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NRI Punjab-Born Steve Rai appointed Vancouver police deputy chief

Vancouver, June 18, 2015/NRIpress-Club

Steve Rai who has been a member of the Vancouver Police Department since 1990, has been appointed the new deputy chief of Canada's Vancouver Police Department. He was born in Punjab, India, and raised in Vancouver.

 “After spending 25 years in police service, I am standing here as the deputy chief today” said Rai. " I'm proud for my father because he was another unsung hero. As an immigrant, I encouraged my kids to stay on the right path and I just wanted to come out and catch criminals and put them in jail.”

 Rai was promoted to Inspector in 2007, working as the Executive Officer to the Chief Constable, Duty Officer, in Training and Recruiting, in Human Resources, and as the Inspector commanding District Three.

He spent the first ten years of his career as a patrol constable in District Three, moving on to patrol in District One and then as a Neighbourhood Police Officer at the Davie Street CPC. As a sergeant, Steve worked again in District Three, and the Recruiting Unit.

During this time, Superintendent Rai was also a member of the Critical Incident Stress Management Team (CISM), was part of an expert interview team, and was a ten-year crisis negotiator.

Inspector Rai was part of the leadership team with the Public Order Group, and was the Inspector in-charge of the Public Safety Unit. He played lead roles in the Stanley Cup Riot response, and throughout the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Steve has been formally recognized by the community on a number of occasions. He is the recipient of four Chief Constable’s Unit Citations and one Chief Constable’s Commendation for “courage and professionalism.”

Prior to beginning his policing career, Steve completed his bachelor of arts in Asian studies from the University of British Columbia. Since joining the VPD, he has completed his master of arts in criminal justice from the University of the Fraser Valley.

Steve and his wife are raising two school-aged children.

In April, 2015, Rai was highly involved when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited a temple and a gurdwara in the Vancouver city for his safety.

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Khalsa Diwan Society

This Khalsa Diwan Society Exemplory Service Award has been given to two brothers who are Vancouver Police officers, in recognition of their commitment and achievement in law enforcement.

Inspector Steve Rai

For the past 24 years, Vancouver Police Inspector Steve Rai has served and worked tirelessly in helping make Vancouver a safer city. In his current assignment as the Commander of District 3, Steve leads a team of 150 police officers in Vancouver’s southeast sector. This District is rich in ethnic diversity, commercial areas and large well-established residential communities. As well, District 3 has arguably some of the most challenging policing issues, from property offences to crimes of violence to domestic assaults. Inspector Rai has confronted the crime problems in his District with the same energy and creativity as he approaches other areas he has worked. Under his command, District 3 has seen a drop in residential property crimes and violent offenses.

Inspector Rai also leads the Vancouver Police Department’s Public Safety Unit, which was successful in quelling the 2011 Stanley Cup rioters in three hours. Over his career, he has worked in a wide range of areas including: Officer-in-Charge of the VPD’s Human Resources Section, the Training and Recruiting Section, Field Commander, and Executive Officer to the Chief Constable.

Having been born in India, raised and schooled in Vancouver, he has had a front row seat on the City’s growth and development. To further his knowledge and understanding of crime problems and their solutions, Inspector Steve Rai recently completed a master’s degree in criminal justice at the University of the Fraser Valley. Inspector Rai continues to be an important part in making Vancouver Canada’s safest major city.

Sergeant Roger Rai

Roger Rai is a 22-year member of the Vancouver Police Department. During his policing career, Roger has worked a variety of positions, from Operations Supervisor, Sex Crimes investigator, Traffic Enforcement officer, and as a Recruiting Unit investigator.

He also served as a Neighbourhood Police Officer in the Khalsa Diwan Community Office, which was an initiative he led and brought to fruition as a unique model of public-police partnership, and the only one of its kind in North America.

Roger has also been a member of the Vancouver Police Motorcycle Drill Team, and is currently a member of the Vancouver Police Basketball Team.

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 In Whole Canada, Only one police office attached to religious building

·        Ross Street Temple police office is one of a kind

Mike Howell / Vancouver Courier/ October 28, 2013 10:18 AM


Kashmir Dhaliwal says having police officers such as Insp. Steve Rai who can speak Punjabi and understand South Asian culture has put community members at ease. photo Dan Toulgoet  

Kashmir Dhaliwal says having police officers such as Insp. Steve Rai who can speak Punjabi and understand South Asian culture has put community members at ease. photo Dan Toulgoet

There’s nothing remarkable about the design of the community policing office tucked in behind the front entrance of the Ross Street Temple’s resource centre and library.

It’s a small room, with tables and chairs.

But its location is significant: It is believed to be the only police office of its kind attached to a religious building in Canada, according to Insp. Steve Rai of the Vancouver Police Department.

“It was a natural fit because it is the centre of a lot of things,” said Rai, whose brother Roger, also a VPD officer, was instrumental in getting the office open in 2008 adjacent to the temple at 8000 Ross St. in South Vancouver.

Rai acknowledged there was a small segment of the congregation that didn’t want the office on the grounds of the temple. But, he said, the executive of the Khalsa Diwan Society, which operates the temple, agreed the office would benefit the community.

Kashmir Dhaliwal, past president of the society, said the office has provided a vital link that previously didn’t exist. Having volunteers and police officers who can speak Punjabi and understand South Asian culture has put community members at ease when requiring the services of the police.

“That’s a big help because most of our seniors don’t speak English,” said Dhaliwal in an interview from inside a room at the temple. “People understand that police aren’t here harassing anybody but they are here to help us.”

He said many people in the community won’t travel to a police station if they have questions or concerns about an issue. Having the office adjacent to the temple and open on Sundays during the busiest day of worship is convenient.

The office serves as a satellite space to the South Vancouver policing centre at 41st and Victoria, which is staffed by two officers. Two patrol officers who speak Punjabi also liaise with temple members.

When the VPD announced the opening of the office in July 2008, the department said it would focus on domestic violence, incidents related to alcohol and gang violence — all significant issues in the community.

“The purpose of the office is to make community members understand and accept their responsibility in stopping and getting involved in educating each other of the negative impact of the above mentioned issues,” Sgt. Roger Rai said in a statement on the day of the office’s opening. “They can be accountable and provide leadership to each other and the younger members of the community.”

So, have the police seen any progress?

While Insp. Steve Rai didn’t have statistics to measure decreases or increases with domestic violence and the other issues, he told the story of a father who reached out to the office and was put in touch with police.

The parent was worried his son was involved with gangs.

“We interjected and tried to put him on a different path,” he said, noting the male was on the periphery of a group involved in violent assaults. “So that kid probably would have continued on the path with these other kids and most likely ended up in gangs and drugs. The parents would not have known and you might have another hardcore gangster five years down the road.”

For Dhaliwal, the other benefit the office has given young members of the community is a more positive image of police officers. In fact, he said, two former volunteers at the office are now in uniform.

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