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Former SOSS grad top cop in City of Victoria

Former SOSS grad top cop in City of Victoria

Frank ElsnerA former Oliver high school graduate credits teachers for his success as he prepares to take the reigns as Victoria’s new police chief.

Frank Elsner said his instructors at SOSS made a big impact on his life, especially wrestling coach John Suttie.

“He taught me some life lessons about being a man and a leader,” Elsner said from Sudbury, where he was saying goodbye to his colleagues.

Elsner left his post as Greater Sudbury police chief to be Victoria’s top law enforcer.

Elsner said saying goodbye was a sad affair, so his daughter skipped school that day to “take care of her dad.”

Elsner noted that after high school, he needed to see the world. But admittedly, he’s been trying to get back to BC for the past 30 years.

His sister, Martina Doll from Oliver, said she has always admired her brother for his involvement in school activities. He was the president of the student council, was active in drama, and was the captain of the wrestling team.

“He certainly had leadership qualities as a young man,” Doll said.

She noted there was never a dull moment growing up with Frank. He preferred to be in the know of things, and had a very curious mind.

Doll said her brother never really had to apply himself in school; he did well in everything he approached. He always said what was on his mind, and when he wanted something, he made it happen.

Elsner wanted to be a cop since he was 18. He told the Chronicle that he made this decision after a couple of RCMP officers visited his law class.

“They talked to us about what they did, and I said, ‘wow, that’s what I want to do.’”

But he wasn’t crazy about the crew cuts that the RCMP were subjected to back then, so he thought the Vancouver Police Department would be a better fit.

He graduated from high school in 1981 and subsequently became an auxiliary police officer in Oliver. He left the community at age 22 to pursue his policing career in Ontario.

His career was something most people only see on television. He spent many years in perilous undercover work, which included time in jail and collaborating with all kinds of unsavory characters. It was a far cry from his teen years in Oliver.

“As a kid, I loved how safe it was and the smallness of it. Everyone knew me, and the school was like a family atmosphere.”

Former teacher Roger McKay recalled Elsner as a happy, friendly kid who did what he was supposed to do in school.

“He wasn’t a bad kid in any way, shape or form.”

McKay said Elsner wasn’t the type to stand out from the crowd, which probably explained his affinity for undercover work.

Zita Weichel, Elsner’s mother, admitted he was a real “handful” as a boy, but she never had a problem with him during his teen years in Oliver.

“Frank was not the type of guy to stay around; he always wanted to go, go, go.”

Weichel said she is extremely proud of her son’s accomplishments, and is happy that he made good on his desire to return to BC.

Lyonel Doherty

Oliver Chronicle

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