Former B.C. police chief dies in ATV accident

Ex-Nelson top cop began his career in Vancouver

Former Nelson police chief Dan Maluta died in an all-terrain vehicle accident over the weekend near Trail.

Maluta started his career with the Vancouver Police Department in 1981, where he worked for the first nine years of his career.

“But growing up in Trail he knew he wanted to return to the Kootenays,” states a Nelson Police Department news release.

“So he moved back to the area and joined the Nelson Police Department in April of 1990. Dan worked in patrol and GIS, and he made his way through the ranks of corporal, sergeant and then was appointed to inspector in January of 2000.”

In October 2001, Maluta was appointed the 19th chief of the Nelson Police Department.

Maluta and former Nelson mayor John Dooley were neighbours and good friends. They also had a professional relationship because Dooley was mayor and chair of the police board during Maluta’s tenure as police chief.

Dooley told the Star on Tuesday that he and Maluta often went hunting and skiing together, and that their families were close.

“All our children are around the same age and they all grew up together. There are just three houses on the street here, and we all experienced them growing up and having family dinners and barbecues in the yard, and baptisms and confirmations and communions, and all the family things, sports and music. We were very close over the years and when they moved to Bonnington we still had Christmas and Easter get-togethers.”

Not long after Maluta retired in 2011, he was diagnosed with brain cancer.

“That was a shock to all of us,” Dooley said, “because when you retire things are supposed to fall into place. Being the type of person he is, a very determined person, he was able to battle his way through that, in spite of the prognosis that it was highly unlikely he would survive it.”

Dooley said Maluta changed after his cancer surgery, “because of the illness and the trauma of brain surgery.” But during the last couple of years “you could see him coming back to the Dan we all knew before. He started to come back to himself as he healed.”

Dooley remembers Maluta as a helpful person.

“Danny was the kind of person who was always available if someone needed help. When the accident happened, from what I can gather, he was helping some friends. He would help anyone. He was fantastic like that, just ask his colleagues at the police station there.”

The police department news release states that Maluta made positive changes in his years as chief “including creating many of the integration agreements that are still in place with the local RCMP, obtaining the police badge and flag for the department conferred by the Governor General, and creating the first departmental strategic plan. When he retired in 2011, Dan received recognition for his outstanding service to policing at the annual Police Honours event in Victoria.”

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