New Lillooet RCMP Cpl. Peter Koutougos knows about the “the hustle-bustle of big city policing” but says he’ll take a small town any day.
Cpl. Koutougos was promoted from Constable to Corporal upon his arrival here in early August.
He told the News he likes what he’s seen of Lillooet.
“We live in God’s country. It’s a beautiful, beautiful area. We’ve had a very warm welcome here and people are so nice. When I came here on my house-hunting trip, it wasn’t hard for locals to identify I was with the RCMP,” he says with a laugh. “It’s a great little town, we’ve just purchased a house and my wife and I are excited to get our son and daughter into school, hockey, skating.”
He began his RCMP career with a seven-year posting with the Sidney-North Saanich detachment on Vancouver Island, followed by four years with the Gold River-Nootka Sound RCMP on the mid-island. Before his move to Lillooet, he worked at the West Shore RCMP in Langford, a western suburb of Victoria.
He’s been an RCMP officer for 12 years.
Cpl. Koutougos has a degree in Criminology and also studied Business Administration at university. Five years with the Department of Corrections whetted his appetite for working in the justice system and served as a stepping stone to the RCMP.
His career focus has been on general duty and community policing. He is a trained DARE instructor and is looking forward to teaching the program in local elementary schools.
“It’s a very worthwhile program,” he comments. “It’s a great experience not only for the kids but for us as police officers because the things we deal with on the street can be negative in nature. So it’s nice to get into the schools and teach the kids.”
One of the things he most enjoys about small-town policing is the relationships that can form in the community.
“I feel that as police officers in a small community, we’re able to make changes for the better whereas in a larger centre, it’s a bit more difficult. You’re dealing with such a greater volume of things and the relationships just don’t form.”
Reviewing his policing career, he points to times and incidents where he assisted families or individuals in trouble. “I’ve seen people in trouble with the law turn their lives around. It makes a big difference to see someone you’ve helped turn their life around.”
Cpl. Koutougos says he’s always had an open-door approach to policing.
“I’m very open, so if you see me, please approach me, please talk to me. I’m just a regular Joe and I’ll do what I can to help you out if I can. Otherwise, just say hello.”