The Sunshine Coast has a new RCMP commander.
Staff Sgt. Poppy Hallam took over at the detachment on Monday, Sept. 10.
Hallam, 46, comes to the Sunshine Coast from Fort St. James where she was the operations NCO.
She grew up in the Comox Valley and joined the RCMP in 2000, and before being assigned to Fort St. James she served at detachments on the north end of Vancouver Island, giving her a great deal of experience policing rural and First Nations communities.
“It was all general duty policing,” Hallam told Coast Reporter. “Small town policing is sort of my niche, it’s where I’m very comfortable… I’ve had a pretty colourful career, but it’s all been in frontline, general duty policing.”
Hallam is a trained crisis negotiator and was part of the emergency response teams on the Island and in the North, and working in rural and coastal communities also opened up the opportunity to become qualified to operate police boats, snowmobiles and ATVs.
Hallam said all six of the communities she’s worked in had similar policing issues as the ones she expects to find here on the Coast.
“Every community has its priorities, and that’s why it’s really important for us as detachment commanders to have these consultative meetings with the community to find out their priorities, because everything’s unique,” she said.
Hallam said she’s had preliminary conversations with community leaders and will be having some face-to-face meetings now that she’s officially on duty.
“Part of the next couple of weeks is those type of meetings, those one-on-one visits talking about priorities and any outstanding issues and things that they’d like to address and building the relationship,” she said.
Hallam said she’s already got a sense that increased visibility, especially in Gibsons, is something people are hoping to see. Traffic and road safety along Highway 101 is also already on her list. “Growth on the Sunshine Coast is definitely something that I can see, whether it’s been communicated to me or not… The communities are growing rapidly and what does that look like for us as we move forward?”
Hallam said she was excited to get the Sunshine Coast posting, which came with a promotion, after trying once before for a transfer to the area.
She and her husband and two young sons moved to the Coast at the beginning of the month. She said her husband Thomas, a heavy equipment operator and construction worker, plans to find work here on the Coast, and the boys have started school at West Sechelt Elementary.
Hallam said being active in the community is going to be one of her personal priorities. “Community engagement has always been something that’s really important to me… I like to be out there.”
One of her first big public events was scheduled to be MC at the Red Serge Gala fundraiser for Cops for Cancer Sept. 13.