'We're going to miss him': Penticton's top cop announces retirement

Top cop hanging up hat

Penticton's chief police officer is retiring.

Supt. Brian Hunter stepped into the job of South Okanagan-Similkameen detachment commander in Penticton in February 2020.

In the years since, while weathering the trials of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hunter has implemented programs focused on monitoring prolific offenders, and has been vocal about the need for mental health workers to partner with police officers while serving the community — a provincial program, known as "Car 40," that serves this goal will be implemented in Penticton this year.

“During his time in Penticton, Brian has been an exemplary leader and we’re going to miss him professionally and personally,” said city manager Donny van Dyk, in a press release issued Tuesday.

“He has seen Penticton through some difficult times and dedicated himself and his team to creating a safer and stronger community. He’s built morale at the detachment, he’s increased trust with the community and he’s been a strong partner in advocating for programs like Car 40."

Hunter recently took time away from the job while he battled prostate cancer, and expressed at the time through an RCMP spokesperson that he hoped his story would inspire others to get checked, and to not be afraid of talking about a cancer journey.

Hunter was back on the job recently at a media event announcing his long-awaited Car 40 program.

“Brian has recognized the need to build partnerships and relationships with the entire community. The issues the RCMP face daily are complex and Brian has shown leadership in bringing people together to tackle them in a way that meets the needs of Penticton," van Dyk said.

“After 30 years of service in communities across the province, Brian and his wife Julie have earned the right to enter into their next journey and they go with thanks from the entire City of Penticton.”

Staff Sergeant Bob Vatamaniuck will continue as acting officer in charge through the recruitment process for Hunter’s replacement.

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