behalf of the chamber last week asking the RCMP to reconsider its plan to force Swann out of Ucluelet and she is encouraging locals to write in as well.
Letters can be submitted to Mole at Uclueletâ€™s chamber officeâ€”1604 Peninsula Roadâ€”where they will be forwarded to the relevant bodies.
Anyone looking to join the fight to save Swann can contact Mole at the chamber office: 250-726-4641.