RCMP150 O Division employees reflect on their service - Superintendent Wayne Isbester (retired)

In this Q&A, Superintendent Wayne Isbester (Retired) 0.1353/24071 helps to mark RCMP’s 150th anniversary by sharing some of his experiences as a police officer for the RCMP. His career spanned 35 years, from his graduation from Training Academy (Depot) in the class 1965/66 Troop C until he retired in the summer of 2000.

Tell me a little about your career?

When I started in 1966, I was posted to A Division (National Capital Region) Protective Services at Government House and Bank of Canada, as well as traffic patrol.

Two years later I went to Long Sault Detachment, then I was promoted to Corporal and was in charge of Brockville Detachment from 1973 to 1978. From there I went HQ in Ottawa and worked in the Customs & Excise and Commercial Crime sections until 1980. I was promoted again and was put in charge of Cornwall Detachment (A Division) from 1980 to 1986.  (This particular geographical area was eventually taken over by O Division a few years later).

I was commissioned to Inspector in 1986 and was posted to O Division Support Services, then as a Divisional Intelligence Officer in Toronto.  In 1991 I took on the position of Officer in Charge of O Division Federal Enforcement Branch.  In 1993 I became the Assistant Officer Commanding London.

I was promoted to Superintendent and my final posting was as the Officer in Charge of the O Division Criminal Intelligence Branch (1996-2000).

I retired to pension on July 3, 2000.

Were there any members or employees that made a positive difference in your service - mentored, provided invaluable support or knowledge, or inspired you?

Supt. Wayne Isbester (retired)

Probably my best mentor was retired Supt. L.G. Larose who was my manager and the corporal in charge when I went as a young, newly married constable, to Long Sault Detachment in October 1968. 

This very busy five-person detachment was on a border town with a large Reserve that was badly victimized by drug smuggling, human trafficking, and other criminality.  Drug enforcement amounted to 75% of our duties as I recall but we enforced the full gambit of federal statues and worked closely with local police and OPP.

Describe the proudest, scariest or hardest moment in your service.

My proudest moment was completing a full career with 35-year service in the RCMP.

My scariest moment was having a loaded 12-gauge shotgun aimed at me while I attempted to arrest a drunken individual on Cornwall Island. They had made a run to the Port at Customs and I was alone on the Reserve with no radio backup or anyone around that could assist.  Using diplomacy and tact he eventually agreed to follow me to the jail in his car!  That arrangement worked for me and he didn’t lose face with his community.

Looking back at your service, is there a time or type of work (unit) that you value the most?

I would have to say during my formative years when I worked at the two border detachments. Those experiences provided me with valuable skills as an investigator and later as Detachment Commander at Brockville and Cornwall Detachments.

Since your retirement, do you feel it is important to stay connected to the RCMP? If so, how have you remained connected?

Yes, it is very important to me to stay connected to the RCMP as the Force was a major part of my life for 35 great years.

In fact, I just celebrated the 58th troop reunion with a total of ten troop mates (C troop 1965/66) right here in Cambridge, Ontario.

I remain connected by being a member of the RCMP Veterans Association and for the past 10 years have been President of the London RCMP Veterans Division.

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