RCMP inspector returns to his roots again
Our RCMP detachment’s Insp. Keith Bramhill grew up in Richmond, going to Thomas Kidd Elementary before moving to Ladner for high school. He has returned to Richmond twice.
From the mid 1990s until 2006, Bramhill worked closely with Richmond council and staff to establish the South Arm and Steveston police stations.
“Community policing strikes near to my heart,” Bramhill says.
He remembers fondly Steveston fixture, former Salmon Festival parade marshall, RCMP Const. Ed Ryhall.
“He was basically the town sheriff. He espouses everything I wanted to emulate working with Ed. He was such a wise man.”
Today, Bramhill is back from the regional office, where he covered inter-municipality and inter-service resources from Squamish to Boston Bar.
“I was responsible for all major police incidents (such as) a kidnapping, homicide, any time you needed an emergency response team, the dogs, air services,” Bramhill says.
“It was a wonderful job but when the opportunity came to come back to Richmond, I wanted to come back here to serve in community I grew up in,” Bramhill says, now, I am operations manager for YVR and OIC (officer in charge) of management services.”
“Right now we are looking at our resourcing plan to ensure we have sufficient people here to fill some of the proactive needs that we would like to get back to doing.
In my heart, my preference would be more of our officers decentralized and working at the stations. Our general duty officers do work out of them and our bike officers do work out of the community policing centres.”
But, he says, things have changed in Richmond since he left 12 years ago and he also recognizes resources have to be allocated accordingly.
“We now have an organized crime element in our community. We’re working diligently to reduce those areas of crime.”
He speaks of the establishment of quick response teams so all police forces in the region can work together responsively.
Gone are the days when simply driving out of the Richmond RCMP’s jurisdiction was enough to get away. Police services now work together.
“You have to be very fluid to where the bad guys are moving around the city,” Bramhill says. “Crime has changed a lot since the late 90s till now. We’ve had to evolve and change as well.”
Bramhill says policing and policing resources must be allocated accordingly.
Still, it’s clear that it’s not just about catching the bad guys. He speaks of working, “with our proactive teams with crime prevention.”
Of the duelling needs of organized/Internet crime and community policing stations, Bramhill says: “In a utopian world I would like to have both. We have to be mindful and respectful of tax dollars. I would love to have the stations fully-staffed.”
But, he says, the RCMP has had to look at the reallocation of funds based on changing criminals and how they operate.
“Having said that we, Richmond RCMP, fully support many of Richmond city council’s proposals to extending our community policing presence in East Richmond-Hamilton. It’s been raised by the community and city councillors. While we are working on it, we just don’t know what kind of police presence it might take.”
He said there are also discussions with the city for a larger space for a community station downtown where density is greatest.
Bramhill says his ideal would be community policing stations that offers full services like criminal record checks.
Asked what he likes about being back, Bramhill says, “How innovative and cutting-edge Richmond is and I enjoy the diversity of the community.”
And, as a self described, “car nut,” Bramhill explains his love of his old sports car.
“Dealing with a lot of traffic situations, the (emotional) stuff we take home—you can go home and tinker in the garage. It’s healthy. It’s great. It’s a lot of fun.”
“The message we want to get out to the public is, feel free to speak to a local police officer when you have the opportunity. We really appreciate communication. Please get involved--we have a good cadre of volunteers.”
“I’m really, really excited to be back in Richmond and working in conjunction with the City of Richmond, is very progressive in the way they support our local police force. I’m excited about a safer home, a safer community, keeping this the most livable city in Canada.”
And he says, “We have 252 officers here trying make that happen everyday.”