A new commander has been chosen for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP.
Inspector Shawna Baher will take over the position vacated by retiring Superintendent Jim McNamara.
No formal start date has yet been set.
“I am very much looking forward to returning to the Southeast District and working with the communities served by the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. I am excited to live in and be involved with such a beautiful and vibrant community,” says Baher.
Pictured: Inspector Shawna Baher, incoming commander of Vernon North Okanagan RCMP (Twitter)
Baher will formally be promoted to the rank of Superintendent once she assumes her job in Vernon.
Baher has been in charge of Proactive Enforcement in Surrey Detachment which involves 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, 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,” says a City of Vernon news release. “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.”
Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund, who was part of the committee to interview the applicants, says he looks forward to working closely with Insp. Baher as she moves into her new role and continues what he calls the “tradition of strong vision and leadership at the detachment.”
Baher is believed to be the first woman to hold the top position at the Vernon detachment.
Mund says Baher was the most qualified applicant.
“It’s who can do the best job, and it doesn’t matter who it is. It’s their qualifications and what they bring to the table. I think she is going to be a great superintendent,” Mund tells Beach Radio News.
Mund is also thanking Acting Superintendent Gord Stewart for his leadership over the past months and during the transition to the new detachment commander.
Baher will be in charge of a regional detachment that serves Vernon, Coldstream, Spallumcheen, Armstrong, Enderby, Lumby, Falkland and the Splatsin and Okanagan First Nations.