Township of Esquimalt: 2022 – Q3

As part of our ongoing Open VicPD transparency initiative, we introduced Community Safety Report Cards as a way to keep everyone up to date with how the Victoria Police Department is serving the public.  These report cards, which are published quarterly in two community-specific versions (one for Esquimalt and one for Victoria), offer both quantitative and qualitative information about crime trends, operational incidents, and community engagement initiatives.  It is hoped that, through this proactive sharing of information, our citizens have a better understanding of how VicPD is working toward its strategic vision of “A Safer Community Together.

Esquimalt Community Information

VicPD continues to make progress towards our three main strategic goals outlined in VicPD Strategic Plan 2020. Specifically, in Q3, the following goal-specific work was accomplished:

Support Community Safety

VicPD ensured public safety at a number of large-scale community events, including Canada Day celebrations and Deuce Days.

VicPD investigators disrupted several significant frauds during the quarter, include a rental scam fraud with numerous victims and a financial fraud scheme that resulted in 85 recommended charges.

VicPD volunteers and officers helped keep returning students safe by conducting a back to school Speed Watch blitz at every school in Victoria and Esquimalt during the month of September.

Enhance Public Trust

The Saanich shooting incident, despite its associated tragedies, also served to bring our community closer together as demonstrated through the Victoria Shamrocks “Stronger Together” appreciation event in July. This event raised over $10,000 for the Victoria City Police Athletic Association, creating future opportunities for VicPD officers and staff to connect with young people through athletics, academics and art.

VicPD held an interactive “Ask Me Anything” online session that shared information about impaired driving and what VicPD is doing to address it. With over 20,000 views online and hundreds of likes and comments, this engagement helped keep people stay informed and educated on the risks of driving impaired.

VicPD updated its online VicPD Community Dashboard with new Statistics Canada data related to the Crime Severity Index. This data is now available for both Victoria and Esquimalt and includes detail on the overall Crime Severity Index for both communities, as well as sub-indices that show violent and non-violent data.

Achieve Organizational Excellence

In Q3, an increased emphasis was placed on attracting qualified candidates to join VicPD as officers, civilian employees, special municipal constables, jail staff, and volunteers. This has taken the form of a recruiting presence at community and sporting events as well as a refreshed recruiting website and a streamlined application process.

A working group continues to address the findings of the recent Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey and key action items are being implemented, including the launch of a new Peer Support Team and the establishment of contracted positions for an in-house psychologist and an occupational health nurse.

Work continues to develop and implement a departmental re-organization to better align available resources with ongoing and future operational needs.

In July, members of the Esquimalt Division moved out of the old Public Safety Building to a new (temporary) police station in the municipal hall, previously occupied by the old Library.  Pending the construction of the new public safety building on the Park Place site, members of the Esquimalt Division including Patrol, Community Resource Officers, and administrative staff will continue to provide policing services to the Township from this new location.  The Esquimalt Division would like to acknowledge and thank the hard work of Township staff, Kinetic Construction, Core Project Management, and VicPD’s Information Technology Section for making this transition possible.

Esquimalt Division’s New (Temporary) Police Station

Vehicle With Stolen Plates Leads To Arrests

On August 7th, Esquimalt Division officers spotted a vehicle travelling with stolen plates, which had fled from police earlier that day, on Lyall Street. Officers followed the vehicle until it entered a parking lot near the West Bay walkway. There, officers conducted a high-risk vehicle stop and arrested two people. The vehicle’s connection to other files across Greater Victoria remains under investigation.

Officers Respond To Person In Crisis With Compassion And Care

Esquimalt Division officers responded to calls concerning a vulnerable person in crisis multiple times over a period lasting a number of days. Ultimately, officers apprehended the person, who became a severe risk to themselves, and stayed with them for many hours while they were brought to medical and later mental health care. The person, who suffered non-life-threatening self-inflicted injuries, remained in care.

Cst. Kevin Lastiwka’s lasting impression on Esquimalt

Cst. Kevin Lastiwka has completed a four-year tour as one of Esquimalt’s Community Resource Officers. Kevin is a kind, hard-working, and engaged member of VicPD who brought those qualities to bear as he served the communities of Esquimalt and Vic West. Whether it was responding to a community concern, attending a special event, or providing safety advice to our citizens and business owners, Kevin was the epitome of customer service.

Kevin not only made an impact on the community but also played a key role in creating a positive workplace culture at the Esquimalt Division. His work ethic and positive attitude are simply infectious. Kevin has now been transferred back to headquarters where he will continue to serve Esquimalt and Victoria as a member of the Patrol Division.

VicPD volunteers and VicPD Traffic officers helped keep returning Esquimalt and Victoria students safe by conducting a back to school Speed Watch blitz.  VicPD Speed Watch volunteers conducted speed watch in school zones every school day in September including deploying to high-concern areas in both Victoria and Esquimalt.

VicPD Speed Watch volunteers with Esquimalt Mayor Barbara Desjardins and School District 61 Board Chair Ryan Painter

Speeding and other traffic concerns raised near Lyall Street resulted in multiple responses by both Esquimalt Division and Community Engagement Division staff. In addition to direct observation by Esquimalt Division Officer In Charge Inspector Michael Brown, deployment of Esquimalt Division Patrol and Community Resource officers, Community Engagement Division staff worked with officers to foster awareness of the concerns in the community.

Social media was key to informing and engaging Esquimalt residents about traffic concerns on Lyall Street.

In addition to social media posts, VicPD partnered with CFB Esquimalt Public Affairs to create a multi-channel engagement plan to help address the concerning driving behaviour.  The result were social media posts with hundreds of likes, shares and which were seen by over 12,000 people, and an article in the CFB Esquimalt Lookout Navy News.

