Sgt. Philippe Cyr has arrived to take command of the RCMP Detachment in Hay River.
And he brings along a lot of experience as a Mountie in various aspects of policing.
“I have isolation experience, I got detachment experience, I got major crime experience, I got federal experience,” he said, noting that he even worked as a customs officer for three summers as a student before joining the RCMP.
Cyr’s list of postings in his 13 full years as a Mountie covers diverse parts of the country.
His policing career started in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., where he did some federal work for Customs and Excise, some drug work and some immigration work.
After that, he was posted to the detachment in Placentia, Newfoundland, and then a two-officer detachment in Forteau, Labrador.
His next posting was four years in Moncton, N.B., where he gained experience working on major crimes before being promoted to corporal.
The next step was a promotion to sergeant two years ago and a posting in Tuktoyaktuk.
And it is from Tuktoyaktuk that he arrived in Hay River and began working on Aug. 30, but his new posting is not just by chance.
“When I was in Moncton and I got promoted to Tuk, I actually asked my inspector if I could go to Hay River after,” he said. “Because I’m French and my daughter, I want her to go to French school, and she’s going to Ecole Boreale. So that works out perfectly for my family. So I’m very happy to be here.”
Cyr said, because of his French heritage, a French school is the most important thing in his family.
“Like it’s either here or Yellowknife, and I’d rather not go to Yellowknife, only because I like small-town policing,” he said.
Cyr was literally born into the Mounties, because both his father and mother were both RCMP officers.
“There was no other option for me,” he joked.
However, he said his parents – now retired from the force – didn’t want him to become a Mountie.
“I chose that myself,” he said. “They didn’t want me to move away.”
Along with his parents, his mother’s brother is a Mountie, a cousin is a Mountie, and two of his uncles are members of the provincial police force in Quebec.
“It’s absolutely what I chose,” Cyr said of his decision to become a police officer. “This is all I know and this is all I want.”
Cyr was born in Montreal but was only there as an infant, and he considers Ottawa to be his hometown.
In Hay River, he said he likes the amenities and services the town offers, along with the French school, although he has arrived at a time when the arena and curling club are being rebuilt.
“That really took a toll on my daughter,” he said. “She was really looking forward to playing hockey and skating. I was looking forward to curling.”
Cyr arrived in town with his wife and their two children.
The new sergeant said he is still learning about Hay River and still in the process of settling into his office, although he has some general objectives.
“My goal here is to keep the membership motivated to work,” he said, noting that the members of the detachment are already extremely busy.
While he has still to establish priorities, Cyr knows there is a drug problem to tackle in the community.
“I know that that’s going to be part of my expectations to try to focus on,” he said.
Plus, Cyr wants to network with everybody, especially the municipal councils in Hay River and Enterprise, and the band council of K’atlodeeche First Nation, and make sure elected officials are kept in the loop of how things are going with the RCMP.
“I really want to be part of the community,” he said. “I don’t want to be seen as the sergeant. I want to be seen as a part of the community.”