Detachment Commander looking to start new adventures
Traditionally, the Town of Blackfalds Council meetings are a space for debate, a space to bring forward information and make decisions that benefit the growing community. However last week, the meeting was a setting for a significant farewell.
After many years, Blackfalds RCMP Detachment Commander and Staff Sergeant Ken Morrison has decided to leave the life of law enforcement and formally announced his retirement to Council on January 9, 2018.
“It is with a heavy heart, in some ways, that I would like to formally announce my retirement after 33 years of service.”
Noticeably choked up during the announcement, Morrison took the time to reflect on his career and when he first started out in Blackfalds five years ago, the same place where he stood last week, the public podium in Council chambers.
A bittersweet atmosphere filled the Council chambers as he spoke fond words of Blackfalds and how proud he had become of the Town.
“I have to say it’s been an honour to serve the Town of Blackfalds as the Detachment Commander for the last five years. I could not imagine a better location to complete my career as an RCMP officer. To say this has been the highlight of my career will be putting it mildly.
“I have had an excellent career but it is time for me to seek out new adventures. I thank you council and past council for the incredible support you have shown the police and myself.”
Morrison moved to Alberta from the Northwest Territories where he had worked as an RCMP for 21 years. The adjustment was brought on by a curiousity for Blackfalds and an interest in a change of scenery.
“I happened to notice a few places being advertised and Blackfalds interested me. I saw that it was a vibrant, growing community and was in an excellent location close to Red Deer, close to the two large cities and I thought what better place to make home.”
The Staff Sergeant owes his long career in the RCMP to the attributes like those of many police officers – the want and the need for helping those who cannot fight for themselves.
“I wanted to make a difference, I wanted to work with people. I’ve always enjoyed being actively involved in the community and being a problem solver. Being able to help people when they are in their darkest moments,” he explained. “I think that’s in large part of what police are - people bring their problems to us and we are invested in solving them.”
In the five years of working in Blackfalds, Morrison explained that the comradery that has been formed between the communities is something he noticed a change in, but said there is still room to form even stronger bonds.
“One of the thing I’ve seen really grow is working together with our partners such as Rural Crime Watch, Red Deer Crime Prevention Centre, our community Peace Officers both in the county and in the town working together all for a common purpose,” he said. “We’ve still got a long way to go, but the community engagement part is key in order to bring the crime down in the rural areas and the municipal areas. We need to know our neighbours and need to be aware of our surroundings so we can report those suspicious activities.”
Moving forward, Morrison said that future plans are not yet concrete, but he is looking forward for a change.
“It’s time to check out other things, other opportunities. I’m still fairly young so I think there’s many opportunities still out there for me. It’s time to turn it over to new blood and see how they can move forward with what we’ve built here already.”
Moved with pride and admiration for Morrison following the Staff Sergeant’s announcement, Mayor Richard Poole spoke before Council and expressed his well wishes for the RCMP officer.
“I wanted to let you know how extremely [grateful] we are for your services over the past years. You’re a leading example of what leadership is and I would very much like to thank you. I think I can say for council and for past council, thank you very much for your service and you will be sorely missed,” he said. “I think it’s a sign of great leadership that you leave people who will do everything you have done and will do it just as well. Thank you very much Staff Sergeant Morrison.”
In Morrison’s stead, Blackfalds RCMP Sergeant Whitney Benoit will take over as acting Detachment Commander. He believes Benoit will be the most appropriate person to fill his shoes for the time being.
“She’s been here for some time and she’s acted as a stand-in in the past, so I think she will do very well.”
Morrison said that although he won’t be donning the uniform, he will still be close by.
“Blackfalds is my home and I will continue to be an active member of the community and I look forward to my next adventure.”