Oak Bay Deputy Police Chief Julie Chanin with a tea cup outside the Oak Bay police station. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)

Oak Bay Deputy Police Chief Julie Chanin with a tea cup outside the Oak Bay police station. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)

Tweed tea with Oak Bay’s first female deputy police chief

Tweed editor Susan Lundy talks with Deputy Chief Julie Chanin

Susan Lundy/Tweed

Nice to meet you, Julie.

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I am an Island girl! I was born in Duncan, and grew up in Crofton and attended school in Chemainus.

How did your career path bring you to Oak Bay?

I joined the RCMP in January 2000 and was posted to Port McNeill for five years before transferring to West Shore RCMP. While at West Shore RCMP detachment (2005-2011), the current acting chief constable of the Oak Bay Police Department, Mark Fisher, was my detachment commander. He left the RCMP and became the chief constable for Oak Bay Police Department (the first time) in 2011. I followed shortly after, joining Oak Bay Police Department in November 2011.

Having started my policing career in Port McNeill, a small town on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, I developed a passion and love for community policing. In a smaller community you can build strong community relations with the people who you serve. Joining the Oak Bay Police Department afforded me the opportunity to return to policing in a smaller community and develop those valuable relationships.

When did you first know that you wanted to join the police force and what drew you to this career?

I have always been drawn to careers related to helping people. I became interested in policing at a young age, after a school field trip to the Duncan RCMP detachment. I was undecided which path to take after high school and travelled for a few years before starting my Bachelor of Science degree at Malaspina College (now VIU).

I had considered teaching and nursing, however, ended up completing a diploma in dental hygiene at Camosun College in 1997. Shortly after graduation I realized I still had a passion for policing and applied to the RCMP. RCMP training shut down for two years while I was in the hiring process; however, when training re-opened I was part of the first troop to start training in 2000.

What are the rewards and challenges of policing in Oak Bay?

One of the most rewarding aspects of policing in Oak Bay is to have the opportunity to deliver a very proactive community-focused service to the supportive community we serve. I am very fortunate to work with a team of very skilled and experienced police officers and support staff who care deeply about the community of Oak Bay.

Oak Bay Police Department, not unlike other police departments, faces many challenges. We strive to deliver the very best policing service possible, while remaining competitive in hiring and retaining officers.

You are the first the first internal candidate to rise to a leadership position in Oak Bay in more than 10 years. What do you feel are the most important qualities to possess as a police officer?

I believe some of the most important qualities a police officer should possess are empathy, accountability, fairness, excellent communication skills and the heart to serve others with the highest level of integrity.

What do you love to do outside of work?

Outside of work I enjoy spending time with family and friends. My husband, Russ, and I and our 15-year-old son, Sam, enjoy camping, fishing and travelling together. We recently returned from a trip to Churchill, Manitoba, where we encountered polar bears and beluga whales, and experienced the northern lights.

I enjoy the outdoors. I love hiking, playing soccer and anything to do with the water!

What brings you joy?

I find joy in creating new experiences. Those new experiences may include exploring a new area to paddle board, meeting new people or learning something new.

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