Sgt. Mark Smaill has left his position as detachment commander of the Houston RCMP detachment for a similar position in Smithers. And with that, comes a bump in rank to Staff Sergeant.
He was commander of the Houston detachment since January 2020.
Smaill’s move to Smithers, effective as of Aug. 8, continues a career of being very familiar with policing in the Northwest having spent the first six years of his career in Houston as a constable before transferring to Prince Rupert to be a member of the force’s coastal police unit.
He was there until 2016 and then spent one year on a variety of crime prevention and community policing initiatives before returning to Houston as a corporal in 2018 to be the detachment’s operations non-commissioned officer responsible for day-to-day administrative and logistical tasks.
Born in Manitoba, Smaill was a firefighter with the Saskatoon Fire Department for 10 years before joining the RCMP.
“As a firefighter, a first responder, you’d go to a scene and when done, you’d come back, clean yourself up and wait for the next call,” Smaill said.
Watching the police in action as a first responder motivated Smaill to make the career change.
“I saw that the police were involved more with people afterward, helping them more and a lot of the time, making their lives better,” he said.
While in Houston Smaill continued developing local connections in the community.
One such community policing aspect took the form of having an officer go out one day a week with a Northern Health psychiatric nurse to visit people in the community to check on their well-being and whether they needed any assistance.
The idea, Smaill said, was to be proactive in helping prevent situations or circumstances which might require a more vigorous police and health service response.
The visits began during the first year of the pandemic when more people tended to be isolated and alone.
Smaill made his last official appearance before the District of Houston council at its Aug. 2 meeting where best wishes were extended.
“The District of Houston would like to thank Sgt. Smaill for his years of dedicated efforts towards connecting with, and serving our community. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” said District of Houston chief administrative officer Michael Dewar afterword.
Corporal Ryan Fillmore, the detachment’s second-in-command under Smaill, is now acting detachment commander pending a staffing decision by the RCMP.
– With files from Thom Barker