New sergeant plans to engage with community
There’s a new sheriff in town.
Sergeant, to be precise.
But don’t let the idiom fool you: Rick Bidaisee is a community-first cop.
“I buy into the philosophy of working together to make a safe community,” he said. “I want to be part of the team.”
Sg.t Bidaisee grew up in the Caribbean. Having moved to Canada as a young man, he didn’t get into police work until relatively late in life. Although he had been a volunteer emergency services worker and auxiliary police officer, Bidaisee didn’t officially put on the the badge until he was 36.
Now 52-years-old, Bidaisee has done stints in Stoney Plain, Drayton Valley and Whitecourt, where he was an operations sergeant. In Edson, he spent six years as a plainclothes police officer, conducting investigations and familiarizing himself further with the region’s “pitfalls,” as he put it.
“I’ve seen my share of the downtrodden and addictions,” he said. “My view is ‘how can we provide tools and resources for people that need it?’'
That viewpoint isn’t always popular amongst those who take a more hardline approach to combatting the drug trade. But Bidaisee has seen enough despair and anguish over the years that he knows a heavy hand in these cases rarely works.
“I’ve seen things that people are not meant to see or experience,” he said. “It’s an illness. I don’t judge.”
Bidaisee’s community-policing mandate is a good way to make sure citizens don’t judge, either; he said that if there’s something that he’d like people to remember about RCMP members, it’s that they’re people first, police officers second.
“They’re people. They’re passionate about their communities, about what they represent,” he said. “They’re proud of the country they live in, they’re proud to be Canadian.”
Bidaisee counts himself among the proud, too. He feels fortunate to have raised two children with his wife. He feels lucky to remain close to friends in all of the communities he’s worked. And he certainly doesn’t take it for granted that he now lives in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
“Look at where we live,” he said.
That feeling was particularly acute on just his sixth shift. Walking around town, he was pleasantly surprised by all the people who approached him to say hello.
“I thought ‘I could get used to this,’” he said.
By hitting the streets, Bidaisee was leading by example. He said he wants local members to have a strong community presence. He wants the agency to be accessible. He wants the RCMP to be visible.
“I want the community to feel that we’re part of their community,” he said.
Bidaisee takes over the top cop role from Cpl. Ryan Gardiner, who was acting in the position since Sgt. Dave Maludzinski retired.
Having vacationed in Jasper for many years, not only is Bidaisee looking forward to get his feet wet on Jasper’s various community boards and committees, but he’s excited to get into his hiking boots.
“This is a dream come true, to become detachment commander in Jasper,” he said.