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Jason Bayda ‘ecstatic’ to be named permanent commander of Osoyoos RCMP Detachment, along with promotion to sergeant
Jason Bayda has long been the acting commanding officer of the Osoyoos RCMP Detachment, but now that position has become permanent – along with a promotion in rank to sergeant.
“We just found out on Friday (Feb. 3),” he said. “I was ecstatic to hear the news.”
Sgt. Bayda, 45, who started his RCMP career in 2001 and came to Osoyoos in May of 2009, has served as acting commander over several stretches.
He acted as commander in 2015 following the departure of Sgt. Kevin Schur and prior to the arrival in June 2015 of Sgt. Randy Bosch.
After Bosch was seriously injured in a May 2016 vehicle accident, Bayda again stepped up as acting commander.
Bayda said that when it became clear the position was vacant, and the RCMP requested applications, he applied.
“I wanted to be able to continue on with the successes we had been having here,” he said. “I just absolutely love this town.”
In early December, he knew he was short listed, but he heard no rumours or rumblings that he had the promotion until last Friday.
Bayda said his love for Osoyoos is in part because of the good relationship he has with Mayor Sue McKortoff and other members of council, as well as with the wider community.
“I know many people here,” he said. “It really has become home and my family wants to stay here. This gives us the opportunity to do that and continue doing what I love.”
Bayda said he expects there will be a job posting to fill the second-in-command corporal position that he had previously, but he said that hasn’t yet been confirmed.
The story of how Bayda became a police officer and rose to his new position has taken some unusual twists through his life.
Bayda said he knew as early as Kindergarten that he wanted to be a police officer. And that’s what he drew when teachers asked him to draw pictures of what he wanted to be when he grew up.
But his career took a different twist when he finished high school and went on to the British Columbia Institute of Technology. He then went to work for the forerunner of FortisBC natural gas.
“I had a really good job working for the gas utility,” he said. “But I always had this inkling that I really wanted to do policing.”
He admits he was hesitant to apply because he feared that if he was turned down, it would be the end of his dream.
As he got older, he realized that the dream would never come to fruition unless he took the plunge.
After he and his wife, Rebecca, attended an information session with the RCMP, she asked him what he thought. He told her he had a strange feeling that everything they were describing was what he could bring to the position.
She told him she was thinking exactly the same thing, and she said she was confident he would get in.
“And so we made the choice, it really was a family choice, that I was going to apply,” recalls Bayda. “I was successful and couldn’t be happer.”
Bayda grew up on Vancouver Island in Port Alberni and Nanaimo, and was lucky that his first posting was in Nanaimo.
He was there from 2001 to 2007, starting in general duty and then moving to the criminal intelligence section.
“I came up for transfer and I was fortunate to get Lytton, which is a fantastic community,” he said. “I absolutely loved my time there.”
But then he was offered a promotion and a chance to come to Osoyoos.
“When you hear about Osoyoos, you certainly can’t turn that one down,” said Bayda.
Asked about how crime has changed since he’s been in Osoyoos, Bayda said this community isn’t crime-ridden like many other places.
“We have the same crimes that all other towns and cities have, but just on a much lower scale,” he said. “We have certain people in this town that we know are involved in crime, and some of them have gotten away with it for a little bit too long.”
Bayda said he plans to focus on these offenders, but he emphasizes that overall Osoyoos is a safe community.
Asked about his policing philosophy, Bayda emphasizes the importance of police working with the community.
“The community is your eyes and ears,” he said. “We can’t do this job without the community support, without them calling us when they see things.”
The older approach of police was to want to do everything, but that’s not realistic, he said.
“We need the community to work with us,” he said. “My philosophy would be for our members to work with the community as one large team. I think we can have a lot of success.”