Red Deer’s new police chief is on the job

Supt. Ken Foster started his new job today leading Red Deer’s RCMP detachment

It’s like coming home for Red Deer RCMP detachment’s new boss.

Supt. Ken Foster moved to Innisfail in high school and still has a lot of family in Central Alberta, including his mother and sister in Red Deer.

“I’m very familiar with the area. I spent pretty much all my life as a youth around the area, between Innisfail and Calgary,” said Foster, 50.

“It’s very exciting. Already in the few days I’ve been here I’ve run into people I hadn’t seen in many years in stores and restaurants.

“It’s kind of nice.”

Like anyone on his first day on the job, Foster, was busy getting his computer passwords, email and other details sorted out when he took a few minutes to speak with the Red Deer Advocate.

The next few days and weeks will be spent getting a handle on the key issues and priorities for the busy detachment. Not unlike an incoming corporate CEO, Foster will spend time finding out who does what and begin building relationships with his new staff who are, no doubt, curious to see what the new guy is like.

For Foster, the Red Deer posting was just a 90-minute highway drive from his last job as detachment commander in St. Albert. He has spent much of his career policing in Alberta.

“Police work is police work. It’s just that some places have a little more of it, some have less. They all have their issues and some are a little more complex than others.”

It’s no secret that Red Deer has been hit harder than some communities by Alberta’s economic downturn and that has helped drive up crime levels, he said. But he senses there is a real appetite among community agencies to work together with enforcement.

Foster said as a young man he had always been drawn towards a career in emergency services. It was his connections with Innisfail police through sports that helped him make the choice to don the red serge.

“Some of the RCMP really became mentors,” he said. As well, he and his wife have each had an uncle in the Mounties.

His first posting was in Mission, B.C. and in a 25-year career he has overseen numerous detachments in the Yukon, Division Air Services, Forensic Identification Section, Traffic Section, Police Dog Section and Relief Unit.

“The beauty of the RCMP, and what attracted me to the RCMP versus other police forces, is there is such a variety of different jobs and there’s such a variety of different locations throughout Canada,” he said.

“I think you grow professionally and you can bring better perspective when you have various experiences in different jobs throughout the country.

“But at the heart, detachment policing is what I’ve done the most of and, I guess, certainly that’s my wheelhouse, that’s what I’m more interested in.”

Foster has been married for 29 years and enjoys hiking, cycling, snowshoeing, curling and fishing.

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