A salute to a retiring officer
By Ian Cobb
Today marks a new era in policing in Kimberley.
Today is Sgt. Chris Newel’s final day as Kimberley RCMP Detachment commander and the final day of a commendable and honourable 30-year career with the force.
To put it as concisely as possible, Sgt. Newel was an excellent police officer – a true community-minded soul who immersed himself in the culture and mien of his beat bailiwick. An old school cop; the iconic Mountie we Canadians grew up visualizing as paragons of law and order.
At a time when law enforcement the continent over is under the hottest and harshest of spotlights, all due to rotten apples, a good apple is taking his leave from the force.
“Nov. 5 will be the first time in 47 years I will be without a job,” Sgt. Newel said. “Thirty years ago, I arrived fresh from Depot in Cranbrook. It’s been quite a career and I’ve certainly seen and done things I never would have dreamed of in my previous career as a landscape contractor/project manager.”
One of Sgt. Newel’s great strengths as an officer and a leader is his communications skills. In the 30 years I’ve been working as a journalist, I’ve known many Mounties. Some are still friends; many disappeared into the expanse that is Canada. Some were difficult to work with, in terms of extracting information to share with the public. Others understood the value of strong and clear communication with the media so as to ensure the best information is released. That in the long run works to the advantage of the public, the media and the police.
Sgt. Newel has been the shining example of how Mounties should communicate with their communities and has indeed helped other detachments over the years in how to deal with/approach the media.
More importantly, Sgt. Newel loves the community he policed and it was always evident.
“I would like to say I have enjoyed my job and will miss it. I was proud to be a Mountie. The atmosphere now is changing, but that was not the reason I’m retiring. The plan to retire has been in the works for several years. I feel that it is time to move on and experience some other facets of life,” he said.
Noting all five of his children have graduated high school, Newel said it is time to spend more quality time with Donna, his wife of 23 years. “She could easily be referred to as a second (detachment) member. It’s time we spent some quality time together.”
Newel said he intends to stay in Kimberley and continue his passions of skiing, cycling, camping and having coffee. Along with anticipate shop and house projects. He’s also one helluva an excellent photographer, with many of his shots having been published in e-KNOW over the years.
Thank you for your service to your community and nation, Sgt. Newel. Enjoy retirement!
Maintien le Droit!
Lead image: The Kimberley Fellowship Baptist Church has been dropping off treats at the detachment often several times a month since June. We appreciate the support we receive in the community. Last week Donna dropped off a special bag for Sgt. Newel to recognize his retirement (Nov 4). Thank you! Kimberley RCMP photo