A family who was visiting Drumheller from the west coast of British Columbia will have an experience to share with friends and family back home after a wonderful encounter with a local RCMP officer.
Phil Lovera and his wife Adriana were visiting Drumheller to celebrate their grandson Theo’s upcoming fifth birthday, just prior to the May long weekend, and were taking in some of the popular tourist attractions when they had a chance encounter with Constable Victor Iliescu on Thursday, May 18.
“The hospitality we received was first class,” says Phil of the trip. “People were very friendly.”
According to Adriana, Theo is a “dinosaur freak,” and his grandparents decided to treat him to an experience rather than a traditional birthday gift.
The trio flew into Calgary and took in the Calgary Zoo before making the drive to Drumheller and visiting the Royal Tyrrell Museum.
On Thursday, May 18, the three planned to visit Tyra, the World’s Largest Dinosaur, but arrived about a half hour before it opened and were looking for ways to keep Theo entertained while they waited.
They decided upon a walk to look at some of the dinosaurs around the area, and about five minutes into the walk Phil noticed an RCMP vehicle drive past them and pull over.
Cst. Iliescu, who was driving the RCMP vehicle, approached the family and jokingly asked whether the dinosaurs were as cool as his police car and let the youngest sit in the cruiser and turn on the flashing lights.
This is not the first time Cst. Iliescu has had similar interactions with people in the community, and he says it is a great way to show people that RCMP officers are just regular people doing a job.
“It’s really cool to connect with people, and it’s nice to be able to stop and say hi,” Cst. Iliescu tells the Mail.
Community engagement was one of the priorities outlined by the Drumheller RCMP in its 2023-2024 fiscal community priorities which were recently released. Interactions such as these are a great way for RCMP to show people, especially youth, officers are not scary and can be friendly and approachable.
Staff Sergeant Rob Harms says, “The interaction between Cst. Iliescu and (Theo) is simply another thing we do in our day to day policing. Youth and public engagement is important to members of the Drumheller detachment, and it’s great to see that we put another smile on someone’s face.”
For Phil and Adriana, they are thoroughly appreciative of the experience they had in Drumheller, adding they had “nothing but good memories,” and Theo already wants to come back again.
By Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, DrumhellerMail.com
Original Published on May 31, 2023