Staff Sgt. Andy Phillips has continued his journey up Island, trading Port McNeill for Port Hardy where he’s taking over from the acting Staff Sgt. Chris Voller.
Phillips has been in Port McNeill since 2016. Before that he spent two years with the small detachment in Sayward. He’s been posted in Tofino, Ucluelet and spent 10 years in Campbell River. His only off-Island assignment was two years in the Nass Valley with the Nisga’a First Nation.
Safe to say, Phillips loves the Island.
“For me it’s a no brainer – why would you not want to work in a place like this?”
Port Hardy is a competitive promotional posting. Phillips was chosen over several other candidates to gain the upwards and northward promotion from sergeant to staff sergeant ‘at the end of the road where adventure begins.’
As head of the Port McNeill detachment, Phillips responded to the Woss train derailment in 2017, where three Western Forest Service workers were killed when an 11-car train loaded with logs rolled unrestrained towards the unsuspecting workers. (The derailment was ultimately blamed on faulty couplings that allowed the 11 cars to separate from the braked rail car and Western was fined $29,049 for the deaths.)
“You got to see how the amazing community was to help people through that,” Phillips said.
The Port McNeill detachment is strongly focused on community policing, with events like the Christmas parade which started as a small gesture for seniors in the area, and turned into an annual celebration.
Port Hardy has over twice the rate of criminal offences and a larger population, but Phillips is confident in the direction the RCMP is headed in Port Hardy and is happy to stay in the area.
Phillips started mid-October to have a couple of weeks of overlap before Voller’s post ended. In Port McNeill, Cpl. Nathan Lingley is acting sergeant until Sgt. Curtis Davis from Lytton comes to take his new post in December.
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