Former Chilliwack RCMP now Canada’s top cop

Bob Paulson, who started his RCMP career in Chilliwack, has been named the Mounties’ new top cop.

Bob Paulson, who started his RCMP career in Chilliwack, has been named the Mounties’ new top cop.

David McLay, former RCMP detachment commander in Chilliwack, said he believes Paulson is the right man to head up Canada’s national police force in troubled times.

“He’s a policeman’s policeman,” McLay said, who has come up through the ranks and knows “all the trials and tribulations” of RCMP members.

“He’s had so many important and significant assignments on the force, and he’s just breezed through everything,” McLay said. “I’m just very, very happy. He’s the right man for the job.”

Paulson, 52, was named this week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to replace outgoing RCMP Commissioner William Elliott, who admitted his lack of a policing background had been a problem.

McLay said he believes Paulson’s wide policing experience and his rise through the ranks will help boost sagging morale among the Mounties.

“It’s hard to keep people motivated when they do a good job, and they don’t see a lot happen to the perpetrators,” he explained.

McLay said Paulson was “pegged as a very high potential for development” very soon after he came to Chilliwack as a new recruit in 1986 after serving seven years in the military.

Chilliwack MLA John Les said he clearly remembers Paulson’s arrival as one the city’s new RCMP constables.

“It became pretty clear, quite quickly, that Bob Paulson was at the top of the class,” he said.

Paulson “stood out as someone with great potential,” Les added, and he was soon assigned to more responsible positions in the RCMP’s operations in B.C.

Les said he was “never surprised” over the years to see Paulson named to ever higher positions within the national police force.

According to an RCMP biography, Paulson was a general duty investigator in the Courtenay/Comox detachment from 1993-95, promoted to corporal and assigned to the Northwest District’s major crime unit and unsolved homicide unit until 1999 when he was named sergeant in charge of the Southwest District’s major crime section.

He was promoted to inspector in 2001, and assigned to manage the RCMP’s federal organized crime investigation branch until 2005 when he was promoted to superintendent of aboriginal and community policing.

Paulson was named deputy commissioner of federal policing in November last year.

Paulson told reporters in Ottawa that “accountability and leadership” will top his list of priorities as commissioner, which includes recent allegations by female RCMP officers of sexual harassment.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

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