Vernon’s top cop is retiring.
Supt. Jim McNamara announced his retirement at Vernon city council Monday, prior to his last day Friday.
McNamara steps down following a 33-year career, the last eight in Vernon and the past two as the officer in charge of the detachment.
“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank mayor and council for all of the support I’ve had here in Vernon,” said McNamara, prior to presenting council with medals of appreciation, a trend he started within the detachment last year to recognize RCMP members and support staff for their excellent work.
“I want to ensure everyone the detachment is being left in very good hands. Insp. Gord Stewart will be the interim officer in charge while the RCMP goes through their selection process.”
McNamara spent his entire policing career in B.C.
Prior to coming to Vernon as the operations officer in charge of day-to-day operations, he worked in an advisory role for the RCMP in the Southeast District office in Kelowna.
McNamara also headed watch and operations commands, command of the tactical troop and oversaw crime prevention and victims services for a large Lower Mainland department.
One incident clearly stands out in his memory.
“Probably one of the most dramatic and dynamic situations that stands out for me about my time in Vernon was the Westside Road pursuit on July 31 of 2012 that originated in West Kelowna and eventually terminated just north of Vernon during which one of our officers was being shot at,” he said. “A very traumatic situation for many of our officers and employees.”
Coun. Juliette Cunningham thanks McNamara for his “passion and empathy that you foster in your department in terms of the social issues we deal with.”
Akbal Mund knew McNamara before he took over as mayor in 2015.
“He’s just a great gentleman to deal with,” said Mund. “I really appreciate our friendship, and, as mayor, I’ve got to see the work he actually has to do. We appreciate all the effort he’s put in and done for the Greater Vernon community.”
McNamara requested late in 2017 the city fund six new police officers for the Vernon-North Okanagan detachment as part of budget deliberations for Vernon’s five-year financial plan. The city granted the request.
“I take a lot of pride that I’ve experienced both in my operations officer role and as the officer in charge in working with such a dedicated group of officers, support staff and volunteers,” said McNamara. “I often said that it never ceased to amaze me how successful our people were at catching criminals and bringing them before the courts, regardless of any resource challenges we may have faced.”