A 27-year veteran of the Amherst Police Department is the town’s new deputy police chief.
Tim Hunter, who joined the department as a constable in 1992, was appointed to the position in mid-May.
Police Chief Dwayne Pike said he is “very pleased to have Tim as our deputy chief.”
“Tim has an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm for the job and has been instrumental in many of the changes in the police department over the years,” Pike said. “His appointment will provide him with more opportunities to utilize his potential, and to meet the many challenges in policing.
“We’ve seen a lot of changes in the past year and we’ve been very fortunate to have very good people working with us through some challenging times. As a leader, Tim is able to see where we need to go as an organization and has many ideas on how we can get there.
“I look forward to working with him and our leadership team to work towards the many goals we have set for the Amherst Police Department.”
Hunter began his policing career in 1990, when at the age of 18, he joined the Springhill police force.
Back then, he was inspired to become an officer by Murray Scott, then a member of that police department and later a member of the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly.
“He and my parents were good friends,” Hunter recalled. “He talked to me about the career and the effect it had on the community and people’s lives. He told me, he thought I would be good at it.”
A year later, he was accepted into the Atlantic Police Academy in Charlottetown. During his work term there, he received on-the-job training with the Springhill and New Glasgow police departments.
“Working with those departments was a good learning experience,” he said.
Upon graduation in 1991, he joined the Lunenburg Police Department on a term contract. Towards the end of the contract, he was approached by then Amherst police chief Charles Parlee, who asked him to join the local force as a part-time officer holding the rank of constable.
“My first shift with the Amherst Police Department was on Aug. 8, 1992,” Hunter recalled.
Almost immediately, he combined his police duties with a lot of school-related activities, like running bike rodeos and safe graduations as well as coaching various sports teams sponsored by the police department.
“Charles Rushton, who was a sergeant at the time, let me do that. He saw the value to the police department of being involved with youth,” Hunter said.
In his off-hours, Hunter continued his involvement with youth sports, coaching Amherst Minor baseball, Amherst Minor Basketball and Junior High Basketball.
His efforts with youth were recognized in 2002, when he was awarded the Queens Golden Jubilee award.
He became the first officer in town to do bike patrols. While still a constable, he filled the role of a plain-clothes detective, before being selected as one of the first two officers to be part of the department’s major crime section.
Hunter was instrumental in developing the carbine program that ensures the local department has the training required to use the weapon safely. He was also instrumental in developing a training program that teaches officers the proper tactics to use during a containment situation.
In 2007, he became the first member of the department to be appointed to the Cumberland integrated street-crime unit, which back then included officers from the RCMP and the Springhill police force. It evolved to become a nine-member team that is considered one of the best street-crime units in the province.
While serving with that body, he was promoted to sergeant. A year later, he returned to uniform patrol, leading a section.
In 2018, he became the second officer in the department to hold the rank of staff sergeant following the retirement of Scott White. Shortly thereafter, he took on the role of acting deputy chief when then deputy chief Dwayne Pike was appointed acting chief.
The biggest difference in policing Hunter has seen over the years is training.
“When I joined the Springhill department, I was given handcuffs, a baton, and no training,” he said. “Today, there is a huge difference in the amount of training that goes into become a police officer and the ongoing training that is required to remain up to date as a police officer.”
Another difference is the technology used in policing. He noted that when he started the department used typewriters. Now they use computers, which Hunter said has changed and improved the way policing is done because it has made officers more accountable through a quicker, easier documentation process.
While proud of his personal accomplishments, Hunter said he takes the most pride in knowing the training he helped develop and the commitment to training by the department is valued by the members and ensures they are able to go home at the end of each shift.
As deputy chief, Hunter said he sees his role as one that will help the department move forward, “not just in the methods and management of policing but in the way we do business, the way we work with the community and our community partners to improve the department while ensuring the department provides excellent service to the Municipality of Amherst in a manner that is sustainable well into the future.”