Sergeant Jason Keays, Vanderhoof RCMP Detachment Commander, will be leaving Vanderhoof for Fort McMurray to take on a higher position there.
Sgt. Keays has worked in Vanderhoof for just under two years after taking over from Sgt. Dave Beach. When Keays is gone, as of January 23, Corporal Thiessen will be the acting detachment commander until the Sergeant position is taken over.
Sgt. Keays is proud of the work that members have done in the detachment and the work done on the prolific offender program.
“The credit goes to the hard working members and support staff,” said Sgt. Keays. “I know I am leaving the community safer and hope that my legacy is one of openness and excellent communication between the detachment and public officials as well as the Saik’uz First Nations and the rest of the community.”
Sgt. Keays said that he has truly enjoyed working in the community and has made many great friends and wonderful mentors.
The RCMP detachment will host the position until an officer who currently holds the position of Sergeant applies. If there is no interest then the promotion will be made available to any Corporal looking to advance. Keays speculates that the position would be filled before July.
Sgt. Keays said that he will miss how people waved at him when he first came to the community, something unexpected for an officer from a larger city.
“And I’ll miss the genuinely warm, law-abiding people in the community,” said Keays.
“It’s pretty sad,” said Gerry Thiessen, mayor of Vanderhoof. “He came into our town and he was a young man with lots of enthusiasm and he developed a strong support with the detachment. So are we sad to see him go? Yeah but we’ll work from here and continue to work with the RCMP in finding a replacement.”
Some of the bigger cases that Sgt. Keays has worked during his time here in Vanderhoof include the case of missing Madison Scott as well as the double homicide that occurred over a year ago.
There are a few people in the community that Sgt. Keays would like to thank including former Saik’uz chief Jackie Thomas, current Chief Stanley Thomas, Saik’uz councillor Benjie Alexis, Mayor Gerry Thiessen, Area F Representative Jerry Petersen, Fire Chief Joe Pacheco, Omineca Safe Home coordinator Sylvia Byron and NVSS principal Ken Young.
Keays will be leaving Vanderhoof and beginning his new position as Staff Sergeant in Fort McMurray on the first of February. He will be in charge of one of four watches as a watch commander in a detachment led by three commanding officers.
The position holds many new challenges for Keays but he looks forward to taking them on and won’t forget the lessons learned and the hard work done by everyone in the Vanderhoof detachment.