People in Ashcroft really like using their cellphones while they drive, but on the plus side, they’re good at keeping to the posted speed limits within town.
These are the first impressions of Sgt. Darren Angman, the new NCO in charge of the Ashcroft RCMP detachment. July 22, the day the Journal sits down to talk with him, is his fourth day on the job since learning in spring of this year that he had been named to the position after Sgt. Kathleen Fitzgerald retired in February.
Angman jokes that this has been the longest relocation in RCMP history; he’s hoping to get official word about the relocation later in the day, so that he can begin the process of selling his home in Kamloops and moving his family to Ashcroft.
He’s no stranger to the community: his father, Grant Angman, was born here. “His name is probably on a lot of the trophies in the Ashcroft curling rink,” says Angman. “He was a regular in bonspiels here, and golfed a lot at the Cache Creek golf course.” His mother lives in Merritt, and they have a lot of close family friends in the area. “I was familiar with the community before I came here.”
Angman has been stationed in a number of places during his more than 22 years as a member. He started his career in Richmond before moving to the Enhanced Response Unit at Vancouver International Airport; he also has traffic and drugs experience.
During his time at Anahim Lake he did a lot of First Nations policing, then worked serious crimes in 100 Mile House before transferring to Chetwynd. Most recently he was stationed in Kamloops, where he mainly worked in crime prevention.
“I’ve worked a lot of different sections,” he says. “And I have a lot of small town policing experience, where you do everything. I’m a big fan of community policing.”
Community policing, he says, is a lot of things, including crime prevention, community volunteer programs, and school liaison programs. “Another aspect is being involved in the community and in community events, being a part of that.”
He is also keen on the idea of a business watch program. “It can provide training to staff, how to spot counterfeit currency, fraud and robbery prevention programs, an assessment of the security at your business. I like to make these things community-based and collaborative, and train community volunteers to do safety analyses with businesses and make recommendations.
“The community needs to work collaboratively to find solutions. I’d like to structure a Citizens on Patrol-like program that ties in with the police. That’s a win-win.”
Angman says he’s looking forward to being here, noting that every community has its issues. “It will take me a while to get up to speed. But it a new chapter, a new adventure.