Mountie returns to Ridge Meadows RCMP in new role
A little more than a week into her new post as Ridge Meadows RCMP’s operations officer, Insp. Jennifer Hyland is right at home – literally and figuratively.
“It’s something that I was hoping would work out,” she said.
Hyland comes to the Ridge Meadows detachment after a little more than two years as the operations officer for the North Vancouver detachment.
She takes over the position from Insp. Dan Splinter – who officially retires at the beginning of next year.
But Hyland is no stranger to the community nor the Ridge Meadows RCMP.
She was part of the local force from 2006, to 2014, although her community roots extend even deeper than that.
Both her parents were raised locally, and when her dad retired from a job with Save-On-Foods (which saw the family move from place to place) he moved the family back to Maple Ridge, just in time for Hyland to attend Grade 12 at Garibaldi Secondary, where she graduated in 1989.
“I’ve been here ever since,” she said. “My grandparents are from here, my mom and dad live here, my in-laws live here, and my aunt is here.”
Hyland got her start working with the New Westminster City police, before making the move to RCMP, which saw her work in Surrey, then Maple Ridge, then North Vancouver, and now back to Maple Ridge.
And though she didn’t always appreciate it, the fact she works in the community in which she lives is a big plus for her.
“I used to think it was great, living here and working there, knowing I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew in the lineup at the grocery store, for example,” she said of her time in New Westminster.
That view began to change when she met her husband – a New Westminster police officer – who also called the Royal City home, as well.
“He loved living in the community that he worked in, because he was very connected to what was going on,” she said.
After she was promoted to Maple Ridge from Surrey, she wondered what she would do “if she had a file on someone she knew outside of work.”
However, she “didn’t really have that experience where there was any kind of interruption either in my personal or professional life,” and she never found it to be awkward.
In fact, for the most part, she finds it beneficial for both sides.
“When you have people in your police force that are part of your local community, they have connections that wouldn’t necessarily happen out of the uniform.”
And creating that connection is of utmost importance to her.
“I have been out walking around in the community every day,” she said. “I come in here and I go out in my uniform because I want people to see me, say hi, or ask a question.”
And now that she’s back with Ridge Meadows, she’s excited by some of the stuff she sees happening on the force.
“What I find really exciting is that there are so many more female supervisors and leaders here, compared to when I left,” she explained.
This is important she said, because “sometimes people look at certain policing jobs with the impression that they’re not opportunities for mothers or people who put family first. I’m married with two kids. I put my family first all the time.”
As both an officer and a citizen, “there’s some topical things in the community I am very aware of,” she said. “I think the message that’s important... is that our overall operation is significant, and our policing isn’t about any one thing or one area of concern.”
And, she noted that, “while we’re very alive to the community feeling upset about certain things, it’s really important that people know there’s a whole bunch of things that we do
every day that people don’t know and won’t hear about: dealing with youth, saving people’s lives, relating to people who have lost loved ones, things like that.”
Hyland said that one of the goals is to highlight more of the good work the force does, and the community interaction.
“When something happens in our community I really feel like we do come together really well,” she said. “I think we’re a great community and I think we should highlight our successes.”