Oak Bay Police has introduced three new constables in 2020 but only one has already taken part in the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock ride.
Const. Derek Brand started March 30, just before Const. Deane Johnston started on April 1, and the two are the newest members of the 23-member team. Oak Bay Police also hired Const. Kirstin Stuart in January and Const. Jenn Berkley in December.
Brand comes to Oak Bay from a three-year stint in the RCMP where he was a constable in Penticton since 2017. Before that, he put in over 5,000 hours as an auxiliary constable with the West Shore RCMP (2011-2017), and two years as a Victoria Police reserve constable. His paying job was seven years from 2010 until 2017 as a guard at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre, also known as Wilkinson Jail.
It was in 2015 that Brand, and fellow West Shore RCMP Auxiliary Const. Nick Brame, represented the West Shore on the Tour de Rock, pedalling 1,000 kilometres down Vancouver Island while raising money for pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes.
Also on that tour were Oak Bay Police’s Deputy Chief (and soon to be Chief) Ray Bernoties and Const. Devon Fidler, who was with the Military Police. In a twist of fate, all three are now with Oak Bay Police though Oak Bay was not actually represented on the 2015 Tour de Rock team (Bernoties, who was Chief Superintendent Island District Commander, Island District RCMP, was “adopted” by Oak Bay for that tour).
“That’s where I first met [Const. Fidler] and [Deputy Chief Bernoties] and we stayed in touch,” Brand said. “Once I got into the RCMP I knew I wanted to try to come back here, but I wasn’t leaving the RCMP without getting a lot of experience.”
Welcome Cst Brand to #OakBay PD. Derrick comes to us from the RCMP & also served yrs as an Auxiliary Cst when he did the Tour de Rock. He's passionate about community service & helping others. This is our 1st socially distanced swearing in. We'll shake his hand another day.👌 pic.twitter.com/2dJagkKfJF
— Oak Bay Police (@OakBayPolice) March 30, 2020
Brand grew up in Central Saanich, graduating from Stelly’s secondary, and worked as a Peninsula Co-op employee for five years as a teenager.
“That’s when I first became involved in the Tour de Rock,” Brand recalled. “We used to dye our hair and then shave it off.”
After volunteering two years with the Victoria Police Department, Brand won awards as an RCMP auxiliary constable for going over and above the required 160 hours of service per year. He earned awards for putting in more than 500 hours and then 1,000 hours in a single year.
He was hired by the RCMP and started the 26-week RCMP boot camp training in Regina on May 27, 2017.
“I enjoyed Penticton, great place to live,” Brand said. “I saw openings here and on the Island but I wanted to wait until I got more experience, which you get with the high volume of calls in Penticton. It’s not a major city but it has a lot more calls than Oak Bay.”
Gaining more experience can help Brand as he wants to keep his options open if he could ever be selected for secondment as part of a special investigation or task force.
With the RCMP in Penticton, Brand’s team of four would respond to about 65 calls on a shift whereas he’ll field about 10 per Oak Bay shift. It allows the opportunity to find solutions to ongoing problems and build stronger relationships with residents, he said.
“Community policing is my style and that’s what they do here, and why I want to be here,” Brand said.
“Brand and I were on the same Tour de Rock team,” Bernoties said. “I had the chance to see him connect with youth in that environment and was very impressed with his passion for helping others and being engaged in the community… he’s hit the ground running.”