Partnership with CFB Esquimalt reached those who live in the community as well as those who work on base.

On September 19th a concerned parent called the VicPD non-emergency line after their child came home from walking along the E&N Trail with a samurai sword they had found in the bushes. Despite VicPD’s request for a rightful owner to come forward, no one has yet to come forward to claim the sword.

This samurai sword was turned in after a child found it on the E&N Trail

On September 20th, officers from both Esquimalt and Victoria located a person in significant medical and mental health distress after an hours-long search which began when a passerby discovered a pool of blood on the morning of Saturday, September 17th.  Officers, both on foot and in vehicles, traced a trail that extended over 4 kilometers across the Township of Esquimalt, into Vic West and then into downtown Victoria.  The victim was found by officers in both medical and psychological distress, with untreated injuries related to a medical condition that were resulting in significant bleeding. The person refused medical treatment. They were apprehended by officers under the Mental Health Act and brought to hospital for treatment. To date, the investigation indicates that the person’s injuries were due to a medical condition and not a criminal matter.

2022’s Q3 began as both VicPD and Saanich PD continued to recover from the shooting at the Bank of Montreal in which six members of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) were shot and wounded. Canada Day’s operations saw 20 Vancouver Police Department officers join officers from across Greater Victoria as Victoria once again hosted Canada Day celebrations. In response to ongoing safety concerns and an outpouring of emotion, VicPD’s Community Engagement Division (CED) created the #GVERT Blue Heart campaign. Beginning on Canada Day, VicPD officers, staff and volunteers, as well as officers with the Greater Victoria Public Safety Unit (PSU) handed out over 10,000 #GVERT Blue Hearts, thanking the community for their support.

PSU officers on Canada Day

VicPD’s Community Engagement Division continued to support efforts to attract volunteers, civilian staff, new officer recruits and experienced officers. In addition to a recruiting-centred relaunch of, efforts this year have included in-person engagements, social media outreach and banners on the building at 850 Caledonia Avenue. A recruiting-focussed Instagram reel has garnered over 750 likes and over 22,000 views.

VicPD’s Community Engagement Team partnered with VicPD’s Traffic Section on an extensive Ask Me Anything (AMA) about impaired driving during an ICBC impaired driving counter attack roadblock on July 8th in Vic West. In addition to identifying impaired drivers, VicPD Traffic officer Cst. Stephen Pannekoek answered questions from the public ranging from “is it okay to be nervous at a roadblock?” to “what would happen if a driver refused to answer questions & only provided license/reg info?”. With over 20,000 views online and hundreds of likes and comments, this engagement helped keep people informed and educated on the risks of driving impaired.

VicPD was proud to take part in Music in the Park events throughout the summer in Memorial Park.

Chief Del Manak, Deputy Chief Jason Laidman and Inspector Kerrilee Jones were all glad to go behind the counter under the watchful guidance of some Tim Hortons’ vets in support of youth programs at Tim Hortons Camp Day.

VicPD’s Blue Socks baseball team played in the Michael Dunahee Tournament of Hope in support of Child Find BC. Although the team lost in a nail-biter, we’re glad to be part of this important event supporting the Dunahees and helping keep kids and families safe.

We were honoured to continue our relationship with the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness. This year’s Annual General Meeting was held at the Songhees Wellness Centre and both the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations outlined the work they and the Coalition are doing. We’re proud to continue to partner in their great work.

We were honoured to see our soon-to-be launched canoe blessed as part of our ongoing work to navigate the path of reconciliation. The Pulling Together Canoe journey has been an important part of the journey we are taking together with the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations and the blessing of our canoe is brings us ever closer to being able to deepen our connections.

A key event this quarter was VicPD’s partnership with the Victoria Shamrocks in recognition of officers’ valour during the BMO shooting in Saanich. Following a pre-game tailgate picnic supported by Bank of Montreal, Saanich Police Department Chief Dean Duthie and VicPD Chief Del Manak were invited to speak to the Shamrocks crowd and thank Greater Victoria for their support for police officers across the region.

BMO staff were part of the pre-game tailgate picnic for VicPD and Saanich PD officers and staff

VicPD Chief Manak thanks Greater Victoria for the outpouring of support

Integrated Canine Service Sgt. Ewer explains what Police Service Dog Maverick likes for treats

The event featured a demo by the Integrated Canine Service, a “LeQuesne and LeQuesne” Q&A with VicPD Cst. Eric LeQuesne and his father (radio host Cliff LeQuesne) and many warm moments that helped bring the community together in the spirit of healing.

Cst. Eric LeQuesne, Police Service Dog Obi, and The Q’s Cliff LeQuesne

The event raised over $10,000 for the Victoria City Police Athletic Association, creating future opportunities for VicPD officers and staff to connect with young people through athletics, academics and art.

Q3 closed with VicPD’s flag being included in the circle at the Songhees Nation South Island Powwow in Royal Athletic Park at the end of September. We were honoured to be part of the day, which celebrated Indigenous vibrant resiliency and forges the path forward for all committed to reconciliation.

For more notable files, please visit our community updates page.

At the end of Q3 the net operating financial position is approximately 0.25% over budget due to annual wage increases exceeding expectations, increases to WorkSafe BC premiums and high overtime costs in the first two quarters due to front line staffing shortages, which have since improved. Revenues are above budget due to recoveries of expenditures for special duties. Capital commitments are in line with expectations and are expected to remain within budget. Software licensing costs are also in excess of budget, but are offset by lower communications and supply costs. Overall the net financial position is a minor deficit at this time.