Two cities, two new top cops.
Surrey and White Rock RCMP have both welcomed new commanders to their ranks – and they have a thing or two in common.
Chief Supt. Dwayne McDonald was introduced Tuesday as the new Officer in Charge of Surrey RCMP, taking over the reins from Asst. Cmsr. Bill Fordy, who was promoted to Lower Mainland District Commander.
Daryl Creighton took the helm as White Rock’s new staff sergeant, replacing Staff Sgt. Lesli Roseberry, who took command of the West Kelowna RCMP detachment in Winfield last month.
In addition to being friends, McDonald and Creighton have both been Mounties for 24 years, and both have played instrumental roles in high-profile police operations – McDonald, in 2011, as team commander in charge of the investigation into the gangland slaying of Jonathan Bacon; Creighton, in 2013, as incident commander in the attempted apprehension of murder suspect Angus Mitchell in Maple Ridge.
The officers met in 1999, while training for the Emergency Response Team. Both have served their entire careers in the Lower Mainland, and both have been recognized for exceptional service: McDonald received the Order of Merit of the Police Forces last year; Creighton was cited by Langley RCMP in 2014 for his role in apprehending a thief – something he helped pull off while off-duty, wearing shorts and flip-flops, and with one arm in a brace.
For McDonald, the new role as head of Canada’s largest detachment is a career milestone; one that was announced in the same room where he wrote his RCMP entrance exam 24 years ago.
“Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that one day I would be coming back as the officer in charge,” McDonald told a roomful of reporters and dignitaries. “I am excited about this opportunity, if for no other reason than I love being a police officer.”
McDonald began his career as a constable in Burnaby, leaving that city as a sergeant to be a team commander for the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team. He then transferred to the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, B.C.’s integrated anti-gang unit, in 2011, where he was team commander in the Jonathan Bacon file.
In 2012, McDonald made inspector and was an operations officer/senior investigator at CFSEU-BC. He took charge of IHIT in 2014, after being promoted to the rank of superintendent, leading Canada’s largest homicide unit.
The New Westminster resident discovered his passion for policing while working in Canada Customs (now Canada Border Services Agency) during his university years.
“It was at that time that I realized law enforcement was a career that I wanted to pursue and the RCMP, based on the history, tradition and the excellence of policing that it has long held, was my first choice,” he said.
For Creighton, whose father Bob served 29 years as a Mountie before retiring as a sergeant in Saskatchewan, becoming a police officer was “a natural fit.”
“It was going to be military or policing,” he said. “But I really like the versatility policing can offer.”
Creighton started his career at the Langley detachment, and spent 11 years working in everything from the bike squad and Street Enforcement Unit to Serious Crimes; he was also seconded to Vancouver’s Drug Section for a year during that time.
During his time in Surrey (2004-2009), Creighton worked in South Surrey, Guildford and Whalley; all while part of the South Fraser Emergency Response Team, a role he maintained for 10 years before retiring to “take my career in a different direction.”
At Ridge Meadows RCMP from 2009, he was the sergeant in charge of the Street Enforcement Unit, an eight-member team focused on drug enforcement and property crime; as well, the Marijuana Enforcement Team and the Prolific Offender Suppression Team.
The tasks played to his strength in crime-reduction strategies – strategies he plans to put into play in White Rock, where property crime has been repeatedly described as the city’s “nemesis.”
“For me, it’s more of an aggressive approach to dealing with problems and working with the city,” Creighton said. “A lot of the methods I believe can be applied here.”
He logged his first arrest in White Rock on Tuesday, while assisting Surrey RCMP with a call regarding a man causing problems at the uptown McDonald’s.
The man “threatened staff (and) got into a physical altercation with someone who tried to intervene,” Creighton said.
Creighton acknowledged such frontline work won’t as much a routine part of his day as it has been in his previous posts, but he’s determined to remain as involved with it as possible.
“Not that I crave the adrenaline – I appreciate a robust policing style,” he said.
It’s also about staying connected to the community and its needs, he said.
McDonald shared a similar sentiment.
“I will strive to build on what has proven successful,” he said.
“Together, in partnership with the community, with business and with all levels of government, we will provide a public safety model, in Surrey, that will be the envy of all.”
– with files from Tom Zytaruk