Changing the guard
Transferred officers win praise

Cindy MacDougall
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 13/99) - Two of the Yellowknife RCMP detachment's managing officers are being transferred, soon after receiving warm praise from local anti-violence advocates.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Boland, Yellowknife detachment commander, and Sgt. Marlin Degrand, Yk detachment's operations non-commissioned officer, were both told of their transfers last week.

Boland is off to Iqaluit to oversee Nunavut's RCMP detachments, while Degrand will stay in Yellowknife in NWT's G Division as a federal reviewer.

"I'm looking forward to my next position," Degrand said. "I wanted to take this on in my career. But I do have mixed feelings."

Both Boland and Degrand have been in their current positions for little under a year.

"It's nice to follow through on the work you started," Boland said. "I believe it takes a year just to understand the people in the system of services, and the community. Your work takes effect after that."

That work is several projects Degrand and Boland started, one of which is the anti-family violence program. The program concentrates on "safe homes, safe families."

It has been recently praised by the Yellowknife Women's Centre in a letter to the chief superintendent, Boland and Degrand's boss.

Boland said he and Degrand were eager to make an impact on how family violence and spousal abuse were handled by the detachment.

"The initial response (to a complaint) is the same," he said. "But after the initial response, all complaints are now handed to one investigator in the family issues unit.

"And that investigator follows it up consistently, thoroughly and completely," Boland said.

Degrand and Boland were "a breath of fresh air," on how family violence was handled by the RCMP, according to Arlene Hache, executive director of the Yellowknife Women's Centre. "I found them open to change when things weren't working on their side," she said.

"They don't care about being right or wrong. They just want to make it work," Hache said.

She said relations were strained with the RCMP before the family violence program was started.

"Due to their leadership ... things have changed significantly," Hache said.

Both officers are reluctant to take the praise and Boland said community agencies, especially the members of the Coalition Against Family Violence, and members of the force deserve the accolades.

Degrand's replacement, Sgt. Al McCambridge of the Fort Smith detachment, will take his position this month. Boland's replacement has not yet been announced.