Lowen’s first day on the job was Sept. 20.
ESTEVAN - The new chief of police for the Estevan Police Service (EPS) has enjoyed his time in the community thus far, and been kept busy getting to know the men and women in the EPS and its procedures.
Lowen’s first day on the job was Sept. 20. He briefly addressed Estevan city council at its meeting on Oct. 18, and was at his first regular meeting of the Estevan board of police commissioners three days later.
He was previously with the Winnipeg Police Service, where he was a superintendent and had command of investigative services, overseeing major crimes, specialized investigations, organized crime, forensics, intelligence, technology operations and professional standards.
It meant he oversaw more than 460 officers.
“In a big service, you had groups of people that were able to do whatever challenge you had, whether it was putting together a plan or putting together a budget,” Lowen told the Mercury. “I came from a place where I had a whole finance division. I came from a place that had a whole HR (human resources) division.”
Multiple divisions would handle specific investigational needs.
In Estevan, officers have to be a “jack of all trades,” he said.
“I have to bring the people around me in, so that I can learn what they know and what they’re working on, and I can share what I know with them, and we can do it together. In a small service here, you have to be able to work together.”
And he’s already been able to get to know the officers here in a way he didn’t in Winnipeg, where he worked for 32 years.
“I had a lot of people that I meet and a lot of people that I didn’t know,” said Lowen. “When you have almost 500 people just under your division, never mind 1,300-plus total officers, and with civilian staff, you have almost 2,000 people there. There was a lot of people who knew who I was, but I didn’t know who they were, which was a challenge when you’re trying to help people get their job done.”
He has been trying to establish better lines of communication within the EPS to ensure that everyone knows what’s happening.
Budget work has also kept him busy.
“We face challenges with trying to do the best we can with the amount of money we have. We have a finite amount. We have a limited amount of funding, and we have to be able to provide that service to the community with that amount.”
The EPS has to be responsible for how they use taxpayer dollars, and they need to openly show people how they do it.
Lowen has established an executive management team that reviews the cost of doing business, and finds ways to do things better.
“We’re setting up more of a unified operation,” said Lowen.
There have been operational changes, and technical issues needed to be sorted out. There were some deficiencies in the building that had to be addressed. An electrician had to come in to sort things out properly.
They’re also just finishing the landscaping around the building, and making sure it’s usable for everybody.
“Whenever you do any kind of construction, there’s always little things that you thought were OK that you needed to change afterwards, so it’s not like it’s a huge undertaking. There’s just little fine-tuning.”
Lowen is impressed that a small service can accomplish as much as this one does.
In the community, Lowen said he and his wife have been exploring the local restaurant scene. They have found some wonderful places to eat.
And they have also explored the community through the new pathways that have been constructed and the existing walking areas.
Lowen said they have met some very nice people since coming to Estevan.