Local officer celebrates last day on the job with his son

May 12, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

Following a distinguished 40 years of service to community policing in southern Ontario, a long-time Orangeville cop signed off for good last Friday, doing so in what he described as “the most special way possible.”

Brian Parkes has been a member of the Orangeville Police Service (OPS) for just over 15 years, serving in a variety of roles during his time with the local force. Starting out as a frontline patrol constable, a position he knew all too well following 25 years of prior service with the Niagara Regional Police Service, Mr. Parkes also spent time as acting Sergeant before landing the role of Detective Constable. For the past several years, he has been Orangeville’s go-to-guy when it comes to dealing with in-depth, serious investigations.

Gathering with media on his final day to discuss his career, Brian was joined by his walking, talking legacy – son Kristopher (KC). Himself an eight-year veteran of the Niagara force, KC made the journey up to Orangeville to join his dad on patrol for what would be an “incredibly memorable” final shift.

“This is a special moment for me, to be able to sit here alongside my son on my final shift as a police officer – not a lot of people get to experience this sort of thing, so it’s just a great, great opportunity,” Brian told the Citizen.

Special permission was granted by Police Chief Wayne Kalinski and Niagara Regional Police Chief Jeff McGuire to allow for this unique visit to take place.

“Growing up, my dad was definitely my idol and so it was always a childhood dream of mine to grow up and become a police officer, so to be here today to celebrate such a special occasion is incredible,” KC said. “It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s going to be a really memorable day for the both of us.”

When quizzed on what they would be up to throughout the majority of the shift, the pair, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, let slip about a few “super serious” cases they’ll be working before admitting it would be a relatively low-key day.

“Today is all about the experience of me being able to go out on patrol with my dad, and he with me… It’s going to be a pretty low-profile day, we’re just going to enjoy it and really try to let it all soak in,” KC added.

Looking back on 15 years’ worth of memories in the community, and 40 years in total on the job, Brian said he had a lot to be thankful for having had the opportunity to serve alongside what he described as a “special” force here in Orangeville.

“For me, it wasn’t a childhood dream or anything to become a police officer… I joined the Canadian Armed Forces right out of high school and only really considered a career in policing following a suggestion my grandmother made, so to be sitting here some 40 years later is quite special,” Brian said. “I’m pleased, though, that I had the opportunity to serve in some wonderful communities. My time in Niagara brought about some great opportunities for me, from working in an underwater recovery unit, to forming part of a motorcycle unit and then working as part of a crime prevention unit… There were some unique opportunities.”

He added, “Then, when I came to Orangeville, I don’t want to say it was like going back in time, but there definitely wasn’t the same units and technologies (as I was used to) in Niagara, but one thing that has always been in place here is this great sense for community policing.”

Having experienced several regimes at the OPS over the years, Brian said the local force “has never been better,” thanks in large part to the guidance and leadership of Chief Kalinski.

“Without a doubt the biggest growth here at OPS has occurred since Chief Wayne Kalinski has come on board. It has been an enormous positive change to service, and that’s not only reflected in equipment and technology, but in the mindset of the officers. It’s a lot more upbeat here now than it has been at other times. He’s doing everything right, so kudos to our chief,” Brian said.

As he prepares to ride off into the sunset, the elder Parkes said he and his wife will be selling their home in the community and buying a patch of land “out by a lake somewhere” and building their dream log-styled home.

“It’s kinda fitting,” Brian said. “The thing I’m most looking forward to now is spending time with my family and here I am today, spending my last shift with my son. I wouldn’t want it any other way and cannot think of a more perfect way to finish my career. It’s just a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.