The new commander of the Williams Lake RCMP detachment has longstanding connections to the Ashcroft/Cache Creek area, which is where he first became interested in a career in law enforcement.
Jeff Pelley moved to the area when he was five, and his family lived in both Ashcroft and Cache Creek for many years; his father worked at Highland Valley Copper for more than three decades. Pelley graduated from Ashcroft Secondary in 1992, and during his teenage years he got to know a number of members of the Ashcroft detachment, who made quite an impression on him.
After graduation he worked as a guard at the Ashcroft detachment, and also took part in the RCMP’s summer student program. “I worked with different members of the detachment,” he says, “and they pushed me in the direction of pursuing a career in the RCMP.”
He studied trades for two years at what was then the University College of the Cariboo (now Thompson Rivers University), and then shifted into a Bachelor of Arts program before being called up to join the RCMP in 1999. In just 17 years he has risen to the rank of inspector.
“I was posted to Prince Rupert, Kamloops, Kelowna, and 100 Mile House (as a corporal), then to New Hazelton as a sergeant,” he says. In 2014 he returned to Williams Lake as the district staff sergeant for the Cariboo Chilcotin region, where he worked with the commanders of the six detachments in the area.
He was about to be promoted to the rank of inspector and transferred to Prince George when Williams Lake detachment commander Insp. Milo MacDonald retired suddenly in August, and Pellery was offered the position.
“It was a great opportunity to stay in Williams Lake. I know the dynamics of the community, and it’s an opportunity to work on issues I’m familiar with.” He notes that he worked closely with MacDonald, and that the two men have similar strategies. “It provides continuity to the community.”
Pelley’s wife Shelly is from nearby Big Lake, and is a civilian member of the RCMP who is currently on leave without pay looking after the couple’s two children: their daughter Avery (8) and son Greyson (3). Pelley also has a brother in Williams Lake, as well as another brother living in Ashcroft.
He is looking forward to his new position. “I like the challenges of addressing community issues and working with the members,” he says. “I want to focus on a collaborative approach that involves enforcement, education, intervention, and prevention, and work closely with partners.”