RCMP Supt. Keith Robinson is retiring after nearly 40 years in the business.

Keep an ear open, says retiring RCMP superintendent

Supt. Keith Robinson is retiring as commanding officer of the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment after nearly 40 years with the RCMP

Listen and learn from the community.

That’s the best advice RCMP Supt. Keith Robinson can pass on to his successor as commanding officer of the Upper Fraser Valley Regional Detachment.

“Whoever comes in, what they need to do is sit back and listen and learn,” said Robinson, who’s retiring on Feb. 1 after nearly 40 years in the RCMP, the last three years as commanding officer of the UFVRD.

“You’ve got to take a look at the people around you, the people working with you, and listen to the community and what they want,” he said. “That’s how I came in.”

Robinson said that task was probably easier for him because he had been the detachment’s operations officer before he took on the job of officer in charge.

“It didn’t take me long to figure out what we were going to do,” he said.

RCMP Insp. Grant Wilson, the current operations officer in the UFVRD, will be the acting commander until a replacement for Robinson is hired. It’s not known whether Wilson has applied for the position.

Nine RCMP officers are currently on a short-list of applicants, which the four mayors in the region will review before approving a new commanding officer.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz said the mayors of Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs and Hope are meeting this week to review the applicants.

She said Robinson delivered on his promise to bring stability to the detachment, and was key in getting the prolific offender program under way, which has reduced crime across the region.

“He has set the mark really high, and we can expect great policing to continue,” she said.

The Fraser Valley mayors are looking for a replacement who shows leadership, she said, “and someone who believes in community and inculcates that value in his or her staff.”

Robinson said the challenge for the incoming commander, male or female, is maintaining the regional policing model, while at the same time delivering police services tailored to the four communities in the detachment area.

“The communities are different, and they’re each looking for a different policing style,” he said. “We provide a basic service, and then we enhance that service by whatever the community requires.”

Chilliwack has its downtown crime issues, he said, the rural communities of Agassiz and Hope need a more visible police presence, and the recreation community of Harrison Hot Springs needs a special focus in the summer months.

Robinson said the RCMP has changed “considerably” and “all for the better” in his 40 years of service.

But the positive changes don’t get the same media attention.

“The nice thing about our outfit, and I don’t think it gets reported on well enough, is that we’re always open to listen to what people consider to be our problems,” he said. “What we don’t see often enough is all the good things, the positive side, of the general work that’s done by the membership.”

“If we never did anything about (an issue), that’s where I would say we have a problem. But we do things about it.”

While the media is still writing about the lack of communication in the RCMP, Robinson said changes have already been made to remedy that problem

“We communicate now far better than we used to 20 years ago,” he said. “There’s been no better time. You don’t see that (reported) in the press.”

“My point is, if you want to go after an organization you will always find warts,” he said. “And if you focus on the warts, that’s all you will see and that’s what happened to the RCMP.”

“But if you were to take that focus and redirect it to any other professional organization,” he added, “you’ll find the warts, and if you focus on the warts, eventually that profession will have issues with public opinion.”

Robinson also said the RCMP is already the regional police force that’s being called for in the wake of the police mishandling of the Pickton investigation.

“We’re probably the most regional police force anywhere,” he said. “We provide a service at far less cost than any municipal police force in the country.”

“If you want a regional police force, hire the RCMP and we’ll come in and do the job.”

Robinson, who lives in Chilliwack, said his retirement plans are traveling and taking time to pursue his wood-working hobby.

rfreeman@theprogress.com

twitter.com/paperboy2

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of possibly decades-old airplane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

Mark Strahl is speaking in the House of Commons on Oct. 20, 2020, on a Conservative motion to create a special committee to look into the WE charity scandal. The speech will be posted live on his Facebook page. (Facebook image)
VIDEO: Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl to speak on WE scandal today

Prime Minister has said Conservative motion for ethics committee could trigger election

Plow equipment clearing the roads on Dec. 13, 2016 focused on Priority 1 and 2 roads. (City of Chilliwack)
Dozens of Chilliwack roads could get upgraded for snow removal

But side streets mostly remain as priority 4, rarely if ever plowed based on resources available

More and more electric cars are on the road, but one Chevy Bolt owner was shocked to see how much his BC Hydro bill skyrocketed once he started charging the vehicle. (Black Press file photo)
Rosedale man sees significant spike in BC Hydro bill after purchasing electrical vehicle

An increase should be expected, but Brian Chwiendacz experienced a 200-plus per cent hike

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

Officers with the Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team were at a White Rock home Tuesday (Oct. 20) to assist Vancouver Police Department with execution of a search warrant. (Contributed photo)
ERT, VPD response to White Rock home connected to homicide: police

Search underway in the 15800-block of Prospect Crescent

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bear kills llama on Vancouver Island, prompting concerns over livestock

Officers could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Bernard Trest and his son Max, 10, are concerned about B.C.’s plan for students in the classroom. He was one of two fathers who filed a court application in August to prevent schools from reopening if stricter COVID-19 protections weren’t in place. That application was dismissed last week. (Contributed photo)
B.C. dad pledges to appeal quashed call for mandatory masks, distancing in schools

Bernard Trest and Gary Shuster challenged health, education ministries’ return-to-school plan

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
RCMP cleared in fatal shooting of armed Lytton man in distress, police watchdog finds

IIO spoke to seven civillian witnesses and 11 police officers in coming to its decision

Most Read