Mayor Mayco Noel, right, presented Sgt. Steve Mancini with a gift to honour his time as Ucluelet’s RCMP detachment commander on March 18. (Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel Facebook photo)

Mayor Mayco Noel, right, presented Sgt. Steve Mancini with a gift to honour his time as Ucluelet’s RCMP detachment commander on March 18. (Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel Facebook photo)

Ucluelet’s outgoing top cop grateful for town’s embrace

Popular Mancini family heading to Enderby.

Ucluelet’s popular Mancini family is leaving town as the community’s top cop position undergoes a changing of the guard.

Sgt. Steve Mancini’s four-year term at the limited duration Ucluelet RCMP detachment has come to an end and he’s headed to Enderby with his wife Stacey and their two children Avery, 10, and Parker, 7.

“He brought a level of professionalism in and out of uniform, which is truly appreciated,” Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel said of Mancini. “He became a valued community member with two children in the school system and he got to enjoy what living in Ucluelet is like.”

Mancini arrived in Ucluelet from Barrier B.C. in 2017 and told the Westerly News that he immediately fell in love with the area, noting he and his family visited the community for the first time when he arrived to interview for the detachment commander position.

“Ucluelet was great. We immediately fell in love with the feel. Everything about it just seemed like a great place to be. Being born and raised in Manitoba and coming out here, it was such a different lifestyle and different scenery than we’d ever imagined or really even knew Canada had to offer,” he said. “When I ended up getting the job out here, we were very excited.”

READ MORE: Ucluelet welcomes new top cop

He added that he was heartened to see his family immediately welcomed into the community’s embrace.

“Probably the greatest thing with Ucluelet was just how welcoming everybody was in the town, especially for the family. The kids immediately were welcomed into the school; we came during the middle of the school year and they were just accepted right in. It was great. It really made them feel like this place was home,” he said, adding the town’s scenery and embrace lasted the duration of his posting.

“Policing is policing and you get the good and the bad that comes with that, but overall it was a great experience here. We really enjoyed our time and enjoyed the community and tried to take advantage of where we were and take in all that this place has to offer.”

He said his “fondest memories” came from his efforts to continue the detachment’s legacy of community policing through stalwart participation in community events and fundraisers.

“It was built up so great before I got here and it was something you could just see when you went out to events, how receptive the community was,” he said. “The relationships that were already in place I felt was something that was very valuable and it was just that much easier to maintain them and show yourself in a positive light. Especially in today’s day in age, it’s pretty easy for police to be seen in a negative spotlight, so for people to be able to see us out there and wanting to be a part and just be your normal everyday person with them, I felt that was important to keep going and we tried our best to do that.”

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He added that he will miss his Ucluelet colleagues.

“I’ve been fortunate the entire time I’ve been here to work with great people, dedicated people, people that care and really want to be a part of the community and do what they can to help the people that they come across in their job,” he said. “It’s been really great. They’ve been supportive of me and very helpful with me and put up with me as well, so I’m definitely going to miss them.”

The Mancini’s are leaving Ucluelet this week on their way to Sgt. Mancini’s new posting in Enderby where he will serve as the rural commander for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP detachment, a sizeably larger role than that of Ucluelet’s police chief.

“It’s definitely going to be a bigger role for me,” he said. “I’m excited for the challenge…It’s a totally different area. It’s going to be different challenges that we face over there than we would here, but I think it’s going to be good and I’m looking forward to it.”

He said his new position does not carry a limited duration tag and he hopes to be able to settle in for the long-term.

“I’m looking forward to getting to a place where we can settle down and hopefully let the kids have some longevity. We felt that, at this age, it was important for them to get into somewhere where we’re not having to move them again in four years, so we’re excited for that,” he said.

Uclulet has previously butted heads with the RCMP over the local detachment’s limited duration label, which forces officers to leave the detachment once their term is complete.

READ MORE: Ucluelet’s top cop transferred to Port Alberni?

Mancini’s replacement is expected to arrive in Ucluelet in the coming weeks and mayor Noel said the community was not consulted on the hiring process.

“That’s an in-house decision. They like to give the appearance that there is community dialogue but, at the end of the day, the RCMP have their mandate they need to follow,” he said. “We weren’t a stakeholder at the table about who’s coming here; we weren’t asked.”

He added town council’s efforts to remove the limited duration tag has been put on the back burner, but he would like to see more members added to the detachment.

“We’ve had a head count of five members for probably over 15 years and I think the battle for us is to realize that we need additional resources on the West Coast, but the RCMP can’t add any resources unless there’s a true strategy of adding more housing,” he said. “Housing becomes an issue here, it doesn’t matter if you’re running a restaurant, a grocery store or a police detachment. Where are you going to put these people if you have the opportunity to do more hires? It’s a struggle across the board and quite frankly it’s not getting any easier.”

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It was the last day for Srgt.Mancini who arrived in 2017 to command the Ucluelet detachment.

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Posted by Mayco Noel Ucluelet Mayor on Thursday, March 18, 2021