Deputy Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, the new commanding officer for RCMP in BC was formally sworn in Tuesday afternoon in Langley, to the sound of pipes and drums in front of several hundred dignitaries and officers in red serge.
His appointment was announced earlier as effective July 1, taking over from Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan, who is retiring after 33 years with the force.
During a question and answer session with reporters following the ceremony, when McDonald was asked about the planned switch from the RCMP to a municipal force in Surrey, he said he thinks it will be a while before what he described as an “incredibly complex” changeover actually happens.
“We’ll be in this for some time,” predicted McDonald, who served a tour of duty as the chief superintendent in charge of the Surrey detachment.
“We’re looking at years for the transition.”
RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki praised Strachan as an inspiration for female officers in the force, saying “I wouldn’t be here as commissioner if it wasn’t for you.”
After signing the papers for the formal transfer of authority to McDonald, Strachan conducted her final inspection of the assembled officers standing at attention in the Langley Events Centre hall.
Strachan said her time in the force had been “absolute pleasure,” but had some parting words of advice for her fellow officers, warning them to avoid burnout.
“You get caught up in the job and it’s all-consuming,” Strachan observed.
She also advised against reading social media, with “uneducated” opinions about police.
“Turn off social media,” Strachan said. “It’s not good for you.”
In his remarks, McDonald sounded a similar note about what he termed an “insidious narrative” that has taken hold in social media about police, and called on them to be proud of their calling.
“My red serge is a coat of honour,.” McDonald commented, going on to say “let me encourage you to regain your swagger.”
McDonald has over 29 years of experience in law enforcement having served both the Canada Border Services Agency and the RCMP.
Most recently, he served as the assistant commissioner and criminal operations officer for federal, investigative services and organized crime in B.C.
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