REGINA — Saskatchewan's top Mountie is moving on after nearly two years in the province.
Commanding Officer Mark Fisher accepted a job as deputy chief of the Oak Bay Police Service in British Columbia, where he previously spent more than seven years of his 25-year career.
Fisher, whose final day with the Saskatchewan RCMP is Monday, worked on decreasing members' vacancy rate.
He was also involved in a number of initiatives including community consultation meetings, as well as the country's first RCMP reconciliation strategy.
Reflecting back on the past year, Fisher said his job has been a challenging one, with allegations against the RCMP of excessive force, which have received renewed attention after the death of George Floyd in the United States.
He adds another big challenge facing RCMP officers is the affect of methamphetamine use on communities and the rising number of mental health related calls.
Many officers work in remote communities, where there is limited or no access to mental health resources, Fisher said.
"They have to be a jack-of-all trades and attend these calls and manage them as best as they can, given the training and expertise they have at their disposal," Fisher said.
He said he hopes the public understands the complexities of what RCMP officers working on the front line do and that there are times they have to make split-second decisions.
"Public trust is fragile, yet it's such an important part of what we do and our ability to do it and we police by consent," he said. "I remind our employees all the time we can't lose sight of who we serve."
Fisher said he will be leaving the office "with my head held high."
"I think we have a great team in this province and I'm really impressed by the people I've met who are on the front lines and just the intelligence, the compassion and I think the life experience they bring to their roles," he said.
A spokesperson for the Saskatchewan RCMP said discussions are underway to find Fisher's replacement and will involve both senior RCMP officials as well as the government. (paNow)
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 6, 2020