Lake Cowichan’s new top cop has a longstanding relationship with both the Cowichan Valley and resort community policing.
Sgt. Wes Olsen, the RCMP’s new Detachment Commander for Lake Cowichan, grew up in the Cowichan Valley, he said, attending high school and playing hockey alongside Dave and Doug Bodger.
He enlisted with the RCMP while living in Chemainus, a decision that led to Olsen spending the majority of his 20-plus year career policing lakeside vacation destinations in Manitoba.
Olsen’s first posting with the RCMP saw him spend the early 90s in the remote northern community of Leaf Rapids, Man., a one-time mining town on the Churchill River.
In October 1994, Olsen was reassigned to Falcon Lake, Man., a resort community on the southern reaches of Whiteshell Provincial Park, a stone’s throw from the Ontario border.
From Falcon Lake, Olsen moved to Headingley — a rural community on Winnipeg’s western outskirts— in February 1998, then on to Gimli, Man., in January of 2000 when he was promoted to Corporal.
Olsen spent the next half decade in Gimli — a lakeside community of 2,000 people an hour’s drive north of the provincial capital — policing a community whose claims to fame consist of it being the “largest settlement of Icelanders outside of Iceland” and home to Crown Royal whiskey.
“Gimli’s a fishing resort community on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg, so it has very big seasonal policing [requirements] similar to what we have here in Lake Cowichan,” Olsen said. “So I have a very long background in resort-type policing. Lake Cowichan’s right up my alley.”
Olsen moved to Winnipeg in 2005 to head the RCMP’s recruiting services for the province of Manitoba, returning to Gimli in May of 2006 after he was promoted to Sergeant.
Olsen’s return to Vancouver Island came in 2010, he said, when he was transferred to Courtenay to serve with the Comox Valley RCMP.
Sgt. Olsen’s first day on the job was Wednesday, Aug. 7, and he is “very happy to have the opportunity to live and work in Lake Cowichan.”