Decades after starting out as an auxiliary police officer, the Ste. Anne Police Chief is now President of the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police. Marc Robichaud was first nominated and then elected to that post last week.
Robichaud says he began his career in law enforcement in the late 1980's, serving as an auxiliary police officer. He says what got him interested was his fantasy that every day on the job would be filled with non-stop action. Robichaud admits that isn't exactly the way it is.
From auxiliary policeman, Robichaud moved into the role of a regular member in the early 1990's. Then, just over ten years ago, he accepted the position with Ste. Anne Police. Today, that team consists of five full-time members and several casual officers who fill in.
Robichaud says a career in law enforcement has provided opportunity to do a lot of different things in a number of different provinces. He recalls, early on, being involved with the SWAT Team and undercover work. That eventually progressed into the Behavioural Science Unit with RCMP and then moving into administrative roles.
And though his dream was for a career of non-stop action, Robichaud says nothing compares to being the Police Chief in a small town like Ste. Anne.
"It's the best job I've ever had in policing," admits Robichaud. "It's certainly the most fulfilling."
Robichaud says he can see the impact from decisions he makes on a daily basis. And because his detachment lacks the bureaucracy that might exist at some of the larger ones, Robichaud says he is able to implement new ideas.
"If they work we adopt them, if they don't work, we throw them out the door," he says. "Policing in a small town is a great job."
Robichaud says the Manitoba Association of Chiefs of Police acts as a conduit for providing information and lobbying the provincial government. It is an association of executives within the senior management of policing in Manitoba. Membership is made up of all police agencies across the province. He notes they work with the Manitoba government at trying to advance best practices in policing.
The new President, who takes over from Scott Kolody, says he was honoured and surprised to be elected to the two year term.
"Coming from a small department there's a number of large organizations that make up the vast majority of the membership," he says. "So I was quite surprised."
He says normally this post is represented by someone from a larger police organization, such as an officer within the upper ranks of Winnipeg City Police or RCMP.
"I think it shows that there's a renewed appreciation for small town policing and the value that small town policing brings to the overall policing community," he says.
Meanwhile, Robichaud says police in Manitoba face the same challenges in all corners of the province. He notes right now the meth crisis is impacting everyone and will continue to be a problem unless strong strategies are put in place.