When the Oceanside RCMP began looking for a replacement for community policing officer Richard van de Pol, they cast their net nationwide.
When they pulled it in though, they found the winning candidate had been close at hand the whole time — right in the same detachment.
While Corporal Jesse Foreman may be new to the community policing role, it’s likely there are many people in Parksville and area who already know him quite well.
That’s because Foreman grew up in Parksville, graduating from Ballenas Secondary School in 1994.
Foreman didn’t go into policing right away after he graduated. At first, he worked out of French Creek as a commercial fisherman on the Lasqueti Storm.
“We fished for prawns, herring, plankton, squid, halibut, pretty much everything,” he said.
“Then I went to school and supplemented my schooling with fishing.”
While he was studying Criminology, Foreman said he met a number of RCMP officers and noted they seemed very happy with their career choice.
“Being a member wasn’t something I grew up dreaming of doing, but I met a lot of officers and didn’t meet one who didn’t enjoy aspects of their job,” he said. “I went to Regina in 2003 and started my policing career in Surrey, where I stayed for five years. Then I went to Sayward on northern Vancouver Island, a three-person posting.”
That, he said, was where he developed his passion for community policing.
“If you didn’t do things with the community, the schools the kids and all the programs such as Speed Watch and Citizens On Patrol, it would have been a really long three years,” he said.
“There wasn’t a ton of what people think of as regular police work. It was what you made it, so I immersed myself in the community.”
Foreman, now married with two children of his own in Grades 1 and 2, has been back in Parksville for a while now, working as a general duty constable. When the community policing posting came up, he jumped at the chance.
“I can’t think of a better place to do community policing than here,” he said. “There are a lot of retired people here who want to give back to the community. I’m amazed at all the volunteers we have here.”