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Innisfail Mounties have new sergeant in their ranks

RCMP Sgt. Michael Zufferli comes to Innisfail as operations NCO and second in command to Staff Sgt. Ian Ihme
RCMP Sgt. Michael Zufferli is the new sergeant for the Innisfail RCMP detachment. The 16-year RCMP veteran comes to town after serving four years as head of the Red Deer RCMP Traffic Unit. Johnnie Bachusky/MVP Staff

INNISFAIL – When RCMP Sgt. Michael Zufferli arrived in town last June from a seven-year assignment stint in the City of Red Deer there were distinct familiarities that immediately made the transition easier.

Sixteen years earlier he began his policing career in Westlock, Alta., a town of just under 5,000 citizens located 85 kilometres north of Edmonton.

That experience laid the seed for a rural policing passion.

Seven years later he was transferred to the City of Red Deer RCMP detachment to work in the traffic unit.

By 2019 he was promoted to sergeant to lead the traffic unit.

During that time in Red Deer he also worked with then Sgt. Ian Ihme, who would later arrive in Innisfail in 2022 to become the acting detachment commander to replace Staff Sgt. Chris Matechuk, the respected long serving detachment commander.

Last April Ihme was promoted to staff sergeant to officially lead all Innisfail Mounties.

“I very much like the small-town policing atmosphere,” said Zufferli, who was keenly interested in Innisfail when a sergeant’s position in the town’s RCMP detachment was posted.

“I had worked with staff sergeant Ihme before he was promoted back when he was sergeant Ihme with Red Deer’s general investigation service.

“I had an immense amount of respect for the staff sergeant, and he could not say enough good things about this community and this detachment, and how it's basically a hidden gem in Alberta,” he added. “I saw it as a great opportunity to interact and become part of the community again.”

Zufferli got the job. He was going to Innisfail and his new sergeant’s role is a change from what he experienced as head of Red Deer’s traffic unit.

He is in charge of operations, ensuring there are enough “boots on the ground” when police resources need to be deployed.

It's his first time working as an operations NCO.

“I work more on the day-to-day police operations, where staff sergeant Ihme overviews the entire administration of policing in Innisfail,” said Zufferli, who reports directly to Ihme.

But what is also important is getting out on the street to connect with Innisfailians.

“The benefit to community policing is that people need to see the officers that work here, that they are invested in the community and are part of it because a lot of times people will see police as almost a separate entity, and we're not,” said Zufferli. “I try to get out and do foot patrols at least once a week, walking around downtown trying to be visible.

“It gives people the opportunity to approach us and be comfortable to talk to us about their concerns,” he added. “All the information we have paints a clearer picture of what's going on in Innisfail and lets us provide a better service to the community as a whole.”


Johnnie Bachusky

About the Author: Johnnie Bachusky

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