The Nelson Police Department has named Rajnish (Raj) Saini as its new deputy chief, effective Jan. 4.
Saini grew up in Toronto and has spent the last 23 years with the Brantford Police Service, where he worked in the homicide unit and conducted drug investigations. Currently he is in charge of a platoon of 17 officers. He is also a part-time instructor at the Ontario Police College.
Saini says he was drawn to policing as a child.
“My parents were against it. They were from India and they didn’t have very good relations with the police there, so I was always pushed toward becoming an engineer or a doctor. But I always thought policing had the cool factor, or the it factor.
“As I grew older I realized that I would have the opportunity to help others and be a positive role model.”
Saini has a master’s degree in public safety and is working to complete his Ph.D. He is fluent in Punjabi, Hindi and English. He will become the first Indo-Canadian to hold a senior policing role in Nelson.
“I’m humbled and honoured for that opportunity,” he said, noting that he joins three other Indo-Canadian deputy chiefs and one other chief in BC. “To be part of a very select group is an honour.”
Saini says he and his wife spent four days getting to know Nelson as he interviewed for the position. He says he was attracted to the position simply because it presented an opportunity for professional growth.
The deputy chief’s position has been vacant since now-retired chief Paul Burkart was promoted several years ago.