Chief Superintendent Rod Booth and Team BC athletes

(ISN) – Prince George – With little more than a month to go in career that spanned 34 years and took him from his home in Montreal to the Yukon, Ottawa and finally to Prince George, RCMP Chief Superintendent Rod Booth and a group of dedicated officers took some time out of their schedules to make the 2015 Canada Winter Games a little bit more special for Team BC athletes.

Booth, who is the North District Commander and is responsible for 73 per cent of the province’s geographic landmass, gave arriving Team BC athletes the welcome of a lifetime, providing a full police escort from the tarmac at YXS directly to their Games accommodations at the Coast hotel, where Team BC mission staff excitedly awaited their arrival.

The police escort, complete with sirens and flashing lights, was a highlight for the visiting athletes and was not provided for any other teams.

“It was such an honour to be able to welcome Team BC to Prince George,” said Booth. “Our goal was to give them a bit of a hometown advantage and to make them feel special.”

Booth and his team have been deeply embedded in the strategic planning for the security of the Games to ensure the athletes are safe while away from home. He has been impressed by the planning and execution of security and saw an opportunity to do something special when he was approached by Constable Trevor Mack from Terrace who also happens to be one of the coaches for B.C.’s air pistol team.

“Constable Mack brought it to my attention that we could do something above and beyond for these kids to make them feel really welcomed in our community,” said Booth. “It didn’t take me long to realize it was the right thing to do. Just to see the smiles and the excitement on the faces of the athletes really made my day.”

Team BC touched down in Prince George on Thursday, Feb. 12 and the RCMP were there to greet them with lights flashing. After the escort into town the athletes and staff thanked the officers for their support and said goodbye. But that wouldn’t be the last time Team BC was in touch with Booth. His officers, all of whom volunteered their time to make the escort possible, enjoyed the experience so much that they asked if they could provide the same welcome for the athletes arriving for week two.

“We just wanted to make sure all of the athletes received the same welcome,” said Booth. “While it was really unique for the kids, I have to say, the everyday unsung stories of my officers in the north are amazing. Our role in the community is huge, this was just one great example of how we can help in addition to our regular core police function.”

Booth’s wife, who was born and raised in B.C., was able to come to the second welcoming of athletes and was touched to see the impact of the officers.

For Booth, participating in the Canada Winter Games has provided a wonderful reminder of the character of the people of Prince George and is a fitting way to celebrate a province that has been very good to him during his career.

“I’ve been a cheerleader for the north since I’ve been here and I am always selling the north because a lot of people don’t know what the north has to offer,” he said. These Games are a great opportunity to allow people to see what is here and to experience the north. It’s pretty special for all of us.”