The new Grand Forks RCMP non-commissioned officer is settling in and enjoying the area.
Cpl. Philip Crack started in town on Nov. 18 after transferring from Terrace where he worked for West Pacific Region Traffic Services. Crack is taking over from Cpl. Richard Lanz, who is retiring in January. As well, a new staff sergeant is expected to arrive in January.
“I was the corporal in charge of the integrated road safety unit,” said Crack. “We were responsible for strictly doing traffic enforcement.”
Crack, who moved to Grand Forks with his wife and two school-aged children, said he is enjoying the area so far. “People are very friendly,” he said. “Everyone is very welcoming and appreciative.”
Crack, who grew up in Merritt, said he was in Terrace on a “limited duration post” and after four years he was able to pick where he wanted to go. “Grand Forks was definitely on my list of places we’d like to go so we could be closer to my folks who are in the Kamloops area,” he said.
Crack started with the RCMP in 2000 and has been with the force for 11-1/2 years. He started in the training depot in Regina, moved on to Fort St. John and then over to Logan Lake. “Both of those were general duty similar to Grand Forks,” he said.
Crack describes his policing method as being proactive. He believes in going out and finding problems while they occur rather than standing around waiting for a call. “The integrated road safety unit I was involved with was proactive,” he said. “We went out and found things. It was very effective. For the unit, we were averaging 20-30 impaired a year with two members on the road as well as many other associated problems with driving, drug trafficking and things like that.”
There were many issues in and around Terrace that Crack and his colleagues had to deal with, mainly around major industrial projects such as various pipelines. “Everyone’s heard of Enbridge and natural gas pipelines going through the area,” he said. “Because it’s this main central hub for that, there is a lot of money and an influx of outside workers who have no ties to the community. With no real interest in the community, they didn’t really care what happened to the community; not like here where everyone seems very invested in the community.”
Crack said that Grand Forks is similar to other same-size communities in that police deal with break and enters, assaults, impaired drivers. “I understand summer gets very busy with, again, the influx of people from outside the area who have no investment in the area,” he said. “They don’t really care what they do because, ‘hey, I’m never going to see these people again.’”
Crack will take over from Cpl. Lanz as the Operational NCO for the Grand Forks detachment. “I’ll be in charge of the operational side of the detachment,” he said. “I’ll be monitoring the investigations and making sure they’re done in a timely and accurate manner and that we cover all the bases. I’ll deal with Crown Counsel and other agencies. I’ll be the face-to-face contact person for the RCMP here.”
CPL. RICHARD LANZ RETIRES
After six and a half years in Grand Forks, the top cop in town is retiring.
The last day for Cpl. Richard Lanz, who has been with the RCMP for a total of 34 years, will be Jan. 15. Replacing Lanz as the operational non-commissioned officer (NCO) in Grand Forks will be Cpl. Philip Crack. Lanz has also filled the role of detachment supervisor in Grand Forks and Midway since Sgt. Jim Harrison transferred to Kelowna last spring.
“I’m passing the torch to somebody else,” said Lanz. “I’ve enjoyed my time here and we plan on staying.”
After graduating from the RCMP training depot in Regina, Sask. Lanz came to B.C. in 1982 where he started his career in Kimberley. After that, Lanz’s career took him around the province to Tumbler Ridge, Armstrong, Valemount, Ashcroft and Burns Lake before coming to Grand Forks.
Although each community had its own charm, Lanz likes Grand Forks and the Boundary and plans to stay here in retirement with his wife. “The weather is fabulous,” he said. “You’ve got lots going on. You’ve got the lake nearby. You’ve got golf courses. It’s people friendly. Like I said, the weather is great, especially after being up north for so long.”
Lanz doesn’t have many specific plans for retirement other than to “enjoy life.” “Camping, fishing, golfing, sightseeing,” he said. “We’d like to go see the kids more often.”
They do plan on taking a trip across Canada in the near future. “We haven’t seen Eastern Canada so that was our plan upon retirement,” he said. “We want to hook on the trailer and go.”
Lanz has enjoyed all the different aspects of police work and he figures he has dealt with pretty much almost everything.
“I’ve been involved with everything from shoplifting to homicides,” he said. “I’ve been in charge in several detachments in an acting capacity over my years of service. I’ve enjoyed the whole aspect of it. You get to deal with people and everyone’s different; everybody’s personality is different. Doing the investigations some were a challenge and some were easy. Some investigations you had to dig a little deeper to come to a conclusion but it was all very interesting.”
Being an RCMP officer means doing many different tasks, said Lanz. “Anywhere from stopping traffic to investigating homicides and interviewing people,” he said. “We have different things here like the boat out at Christina Lake. So you get to go out and go on that. So you have many different things.”
From early on, Lanz went into the RCMP wanting to help people. “I’ve enjoyed it, right to the last day,” he said. “Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
Throughout his career Lanz has worked in small communities. As far as crime goes, Grand Forks is similar to the other places he has worked in. “I’m not a big city person,” said Lanz. “In the small community you don’t have the big city atmosphere and crime. We still have it up here but not on the scale of the big places. It was a little more challenging when I was in Burns Lake because we were dealing with a little different type of policing with the First Nations reserves. It can be a bit more violent.”
A new staff sergeant is expected to arrive in Grand Forks in mid-January from New Aiyansh, B.C.
That person would oversee the Grand Forks and Midway RCMP detachments. Sgt. Harrison now works out of the Kelowna RCMP detachment as an advisory NCO reporting to the chief superintendent. He acts as the district liaison with detachment commanders in the Kootenay Boundary region.