The city’s new top cop is excited about continuing his tenure and tackling important issues in Prince George.
“Quite frankly, I’m thrilled,” said Dahl Chambers, the new superindendant for the Prince George RCMP. “I’m looking forward to extending my time here in Prince George.”
Chambers has been the city’s operations officer for the past three and a half years. And he is excited to work in a city that offers a “snapshot” into all facets of police work.
“We run the gambit, from all the kinds of crimes that you are going to encounter as a police officer, and all the community programs as well.”
It’s the diversity in both crime and community programs, Chambers says, that is the reason Prince George is used as a training detachment for new police officers.
“We see the bigger focus,” Chambers said, “the D.A.R.E [drug abuse resistance education] program, the B.R.A.V.E. [bully resistance abuse violence education] program, each one of our schools has a police liason, we have a lot of community stuff happening here.”
Chambers says, in conjunction with the North District RCMP, Prince George exposes young officers to amost every section in the RCMP – from federal drug enforcement, to customs and excise, major case management, major crimes, forensic identification, and dog section.
“We have small bits of everything. To come here, to Prince George, you’re able to work with a lot of these folks,” Chambers said. “From a training perspective and a growth perspective we pride ourselves on being able to show our young officers many aspects of police work.”
Before moving into the big chair, Chambers was put through an accordian-style selection process – he was short-listed in Ottawa, approved in Vancouver, interviewed and selected by triumvirate headed by Mayor Colin Kinsley, sent back to Vancouver for approval and signed off by the RCMP commisioner in Ottawa.
“There are a lot of checks and balances here so that everyone is satisfied.”
He says the city gets “considerable input” in the selection process – something Chambers thinks is good.
He says the RCMP works closely with the city in trying to deal with some of the city’s social problems. Chambers says the RCMP are fully comitted to Partners for a Healthy Downtown. They meet with city officials, bylaw officers, social services agencies and the business community.
“The police can not be expected to solve all the social ills that are downtown. We’re there to enforce the law, we’re there to deal with any issues that happen. But also, there are issues that need to be looked at from a social perspective.”
Prostitution is high on his list of social ills to be addressed.
He says sex-trade workers are at risk, and more emphasis should be placed on villifying the act of prostitution, and not the person. He says arresting prostitutes doesn’t work.
“We as a police agency have been attacking this from every avenue – working with our social-services partners, the folks at the needle exchange, attacking the crack houses in the VLA.”
He says the RCMP’s goal is to educate, both the community and the sex-trade workers, with the ultimate goal of helping them leave the profession.