Local OPP detachment commander moving east

Duane Hicks

After 19 years with the Rainy River District OPP and six years as OPP detachment commander here, Insp. Steve Shouldice will be moving on.
Insp. Shouldice has accepted a position as manager of Business and Finance at the OPP East Region Headquarters in Smiths Falls.
His official transfer date is Jan. 1, 2018, although his actual move date and last day here have not been determined yet.
He will be replaced by Insp. Nathan Schmidt, who currently works as the manager of Operational Support at the OPP regional headquarters in Thunder Bay and who will “bring a great deal of experience” to the position here, according to Insp. Shouldice.
Insp. Shouldice, 51, said the main reason for his accepting the new position was so he and wife, Carrie, could move closer to their children.
“Ryan now lives in Ottawa and Taylor lives in Toronto,” he told the Times.
“We also have other family and friends in southern Ontario and we are that stage of life, having not lived close to family while with the OPP, that we get closer to everyone.
“I was presented with an opportunity to work in a position that will be quite different than what I do now, and quite different than working in a detachment,” he noted.
“It will be interesting for me to take on new challenges and experiences for the remaining months of my career,” Insp. Shouldice added.
“I am eligible to retire now but have chosen to work a little longer since I still want to contribute.”
Insp. Shouldice and his family first came to Fort Frances in November, 1998 after he had worked for 10 years as a constable at the Lancaster OPP detachment.
Lancaster is located on Highway 401, along the shores of the St. Lawrence River, between Cornwall and the Ontario/Quebec border.
He had been successful in a competition for a sergeant position in Emo. And it didn’t take long for the family to become attached to the community.
“We moved here in 1998 and expected to probably leave after the initial five-year duration,” Insp. Shouldice said.
“But the kids wanted to stay, my wife, Carrie, was working at Gillons’ Insurance and was very happy with her job and relationships, and career opportunities were available to me here,” he explained.
“Just like others here, most arrive and stay the majority of their careers,” he noted.
“The average level of seniority in the district is over 14 years.
“We have not had probationary ‘rookie’ officers in Fort Frances, Emo, and Rainy River, and the last ‘new’ officer in Atikokan was over three years ago,” Insp. Shouldice said.
In fact, he added, the local OPP has experienced officers wanting to transfer here–but vacancies rarely come up unless there is a retirement, promotion, or someone moves into a specialty position.
“There is a significant level of experience working here and all are committed to living and working here long-term,” Insp. Shouldice remarked.
Upon arrival, he was a shift supervisor on a platoon. In 2006, he assisted with the amalgamation/transition with the Town of Atikokan police.
Shortly after that, he became the administrative sergeant in Fort Frances.
In June, 2007, Insp. Shouldice was promoted to staff sergeant and became the detachment operations manager for the district.
Then in October, 2011, he became the acting detachment commander and was promoted to inspector the following April.
One thing Insp. Shouldice would like to have seen before he goes is the new, modern OPP detachment that will be built just west of Flinders Place.
The new facility will measure about 18,000 sq. ft. in size–much larger than the current building’s cozy 6,500 sq. ft. footprint.
“We have needed a new detachment for a long time,” Insp. Shouldice said.
“The Fort Frances office was originally designed for 11 town police to work out of and today approximately 30 officers work out of the office.”
He added the OPP is very pleased with the support it’s been getting from the Town of Fort Frances and Mayor Roy Avis, as well as from the local Police Services Board (which currently includes chair John McTaggart, Rick Wiedenhoeft, John Albanese, Andrew Hallikas, Mayor Avis, and secretary Loreen Holt).
“The officers and civilian staff here deserve a modern facility to work in,” Insp. Shouldice stressed.
“It will enable them to do their jobs better and further improve the quality of professional service they provide to the public,” he noted.