While Nelson police officers were engaged in the high speed pursuit that would ultimately end with the capture of bank robber Andrew Stevenson in 2014, former Chief Wayne Holland was manning a roadblock just outside of town.
“It’s funny, here we had the chief of our police department taking point at a roadblock. Can you imagine the chief of Vancouver doing that? He has 1,400 people under him.
“But in Nelson you’re expected to do everything, and that’s exactly what Chief Holland did,” current Chief Paul Burkart told the Star, following news that Holland had been awarded the Order of Merit of the Police Forces at a ceremony in December.
According to a news release, the award “honours the leadership and exceptional service or distinctive merit displayed by themen and women of the Canadian Police Services, and recognizes their commitment to this country.”
“He always told me the chief’s job here in Nelson is more difficult, because not only are you making the big decisions aboutbudget and deployment and manpower, you’re also running out in your car because you’re the only backup on shift. It’s a tough job.”
But Burkart figures Holland did it well.
“It was a real coup for us, getting someone of his pedigree. He knew how big city policing happens, and he brought that here to the Kootenays.
“He brought professionalism and innovation, and he made us better. And when we’re better, we’re better to serve our community.”
Burkart watched a live-stream of the ceremony at the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, and he said Holland was visibly moved.
“You’d never get it from the guy, but seeing him up there on stage seated two seats away from the Governor General, you couldtell he was proud to be up there representing the Nelson Police Department.”