Castlegar Top Cop retires
Castlegar RMP Sgt. Laurel Mathew retired last week after almost 28 years as police officer and nine years at the helm of the Castlegar detachment.
Mathew, who is originally from Sylvan Lake, said she was in the army reserves and planned to enlist – until she ended up serving at an RCMP Regimental dinner and spent some time talking with the members.
“It was just way more exciting,” she said, adding she’s never regretted the choice. “It’s pretty much been a 28-year adrenaline rush, going into work every day and not knowing what you’re in for.”
After just over a year of training in Montreal and Regina, she worked General Duty from 1992 to 2002, then Serious Crime from 2002 to 2006, when she was promoted to Corporal and ran a watch in Chilliwack. She said being promoted to Sargent to head up Castlegar brought her back to her roots.
“It totally turned me into a smaller-town girl again,” she said. “I love everything about Castlegar: the water, the trails, the people, the climate … just everything. It’s a super supportive community, and mayor and council, which is huge to a city detachment. I’ve got great members and great staff.”
Not content to be just rescuing people by day, in 2011 Mathew joined Kootenay Animal Assistance Program to rescue abandoned, abused and neglected animals, becoming president of the organization a couple of years later.
So what’s on tap for the top cop now?
“I’m going to take some time, continue with animal rescue, picking up abandoned kittens and puppies,” she said. “Everyone I know who has retired has said, ‘take a little down time,’ so that’s what I’m going to do.”
Taking over the reins will be Queen’s Cowboy Cpl. Brett Turner (perhaps better known as Dad of celebrated therapy dog Phoenix). Turner, 45, has been a police officer for almost 19 years.
“I’m happy, excited,” he said via a phone interview from Quebec, where he was working on the G-7 detail last week, protecting world leaders. “Castlegar is the most beautiful place I’ve ever worked.
“It’s a very welcoming environment to do police work,” he added. “Everyone in Castlegar should be extremely proud of the exceptional members and staff here.”