by Ashley Janes
Hired on Nov. 24, Officer David Budgell is Morinville’s newest Community Peace Officer (CPO), replacing Erik Nicholson who relocated to Westlock in October. Budgell said he has always held jobs involving service to the public, his community and country, and is looking forward to continuing the trend in his new position.
He explained that it was important for the position to be filled, given the broad scope of areas that CPOs are involved in. “It is vitally important that, as a department, we stay current with our work load. There are many aspects of our job that are time sensitive, especially with matters for the court.” Having a full team allows CPOs to respond to public concerns in a more efficient and timely manner. It also frees up time for officers to be out in the community more and to get involved in local events.
Raised in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Budgell spent seven years of his early career in security, from privately contracted work to one of the largest in-house security firms for the downtown core of Halifax. In 2007, he joined the Canadian Armed Forces and was posted to Lord Strathcona’s Horse Royal Canadians in Edmonton. After fulfilling his military contract, he decided to become a CPO.
Budgell stated that the role of a CPO varies greatly from place to place because of the unique needs presented by each community. Every location has its own set of bylaws which can vary greatly in detail and so his early focus will be to become familiar with all the Town’s bylaws as well as the Department’s standard operational guidelines and policies.
Budgell emphasized that spotting infractions and issuing violation notices is only a small part of the job. He believes educating the public and assisting residents with their concerns and complaints will also be a major part of his role, as well as being proactive in the community and addressing issues before they become complaints. He also wants to make a great effort to become involved in community events and to share the Town’s spirit. “In the long term, I look to get involved with local youth and schools. It’s an area that I have always been very passionate about. Growing up in a small community myself, I know the importance of having positive community role models for the younger generation to look up to.”
Overall, Budgell said he is very excited to get out into the community and meet the fantastic people that make Morinville the great town that it is. “I understand that residents have high expectations, not only of our department but of all the Town’s staff, and I look forward to working diligently and exceeding that level of expectation.” Reflecting on the Town’s motto of “Growing Together”, he declared that he will happily accept the challenge of becoming part of the community’s future growth. “I would also like to take the time to wish everyone Happy Holidays during this festive season, and to remind everyone to be safe.”