New operations NCO aims to maintain drop in violent crime, property crime

Sunshine Coast RCMP

The changing of the guard is complete.

On the heels of Staff Sgt. Vishal Mathura’s arrival as new detachment commander in November, the Sunshine Coast RCMP has a new operations NCO (non-commissioned officer).

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Sgt. Steve Chubey was appointed to the position late last month after serving as operations support NCO and media spokesman.

Chubey replaces Sgt. Mike McCarthy, who retired after two and a half years at the detachment, his final months as acting commander following the departure of Staff Sgt. Herb Berdahl last summer.

“At the end of the day, losing Staff Sgt. Berdahl and Sgt. McCarthy to retirement is losing 60-plus years of service and experience that can’t be replaced,” Chubey said in an interview. “But working with them over the last three and a half years taught me a lot personally about leadership and their style of policing … and I’m hoping we can carry on their legacy here.”

Operationally, he said, the detachment will continue with the approach to policing taken under the previous management.

“It’s been effective. We’ve shown a reduction in both violent crime and property crime over the last three and a half years and our intention is to maintain that.”

The detachment’s success in reducing property crime in 2012 — with 35 per cent and 30 per cent drops in the last two quarters — was recognized the following year with a certificate of appreciation from the RCMP’s Lower Mainland district commander. That trend has continued, with a three per cent reduction in the last quarter of 2014.

To keep the momentum going, Chubey said the detachment’s strategy is to be visible in the community with foot patrols and rural patrols, targeting “hot spot” areas with high crime density.

One recent hot spot was Snickett Park on Trail Bay in Sechelt.

“That’s an example of a hot spot we had over the summer months and we were very effective in reducing problems there.”

Other strategies include conducting street checks on known offenders, targeting prolific and high-interest offenders, enforcing release conditions and court orders, and addressing mental health as it relates to crime.

To continue reducing violent crime, Chubey said he wants to improve services to women in violent relationships and their families, working with Crown counsel to improve the quality of investigations.

“We need to do more than just attend, charge and leave,” he said.

That includes “looking outside the box” at patterns and root causes to “see what we can do to stop the problem” and working with other agencies on social issues such as homelessness.

As operations NCO, Chubey’s job is to manage the operational side of policing on the Coast, overseeing general duty constables and supervisors.

With 35 members to cover the area between Port Mellon and Egmont, “we have to be innovative in how we prioritize our work and move our resources around,” he said.

Asked how the public can do more to help, Chubey cited the recent rash of vandalized mailboxes in Gibsons.

“Reporting anything suspicious to police is always helpful,” he said. “Sometimes people feel they don’t want to bother us. We don’t get bothered by attending complaints. That’s why we’re out here.”

A native of Neepawa, Man., Chubey joined the RCMP in 2000, three years after he had moved to the West Coast while in the Navy to serve aboard the supply ship HMCS Protecteur.

“You can’t pry me away from the West Coast now,” he said. “I just have to be near the water.”

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