The man who has led New Brunswick RCMP through some of its most difficult years has decided to call it a career.
Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown has announced he will retire in early June on a day he’s chosen because of its deep, personal significance.
READ MORE: Widow of fallen Moncton RCMP officer leaves mark on Mountie memorial
Brown has been Commanding Officer at J Division in New Brunswick for three years, but he’s dealt with more issues during that time that some of his counterparts would in a lifetime.
“Essentially, you’ll know when the time is right and it’s kind of like fishing, you know when you hit one and the time was right,” Brown said.
Brown’s last day on the job will be June 4, the same day a monument will be unveiled in Moncton marking the second anniversary of the tragic shootings that claimed the lives of RCMP officers Doug Larche, David Ross and Fabrice Gevaudan.
“You don’t just move on from that,” Brown said. “It’s part of me, its part of the organization, it’s part of the time when I was here and June 4 was the right date.”
Some might say that would bring back hurtful memories, but Brown says he also sees it as a time his community came together.
“The police, the community, the media, social media, everybody worked together and that, to me, is positive.”
“Losing three members , yeah that will always be there,” said Brown. “It’s a big one but you hope to get through it like everybody else.”
Many issues faced the force during his tenure
Brown spoke at length about other serious issues the force has faced in the last three years, including clashes with first nations communities over shale gas fracking in 2013, the tragic deaths of the Barthe brothers in Campbellton, and the October 2014 death of Cpl. Ron Francis.
Francis, a member of Kingsclear First Nation took his own life while on medical leave from the RCMP. His story made national headlines for his smoking of medical marijuana while in uniform.
Brown said he was hurt and disappointed by that outcome.
“A lot of people made that, or tried to turn that into a marijuana issue —; a medical marijuana issue,” Brown said. “It wasn’t. It was a mental health issue and Ron, to his credit, raised that awareness.”
Brown says there are challenges ahead in policing because of cash strapped governments. He says that means a need to focus on different ways of doing police work.
“It’s not about having a cop on every corner —; we cant afford a cop on every corner —; but we need the right cop on the right corner.”
Brown says his proudest moments include giving his son his police badge 12 years ago as well as the way the community came together following the Moncton shootings.