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Keeping watch

Commissionaire says uneventful job suits him just fine

Chris Puglia
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 02/02) - Following the Crimean War in 1853, veterans returned to England jobless and many were burdened with war-time injuries.

At that time, Captain Green began the Commissionaire Corp. and was contracted for the security detail in the parliamentary building in England.

In 1995, 142 years later, a branch of the Corp. was officially started in Yellowknife. The move was spearheaded by warrant officer Glen Clouston, now detachment commander of the commissionaires in Yellowknife.

Clouston had been working in the security field in Yellowknife five years prior to inviting the national leader of the Corp. to the city to pitch the idea of forming a Commissionaire Corp here.

It worked and the office is now located in the Department of National Defence Building in Yellowknife.

"I started it myself (along with) four people in the building."

Today there are six commissionaires in the city. They provide security to the DND building, the RCMP detachment and other facilities. Clouston also has a contract that allows him to ticket and tow vehicles when necessary.

Ideally, commissionaires are ex-RCMP or Armed Force members like Clouston.

He was a cadet in 1963 and later joined the Red Force in 1969. He retired from the army in 1983.

But due to a lack of recruits, Clouston has had to consider other options.

"I have to train and backfill with civilians," said Clouston, who got into the security business after an accident left him unable to continue driving a cab.

During his time in the Corp., Clouston has met the Queen of England and the Governor General of Canada.

Overall, he says his job is basically uneventful but that is the way he likes it.

"What I do is not very glorious or glamorous. Normal day-to-day duties are pretty quiet, when it gets busy that's when trouble starts," said Clouston.

"We're more a preventative medicine than a solution."