Sgt. Mike Sargent is ready to take on a new role with the Agassiz RCMP.
Sargent is the detachment’s new commander, taking over from Sgt. Darren Rennie after Rennie’s four years on the job ended Aug. 9.
“I’m very happy to be here,” Sargent said, sitting in his new office inside the detachment. “I took this job as an opportunity to develop, not only myself, but also the members here at the detachment and essentially make the community a better place in the end.”
Sargent comes to the Agassiz RCMP from a watch position with the Chilliwack RCMP. He has been in the RCMP for 18 and a half years, starting in Dawson Creek and then spending 10 years in Ottawa with the Prime Minister’s protection detail and covert operations before being transferred to the Fraser Valley.
(Sargent has been a sergeant for nearly eight years, and has heard jokes about being Sgt. Sargent “pretty much every day.” “I probably have the easiest name to remember in the RCMP,” he said.)
So far, Sargent has had a busy first week on the job, both from a crime perspective and a community one.
On Thursday, Aug. 22, Sargent was on scene at the RCMP and ERT search for Ian Mountain on the Cheam First Nation. Only a few days later, he was present in a different role at the Fraser River Peacemakers gathering at the Cheam Fishing Village.
As detachment commander, Sargent will be making his appearance at more community events than he was used to with his past position with the Chilliwack RCMP.
It’s “just a bit more of an involved role in that respect,” he said, “whereas on watch, you’re dealing more with the members you supervise.”
As a new face in the detachment, Sargent has some plans for dealing with crime in the community, which has seen some increases over the past few years, particularly in property crime.
“I know property crime in Chilliwack was always a huge issue, and I know (with) our proximity to Chilliwack, there’s always a bit of spillover,” he said. “So that’s definitely one of the issues we see here.”
In addition, Sargent said he’ll be looking at tackling some of the traffic concerns for the area.
“Speeding is always a safety concern, especially the closer you get to town,” he said.
The role of detachment commander isn’t all crime, however. In his new position, Sargent expects to be at many community events and interact with all residents of Agassiz and Harrison. That’s something he’s also hoping to bring to the forefront for the detachment as a whole.
“One of the reasons why I wanted to get back into this is to ensure the members of the detachment kind of promote community-based policing,” he said. “Just being involved, just bring visible. Not simply driving around in police cars, but actually getting out and having the public know them on a positive note.”
The detachment had begun working towards that before Sargent arrived, when the Agassiz RCMP held its first Coffee with a Cop event at Heritage House this summer.
As far as future plans to increase visibility, Sargent said there’s nothing concrete yet, although he thinks it will be “a lot of simple things” like foot patrols in downtown Agassiz and Harrison.
“There has been a bit of a turnover as far as members go, myself included,” Sargent said. “So it’s nice for the public to get to know us. We’re more than just police officers. We’re people. We’re members of this community, and we’re here to make it better.”