Peace officers play an important role not only monitoring bylaws but also as moderators in disputes. If that person brings with them a law enforcement background it is another feather in their cap.
This was one of the reasons Ponoka County hired retired police officer Les Squires to be their new peace officer.
“He knows the drill,” explained CAO Charlie Cutforth. “He comes with terrific qualifications.”
There are three priorities for the county: traffic safety, road protection, and visibility in the lake development communities such as Morning Meadows. Other areas with growing communities such as the Hamlet of Bluffton will also be on Squires’ route.
His official start date was Oct. 15 and with 35 years as a Mountie, Squires looks forward to the new challenge ahead.
He feels it’s not only his experience as a police officer but his relationship with residents that will help in his new role. It gives him an understanding of what people need and Squires believes he will have the chance to work issues out, rather than “just throw the book at them.”
“Justice isn’t always secured by writing a traffic ticket and walking away,” he explained.
With his last 22 years in the Ponoka area, Squires looks forward to bringing his experience to the county as well as already having a strong relationship with the Ponoka RCMP.
He feels there is a learning curve in dealing with road permits and municipal bylaws but likes to “keep busy.” Rather than being nervous, the new peace officer looks forward to what lays ahead, especially with the growth in the county.
“The county is growing and the oil industry is growing within the county.”
He also looks forward to working with county ratepayers and bringing forward their concerns. “I’m an operational kind of guy.”
When residents raise their concerns he believes many people need someone who will hear their complaints and offer help if needed.
“That’s why you have two ears and one mouth,” stated Squires.
Squires’ children grew up in Ponoka and he has friends who have grown over the past 22 years and staying in Ponoka is an ideal situation.
“I’m just happy to be here. It’s a great opportunity for me to stay in Ponoka,” he said.
His goal is to patrol the county weekly but considering the size of it but will also respond to complaints as is needed.