Staff Sergeant Jeff Swann received a B.C. Community Achievement Award for his dedication to fostering positive relationships between local police and the communities they serve.

Staff Sergeant Jeff Swann received a B.C. Community Achievement Award for his dedication to fostering positive relationships between local police and the communities they serve.

Officer honoured for cleaning up Ucluelet

Jeff Swann given BC Achievemers Award for reducing crime rate by 60 per cent during tenure

Ucluelet’s beloved former top cop has another accolade to add to his collection.

Staff Sergeant Jeff Swann, a member of Canada’s prestigious Order of Merit, has received a B.C. Community Achievers Award for his groundbreaking efforts to reduce Ucluelet’s crime rate while creating and fostering a positive relationship between local police and the communities they serve.

Despite an already impressive suite of accomplishments, Swann told the Westerly News the award was a startling honour.

“There are so many wonderful police officers and people doing amazing things in communities across the province and I was just shocked to be, first off, nominated by people in Ucluelet for it and then to receive the award,” he said. “I was just completely shocked that my little achievement as part of the team at the Ucluelet detachment at the time made such an impact.”

Swann served as Ucluelet’s police chief from 2009-2016, overseeing an unprecedented 60 per cent reduction in the community’s crime rate during his tenure.

Ucluelet mayor Dianne St. Jacques heralded Swann for the positive relationships he built, particularly with local youth through his engagement at both the elementary and secondary schools.

“He put a really positive face on the RCMP,” she said. “I think it’s really a good thing when the RCMP gains the trust and confidence of the youth and interacts with them.”

Swann said he’s sharing the award with the Ukee officers he worked with as well as the current members building on the foundation he created.

“It was completely a team atmosphere and it still is at the Ucluelet detachment,” he said. “They’re still working hard and involved and engaged in the community and it’s an honour to be part of that whole team…When you’ve got everybody pulling in the same direction and having fun at work and being positive at work and engaged at work, it just makes that big difference.”

Ucluelet’s current detachment commander Sgt. Steve Mancini was thrilled to see his predecessor honoured.

“It’s great that he’s received recognition for all the hard work he did and put into the detachment in Ucluelet,” Mancini said. “He started a lot of great programs that are still up and running here in town and is very well respected within the community. It’s nice to see him get the recognition that he deserves.”

Swann said community policing efforts help shape valuable reciprocal relationships as contacts are made, bonds are formed and partnerships take shape.

“My heart has always been in community policing,” he said. “I’ve got way more out of it than I’ve ever given…When it’s reciprocal like that and the people in the community return the favour and return that relationship building, it just makes it easy, it really does.”

He said the work he put into engaging with Ucluelet never felt like work and his time in the community has been the highlight of his 22-years of service with the RCMP.

“I look back on my seven years in the Ucluelet detachment as the best I’ve ever had in my career,” he said. “I just want to say thank you for allowing me to come in and accepting me and my family and allowing us to have those successes together.”

Swann received a promotion to Staff Sergeant in 2016 and is now a B.C. RCMP Member Workplace Advisor where he provides advice and assistance to the roughly 800 RCMP staff on Vancouver Island.He was one of 25 Community Achievers Award recipients across B.C.

“The dedication and generosity of British Columbians like these make our communities great places to live,” said B.C. Premier John Horgan. “Thanks to the 2018 recipients for helping build a better British Columbia for us all.”