McNamara makes it official

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Superintendent Jim McNamara is retiring. 

After a 33-year career — eight years of which were served as Vernon's top cop — McNamara made the decision public in a quick announcement to Vernon City Council Monday.

McNamara was praised by the mayor for being a gentleman and was referred to as a compassionate, empathetic leader by councillor Juliette Cunningham.

"I have been very impressed with the understanding you have,"  Cunningham told McNamara. "Not only for those who are finding themselves street entrenched but also for those who work with that population. I really don't think that happens in every community."  

"It feels great to know that the work I've done here over the past eight years has been appreciated," said McNamara. "It has been great detachment and a great regional area to work in."

McNamara joined the Vernon North Okanagan detachment in 2010 when he was promoted to the rank of Inspector. He eventually became Superintendent in 2015 after Reg Burgess retired, but not before beating out three other candidates for the job.

Recently, McNamara was successful in convincing council to find room in the budget to hire six new officers.

"It is kind of a nice legacy to leave. We needed the resources and council demonstrated their commitment to public safety by increasing our establishment by those six and it's kind of nice leaving here with that under my belt."

McNamara, 58, said there is no specific reason for his retirement now, other than a 33-year career had always been a goal. 

"I have been planning it for a few months ... Looking forward to retirement," he said. "It looks like getting back into shape, I've neglected the gym over the past couple of years; playing  a lot of golf and doing a lot of motorcycle riding."

Mcnamara's official last day is May 3, but he will be done calling the shots in the Vernon North Okanagan detachment this Friday. He'll be on leave until May.

Insp. Gord Stewart will be in charge in the interim while a search is conducted for McNamara's replacement. 

"To quote Gord (Insp. Stewart), said McNamara, 'you can't arrest your way out of homelessness. You can't arrest your way out of drug addiction, and you can't arrest your way out of mental health issues.' So you have to understand that there's a lot more to what we do than going out and arresting people and putting them in jail ... We have a lot of people who need help in this community and they often look to the police for help."

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