There’ll be a new boss at the helm of the Rimbey RCMP Detachment this summer as Sgt. Mark Groves, currently stationed in Whitehorse, Yukon, will make the trek south and is scheduled to arrive in mid to late august.
Groves began his policing career as a patrol constable for the Calgary Police Service in 1995 where he also worked in the General Investigation Section and the Organized Crime Section.
He was also one of the first members of a municipal police force to be near-automatically accepted into the RCMP based on his experience, and process that has since become commonplace.
Following his swearing-in to the national police force, Groves was immediately sent to his first posting in Dawson City, Yukon where he spent three years, beginning as a general duty constable before being transferred to Peslin, Yukon where he was promoted to the position of detachment commander.
After just over three years there, he was again transferred – this time to Whitehorse in the position of watch commander where he supervised all street patrol constables. He also worked in the Drug and Crime Awareness Program before his promotion to detachment sergeant in October of last year in charge of media and strategic communications for the division.
Groves said Rimbey is exactly what he and his family have been looking for.
“When we looked at moving to Alberta we were looking for a nice community with good schooling and recreation, and I was looking for that friendly, small-town atmosphere that I grew up in years ago so that I could raise my kids in that type of community,” Groves said in a telephone interview from Whitehorse. “So Rimbey just hit all of the points that we were looking for in a community so I put in a request for a transfer to Rimbey and that seems to have come through.”
Originally from High River, he said he has watching the situation in rural Alberta for the past while and waited patiently for the ideal situation to arise.
“For about the last few years I’ve been kind of watching and keeping an eye on that area and seeing as how my career transpired, everything kind of came together at the same time, so we’re really excited,” he said. “We’ll be there in time for the kids to start school and start our new life there.”
Married to his wife Zodie for 16 years, the Groves have two sons – McCoy, aged six, and five-year-old Garrett. The family was in Rimbey recently to purchase a house and check out the area and found they were very impressed with what they saw.
“We came down as a family last month to look for a property and spent about five days in the area. We are very excited with the parks and recreation facilities. We visited the school and spoke to the principal,” he said. “We met the officers at the detachment and the clerks and we’re very, very pleased with who we met. The cleanliness of the town really stood out and the friendly atmosphere in the coffee shops, on the streets and in the stores, so we’re very excited.”
The family enjoys camping and fishing with the icing on the cake being their love for horses which, as the new sergeant pointed out, fits like a hand in a glove given the tremendous interest in horse in this area.
This isn’t the first time Groves has been in Rimbey as he also paid a brief visit to the community 19 years ago while working as a conservation officer for summer employment while attending Great Falls University in Montana where he was in pursuit of a criminal justice degree.
“I was there once before. When I was going to university, I spent the summer working as a conservation officer and I had the opportunity to work with the conservation officer out of Ponoka at one point, and we went to Rimbey on a patrol,” he said. “So that was in 1990 and that was my first time in Rimbey and thought it was beautiful country.”
Groves also studied at the Lethbridge Community College before beginning his career as a police officer.
As for a particular philosophy on policing, he will stick to the tried and true policies of the RCMP that have made them one the world’s most outstanding police forces.
“That’s a really tough question because throughout my service I’ve always relied on the strong principles of the RCMP and guided by that, and I’ve kind of lived my life by that anyways with being compassionate, honest and with integrity and all those things, and I expect that out of everyone I work with,” Groves said. “Our focus right now is on safer homes and communities and I think that’s what we shoot for daily – to provide a service to our community that would better enhance all aspects of day-to-day life in that community and to promote that safer home and communities philosophy.”