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New RCMP commander brings plenty of northern experience to Fort St. John

The incoming commander taking charge of police in Fort St. John hopes to be settled into the community and his new post before the new school year. Staff Sgt.
Incoming Fort St. John RCMP detachment commander Tony Hanson speaks with Mayor Lori Ackerman during the Moose Hide Walk, June 5, 2019.

The incoming commander taking charge of police in Fort St. John hopes to be settled into the community and his new post before the new school year.

Staff Sgt. Tony Hanson is alternating his time between here and his outgoing post with the RCMP in Prince George, where he’s readying his house for sale before starting his housing search in Fort St. John. Hanson will formally achieve the rank of inspector and detachment commander when he arrives in Fort St. John full-time.

“I’ve always liked the community, so when this opportunity presented itself, I decided I would compete for it, and I was lucky enough to be successful,” Hanson said.

Hanson replaces former Insp. Mike Kurvers, who briefly retired from the force before rejoining the RCMP in Comox Valley last summer.

Mayor Lori Ackerman introduced and welcomed Hanson to the community during the inaugural Moose Hide walk held downtown on Wednesday.

"Tony's already been in our community several times ove rthe last year, so bringing him into be a permanent resident was quite easy," Ackerman said.

In many ways, Fort St. John is a natural next step in Hanson’s career.

He’s in his 19th year of service with the RCMP, with the majority of his time spent in Northern B.C., including stints in Tumbler Ridge, Invermere, Vanderhoof, and Fort St. James.

The city is also a natural fit for his three children, all of whom are speed skaters — the Hanson family is indeed familiar with the city over years of competition.

Working in the north has given Hanson plenty of career opportunities over the years. He's served as second-in-command at several detachments, and often found himself in long-term acting commander roles, overseeing the detachments in Tumbler Ridge, Vanderhoof, and Fort St. James.

“It’s just exciting to have the opportunity to have my own ship, to work with such a great group that we have up here, such a young group; they’re eager to learn,” Hanson said.

Hanson said his approach to policing is community based and driven by intelligence.

“It means responding the needs of the community as well as being proactive with the community,” Hanson said.

“It means putting our resources — because we have limited resources — where they matter most. So, it’s about looking at the small segment of the population that’s committing the majority of the crimes and putting our efforts and energy there.

“It’s not new, but it works,” he said.

Though he served a stint in Ottawa, Prince George has been the biggest posting of his career, where he manages 50 people as a staff sergeant. He was awarded the Commanding Officer's Certificate of Appreciation for Bravery at a ceremony in Prince George last month.

What's kept Hanson in the north so long? The people and the challenges, he said.

“I enjoy the people and I enjoy the challenges in small communities, and the rewards that come in small communities,” Hanson said.

 “There are phenomenal people here in Northern B.C., so I have no desire really to go south.”

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