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Province honours former chief's service

Lori Penner
Former Altona police chief Glen Robinson displays the three medals he received at a special awards banquet Nov. 17, where he was honoured for his years of service and dedication.

Former Altona police chief Glen Robinson displays the three medals he received at a special awards banquet Nov. 17, where he was honoured for his years of service and dedication.

Former Altona police chief Glen Robinson was honoured for his years of service last week. He was one of five Manitoba police officers to receive the Excellence in Law Enforcement Award from Manitoba's attorney general Andrew Swan.

Current chief Perry Batchelor nominated Robinson, crediting his former colleague for literally saving the Altona police service.

"It's a little known fact that this department was very close to being shut down when Glen came along," Batchelor said.

When Robinson was hired in 1991, the members were not utilizing standardized equipment, uniforms or vehicles. There were no policy manuals and use of force options and training was not current.

"He rectified each one of these shortfalls in short order," Batchelor said.

Robinson quickly updated the service's technology, and also began to address the training needs of members, sending them to The Canadian Police College in Ottawa, RCMP D Division, The Depot in Regina, The Winnipeg Police Academy and Brandon Police Service.

He also worked with local authorities to bring officers' salaries to current standards.

Robinson's community involvement extended beyond his policing duties. He served two terms as school board trustee, was a major proponent of seminars supporting small business, senior's driving and drug awareness. He also ran the annual bike rodeo for youth in the community and was a major supporter of Special Olympics.

During his 19 year term in Altona, he lobbied for the support of the Manitoba Department of Justice, establishing a monthly sitting of provincial judges court in Altona.

Robinson also spearheaded the policing contract between the communities of Plum Coulee and Altona.

"He brought all these positive changes through his hard work, but also through his ability to mentor, and work together with local councils," Batchelor said.

Robinson, who began his policing career in Brandon in 1976, recalled those early days in Altona. "There were only three officers when I stepped in, with only three uniforms and a few guns," he said. "I had my work cut out for me." He described his career with the Altona police service as a great run with a great team of people.

Robinson received a set of three medals on Nov. 17 at the Manitoba Association of Police Chiefs awards banquet at the University of Manitoba.

"I was very surprised when I was chosen for this award," he said. "It's incredibly humbling and I feel very honoured."

He said he hasn't missed policing since he retired from the service in February, 2010. "It was time to move on to other things. I still go for lunch with the guys, but I'm no longer involved in law enforcement."

He now has time for other things, and said he's as busy as ever. His construction business has kept him on the go with many projects, and he also works at the Sun Valley Co-op Home Centre, taking orders and manning the forklift. He spent all of last summer working for H & M Farms.

He also serves as a member of the Altona town council. "I absolutely love serving the community," he said. "I've been doing a wide variety of things, but the best part is all the great people I've been able to meet."

Robinson has nothing but glowing things to say about his successor. "Perry has been an excellent replacement," he said, adding with a chuckle, "He's good, but not quite as good as me."