Har­bour Grace of­fi­cer likes hav­ing a com­mu­nity pres­ence

RCMP Const. Wal­ter Pynn fi­nal­ist for Crime Stop­pers N.L. award

The Compass - - Front page - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON THE COM­PASS

You could al­most say Wal­ter Pynn was des­tined to find his way into a po­lice uni­form.

A 32-year vet­eran who has spent the last 19 based out of his home­town de­tach­ment in Har­bour Grace, Pynn grew up in a house along­side the old po­lice sta­tion next to the post of­fice. His dad Eric Pynn was a spe­cial con­sta­ble with the RCMP in the 1960s, and he also has a sis­ter, Sgt. Erica Pynn, work­ing with the RCMP in Hal­i­fax.

“It’s kind of fam­ily re­lated,” he said with re­spect to his cho­sen pro­fes­sion.

Last week, Pynn was named a fi­nal­ist for the 2017 Po­lice and Peace Of­fi­cer of the Year Awards. He’s one of three fi­nal­ists for the award ded­i­cated to RCMP of­fi­cers. Crime Stop­pers of New­found­land and Labrador presents the awards an­nu­ally.

“I was hon­oured that some­one would present my name, but again, some of the things I do, I just nat­u­rally do it — it’s me,” Pynn told The Com­pass. “Help­ing peo­ple, that’s what we’re here for, and it’s my ev­ery­day rou­tine. I’m thank­ful and grate­ful at the same time (for be­ing a fi­nal­ist), but it’s some­thing that we do.”

“They have to know who we are, where we are, and all that stuff. My phone is on 24-7. Peo­ple call me all the time, and it’s like a hot­line at times.”

Const. Wal­ter Pynn

Pynn started his ca­reer with the Royal New­found­land Con­stab­u­lary. He left the RNC in 1991 and joined the City of Monc­ton’s mu­nic­i­pal po­lice force in New Brunswick. He then moved back to New­found­land in 1998 to serve with the RCMP.

“We’re no dif­fer­ent than any­one else, and we’re here to help, we’re here to po­lice, and not ev­ery­body likes the re­sults of the po­lice as per se, but it’s a tough busi­ness.”

That help not only ap­plies to vic­tims of crime call­ing the po­lice for as­sis­tance. In some cases, of­fi­cers like Pynn can have an im­pact on peo­ple who find them­selves in trou­ble with the law.

“There’s po­ten­tial in ev­ery per­son, and some­times you have to seek that out,” he said. “If some­one comes to me for help, I’m here to help. Some­times you need guid­ance. We all do.”

While he’s wit­nessed a lot of change over the years in polic­ing, Pynn be­lieves there will al­ways be a need to em­pha­sis the com­mu­nity as­pect of his work.

“They have to know who we are, where we are, and all that stuff,” he said. “My phone is on 24-7. Peo­ple call me all the time, and it’s like a hot­line at times. The big thing with it is you have to know who is who. I’ll help some­one to­day not be­cause I’m look­ing for some­thing, but later on I’ll reap the ben­e­fits when I’m not wait­ing for it.

“Not that long ago I needed in­for­ma­tion, and of course peo­ple are free to give it to you be­cause you’re help­ful. Not be­cause you’re ask­ing — it’s be­cause they want to. And I’m not forc­ing their hand to give me in­for­ma­tion. They’re com­ing to me, and that makes a dif­fer­ence.”

Work­ing in the town you grew up in has its perks, as Pynn finds there’s an in­grained sense of fa­mil­iar­ity.

“I’m part of the com­mu­nity. I grew up (here), I know most of the peo­ple here, and I think I’ve got their re­spect. And that means a lot.”

With such a lengthy ca­reer al­ready in the rearview mir­ror, Pynn ad­mits time is creep­ing up on him. But that doesn’t mean he’s ready to re­tire.

“I’ve still got some more years left in me, and I still want to go, and I don’t mind get­ting out and do­ing the foot­work. So when it gets to a point that I can’t do it any­more, then I’ll think about re­tir­ing. But 32 years has passed by so fast — it’s un­real.”

The 2017 Po­lice and Peace Of­fi­cer of the Year Awards will be pre­sented May 19 in Con­cep­tion Bay South.

AN­DREW ROBIN­SON/THE COM­PASS

Const. Wal­ter Pynn has worked as a po­lice of­fi­cer for 32 years. He’s served with the RCMP out of his home­town de­tach­ment in Har­bour Grace since 1998.

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Const. Wal­ter Pynn is seen here es­cort­ing a prisoner out­side Har­bour Grace Pro­vin­cial Court.

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