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Victoria police appoint new inspectors

Jan 10 2012

A police officer who has investigated many of the Island's homicides, and a second officer who won a Governor General's medal for saving a suicidal man, are the newest inspectors at Victoria police.

Penny Durrant and Keith Lindner have been promoted to replace inspectors Les Sylven and Darrell McLean, the department announced yesterday.

Lindner, 50, has been the officer in charge of the west division in Esquimalt since McLean retired in October.

He said the "elephant in the room" is the fact the Esquimalt council has said it wants the municipality to be policed by the RCMP, unhappy with the forced amalgamation between Esquimalt and Victoria in 2003.

"I've told [Esquimalt council], 'I'm not a politician, I'm a policeman,' " said Lindner, adding he has no control over governance, cost, resources and other issues now being looked at by a province-appointed mediator. "All I can do is make sure the people who work out here do their job and continue to do it well."

Lindner, a 26-year veteran, joined Victoria police in 1990 after starting out with the Calgary police service.

Lindner spent time in the Victoria department's tactical team, drug unit and worked as a crisis negotiator. He was also a homicide investigator for the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit from 2007 to 2010. "He has handled some of the highest-profile murders on Vancouver Island," deputy Chief John Ducker said.

Lindner also probed police-involved shootings and worked in the Victoria police's professional standards department.

Durrant, 44, is the highest ranking woman in the department. She said in her 21 years on the force, she has seen more women making a career in policing.

"We now have close to 20 per cent females in our organization so it's just a matter of time before they move up through the ranks," she said. "Some shifts have 50 per cent women, 50 per cent men, so there's more of an immediate acceptance."

Durrant will head the patrol division, meaning she will be in charge of the front-line officers who respond to everything from drug calls in the downtown core to domestic disputes and drunken brawls when the bars let out.

Durrant said she wants to focus on proactive policing by analyzing crime maps and listening to residents' concerns. The goal is to effectively deploy resources and prevent crime.

Durrant received the Governor General's medal for rescuing a suicidal woman from the fifth-floor ledge of a building in 2003.

The Victoria native has been with the department for 21 years, working as a youth outreach officer, in the special victims unit chasing sex offenders and child abusers, in the bikes section and in human resources.

Durrant was one of the original members of the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock fundraiser in 1998 and spent 11 years training new riders.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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