By Angela Long
July 19 2016
He’s braved the rains to celebrate Canada Day in Minden andcast a line for Kids and Cops and Canadian Tire Fishing Days. StaffSergeant Richard Riopelle the new detachment commander for theHaliburton Highlands OPP isn’t wasting any time doing what he saysis one of the most important duties of an officer – becominginvolved in the community.
On July 15 two weeks from the day Riopelle reported for duty atthe Minden detachment he met with the community’s media outletsfor a meet and greet.
Media relations officer Const. Tim Negus introduced Riopelle.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to have staff living in the area”he said.
Riopelle is no stranger to the Haliburton Highlands. He grew up ina small town just two hours east of Haliburton. It was there hiscareer path became clear.
“I’ve always wanted to become a police officer” he said.
After a stint with the Canada Border Services Agency Riopellejoined the OPP. For the past 17 years he has served from the streetsof southwestern Ontario’s Essex County to the northwestern SiouxLookout. In 2012 he was promoted to staff sergeant of East Algoma.
In a recent press release Riopelle stated “My entire familyand I are looking forward to our future with the Haliburton HighlandsDetachment members and the opportunity to live within and be part ofsuch a beautiful and close community.”
At the meet and greet Riopelle expanded on this sentiment.
“This is a place we sought out as a family” he said.
It’s a place where he can go snowmobiling or ATVing (“I’m anoutdoors person” he said) a place close enough to universitieswhere his triplet daughters can attend. It’s a place where hisfamily is building a home a home they hope will become permanent.
Riopelle’s experiences serving from cities to remote communitieshave given him a “broad perspective” he said and a knowledge of“all aspects of front-line policing.” He hopes to apply thisknowledge to Haliburton County creating a more collaborativeapproach to policing through initiatives to engage with both themedia and citizens in an environment “as transparent as possible.”
“We need each other” he said.
Riopelle views policing as part of a much bigger web of communityservices. Hospitals firefighters the media – all are part of“essential human services” with the same interests at heart.
“Our community needs us to work together to provide thoseessential human services” Riopelle said planning to get off on theright foot and start building strong working relationships.
The meet and greet which included refreshments and a tour of thepolice station was one step in that direction.