The Sooke RCMP detachment is undergoing a change in personnel.
Cpl. Andrew Baylis has been promoted to sergeant and is leaving the detachment to work in Penticton. He takes on his new role beginning in June.
No replacement has been announced.
Having been with the Sooke detachment for more than three years as the watch commander, Baylis looks forward to his next job with optimism.
He will always miss Sooke, though.
“It’s kind of bittersweet. Sooke was great, we loved it here, it’s an amazing community and you can’t beat the weather, the outdoor activities, hiking and all that,” Baylis said.
“We made a lot of good friends and connections, but now we’re off to new adventures.”
Originally from Victoria, Baylis lived in Sooke for five years before moving up Island. At age 21, he left his Island nest in pursuit of a policing career.
Since then, he’s gotten around. He started off as an RCMP officer in Quesnel, south of Prince George, then Dease Lake near the Yukon border. After that, he went as far as Masset on Haida Gwaii, before ending up in Sooke.
In the years being here, Baylis said the highlights were the friends he made, and the natural beauty of the area, as well as going on hikes with his wife and kids around Juan de Fuca.
As a watch commander, he supervised seven constables, directing their area of coverage and helping them along with their investigations. He said the biggest challenge was to make do with limited resources and cover as vast an area as Sooke’s.
“Shuffling around officers if we were short-handed on a special event out in Jordan River or Port Renfrew was a challenge, but we’re trying to provide the best service we can for everybody that falls under the umbrella of the Sooke detachment,” he said, adding that part of that challenge was to mitigate risks that come along with members going out, and making sure they come back okay.
With the new job as the operational-support NCO in Penticton, that level of responsibility is even higher, and in a much bigger community.
“I’m excited about the challenges the new position will bring, new responsibilities, learning and developing, and furthering myself through those experiences,” he said.
Editor’s note: The previous version of this story contained several inaccuracies. Cpl. Andrew Baylis’ last name is spelled without the extra “s”, Cornell is actually Quesnel, Dean’s Lake is Dease Lake and Baylis was not a DARE supervisor. These corrections have since been made.