After serving for nearly two years as the acting commander of the Ponoka RCMP detachment, word has come down the line and Sgt. Chris Smiley has been formally promoted to permanent detachment commander.
Chief superintendent Shahin Mehdizadeh, district commander for the central Alberta district, made the official announcement on Oct. 25.
Smiley was promoted to sergeant as the operations NCO (second in command) in February, 2017, and assumed the role of acting detachment commander in December, 2017 when then-detachment commander Mike Numan was seconded to the central Alberta district office.
Smiley says he’s glad the process is over and he can focus entirely on “business as usual.”
“I’m just getting started here, honestly, so it’s exciting,” said Smiley in an interview Oct. 24.
Smiley has no plans for slowing down or letting up, referring his favourite quote, by Winston Churchill, “This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.”
The Ponoka RCMP will continue with its priority initiatives and objectives such as crime reduction and traffic enforcement, as well as ongoing efforts to promote and develop strong ties between the RCMP and the community.
The detachment also continues to aggressively monitor people released on bail with a variety of conditions. This monitoring is one reason why the public sees repeat names in RCMP news releases.
The officers of the RCMP detachment work diligently, putting in numerous hours to prepare court disclosures and make a tight case, however, Smiley says once that’s done it’s out of their hands.
“We do our best work to prepare for the courts and then the file is at the mercy of the courts.”
The detachment’s numbers will be bolstered in the next few months, with a new cadet expected in November, December and January, adding three to their number.
The upswing in growth will keep the field trainers busy in the following months, says Smiley.
“In spite of some staffing challenges we’ve had some high-profile arrests and laid multiple charges.”
Smiley, originally from Annapolis Valey, Nova Scotia, has 15 years of service with the RCMP.
He began his career in K Division, with the Vermilion detachment, starting with general duty followed by a few years with traffic services while in Vermilion.
In 2010, Smiley transferred to the Blackfalds detachment. In 2015, he was promoted to corporal watch commander at the Rocky Mountain House detachment and has been in Ponoka since 2017.
Along with his day-to-day duties, Smiley is a police and public safety and taser instructor, facilitating training around the district throughout the year.