Tracy Holmes photo Sgt. Joel Glen in his office at White Rock detachment last week.

White Rock sergeant says policing ‘is all I ever wanted to do’

Sgt. Joel Glen takes post in Kelowna

Human nature can be a tough thing to comprehend at the best of times, but Joel Glen remembers when he thought policing would help him understand at least a little better why some people do the things they do.

He named domestic assaults as a prime example – surely being a officer would answer questions around such often-brutal incidents of violence?

But even after more than two decades of investigating those and other files, Glen said that simply hasn’t been the case.

“I thought being a cop, I’d get to understand human nature better, but this job’s made it way worse,” he said last week, during an interview at the White Rock detachment.

“Even now, there’s still things that happen where you say… ‘I can’t believe you just did that. How can you do that to somebody you love?’”

The disconnect never swayed his passion for the job.

Glen, who grew up in Vernon, has been with the RCMP for 21 years. He ended nearly four years as sergeant at White Rock’s detachment last week, after accepting an offer to take a post in Kelowna, effective June 11.

At 51, Glen says this next chapter of his career will take him away from what’s been a great place to work – but it’ll also take him right back to where he wants to be.

“I really am looking forward to it,” the affable officer said of the general-duty position that he accepted in January.

“I think, in my heart, I’m more of a street cop as opposed to an administrator. It’ll be fun.”

The sergeant marked his last day at the seaside city’s detachment on May 24.

In an interview two days prior, Glen – who has lived on the Semiahmoo Peninsula with his wife and three children for 24 years – described a diverse career that’s included far more than domestic-assault investigations. It’s taken him from municipal-detachment posts, to stints with a pair of the Mounties’ integrated teams, including targeting auto crime.

He arrived in White Rock after four years as a unit commander with the Integrated Sexual Predator Observation Team, a unit that was created in 2005 to monitor sexual predators who have been recently released from custody, to ensure they comply with probation orders and bail conditions.

Regardless of where he was posted or what point of his career he was at, Glen said there’s been no shortage of interesting files and incidents.

In Langley, he had a butcher knife thrown at him by a suspect he’d tracked to a stairwell while investigating a domestic incident. He received a medal of bravery for his response to that 2009 incident.

He broke his hand – to a degree that required surgery – in a fight that ensued with a suspect during a stolen-car investigation.

And, he had a stinging encounter with a barbed-wire fence while pursuing a suspect in Walnut Grove.

Not to mention sundry other “bumps and bruises.”

For those with any doubt, the City of White Rock, said Glen, is “definitely not immune to big-city problems.”

He named drive-by shootings and sex assaults as among files that have been investigated over the past four years as evidence of the claim. He’s also warned residents about tax and relationship scams, and logged reports of shots-fired.

And of course, the massive May 2016 fire in Five Corners – which remains under police investigation, as the quest to identify and locate the arsonist who set the blaze continues.

There’s also cases that warm the heart, such as Glen’s first call-out after arriving in White Rock: to assist in the rescue of a beached seal pup, after the mammal was found stranded near the white rock.

Out of everything, Glen said the toughest part of policing for him, has been when he’s had to tell parents their child has died.

But he’s never doubted his career choice.

“I’ve wanted to be a cop since I was a little kid. It’s all I ever wanted to do.”

Glen’s seat at the White Rock detachment has been filled by Sgt. Rob Dixon, from the Surrey detachment’s major crimes unit. Dixon was among officers cited for heroism and outstanding service in 2016.

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