New top cop announced for Vernon

Insp. Shawna Baher brings with her 26 years of RCMP experience to Vernon-North Okanagan detachment

Insp. Shawna Baher has been selected as the new Vernon-North Okanagan regional RCMP detachment commander.

Baher takes over from Supt. Jim McNamara, who retired earlier this year.

City of Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund, District of Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick, and City of Vernon CAO Will Pearce joined RCMP representatives in the selection and interview process. Their recommendation was endorsed by the Commissioner of the RCMP in Ottawa.

“After a rigorous application and interview process, I am pleased to welcome Insp. Shawna Baher to the community and to the position of detachment commander for the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP detachment,” said Mund.

“I look forward to working closely with Insp. Baher as she moves into her new role and continues the tradition of strong vision and leadership at the detachment. My thanks to acting Supt. Gord Stewart for his leadership over the past months and during the transition to the new detachment commander.”

Said Garlick: “I believe that the selection committee made a very good choice in deciding upon the successful candidate. The region is very fortunate to have Insp. Baher coming to head up the Vernon-North Okanagan regional RCMP detachment as the new commander.”

The regional detachment serves a diverse area including Vernon, Coldstream, Spallumcheen, Armstrong, Enderby, Lumby, Falkland and the Splatsin and Okanagan First Nations.

The BC RCMP’s Southeast District Commander, Chief Supt. Brad Haugli, couldn’t agree more with both mayors’ sentiments.

“Insp. Baher has a vast and diverse background in operational policing across the province and is familiar with the varied challenges faced by large and small communities similar to those served by the detachment,” said Haugli. “I know that she will continue to build on and expand the numerous initiatives already underway in the North Okanagan area.”

Baher has been in charge of Proactive Enforcement in Surrey Detachment which encompasses the Drug Unit, Gang Task Force, Property Crime/Auto Crime Teams, Traffic Enforcement, Criminal Crash Investigative Teams and Criminal Intelligence Unit.

She is a 26-year veteran of the RCMP and has held operational and specialized positions in Nanaimo, North Cowichan/Duncan Detachment and Penticton prior to Surrey, including in drug investigations and organized crime.

Baher is an expert witness in provincial and Supreme Court in relation to drugs and is a subject matter expert in relationship to fentanyl and associated analogues. She has actively addressed the opiate crisis by forming new initiatives and being pro-actively involved with other stakeholders in the Lower Mainland. She is very knowledgeable in issues impacting vulnerable populations and anticipates working with stakeholders within the North Okanagan communities to address these issues locally.

“I am very much looking forward to returning to the Southeast District and working with the communities served by the Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP,” said Baher. “I am excited to live in and be involved with such a beautiful and vibrant community.”

No start date has been announced.

Insp. Baher will formally be promoted to the rank of superintendent once she assumes the role and responsibilities in Vernon-North Okanagan.

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