It took a while to get used to policing a resort community, recalled local RCMP Staff Sergeant Hilton Haider.
When he arrived here in the spring of 2000 he soon realized that work in Whistler would be a far cry from the homicides, sex assaults and robberies that had crossed his Maple Ridge desk when he was in charge of the serious crime unit.
Instead, as commander of Whistlers RCMP detachment for the past four years, Haider has been in charge of the safety and security of tourists and troublemakers, ski bums and stars, Olympic dignitaries and foreign ministers from around the world. He has also had to oversee all of the ordinary concerns and complaints that come from policing a small community of 10,000.
"The challenge of resort policing was something that took a bit of trying to get used to," recalled Haider.
"It is a different policing style."
Next month Haider is trading in resort policing and going back to the big city, where he will be in charge of operations at the Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment.
The staff sergeant reflected candidly on his time in Whistler with Piques Alison Taylor this week. He talked about the accomplishments since 2000 as well as those issues that still remain unresolved. He also talked about the road ahead.
Pique: Why did you feel it was time to move on?
Haider : First of all, Whistler is a limited duration posting. Our people come here and its a four-year posting so we commit to four years. I could have extended another year (but) for personal reasons, family reasons, my wife and I wanted to go back to the Lower Mainland. We would have stayed if the circumstances were right. In some respects I would have liked to have stayed right through until the end of the Olympics. I saw it from the beginning and I would have just liked to see it through to the end. However, there are family commitments, parents that are getting quite elderly and youre that much further away from them (in Whistler) .
Financially its (also) an expensive community to live in. Im getting paid the same when I work down there but the cost of living is somewhat lower.
I guess maybe, it was time for a change as well. The workload here is quite enduring Its just a go-go-go campaign all the time. Its just relentless.
Pique: What would you say has been your biggest accomplishment as commander of the Whistler detachment?