A security guard who was assaulted in Riverside Park is eager to return to work and thanking police and the community for their efforts in the arrest of his alleged assailant.
"If I was physically capable and cleared by the doctors, I would be here tomorrow," Glen Warner.
The 71-year-old security guard and former corrections officer was assaulted on July 2 by a man who was asked by Warner to not smoke in the park.
The suspect, a 33-year-old man from Surrey, was arrested Tuesday night after tips poured in from the community via media stories.
Warner and his son, Jason, met with RCMP Staff Sgt. Mathias Van Laer and media in Riverside Park on Wednesday to give thanks to the community and police following the arrest.
Doctors told Warner he should have feeling back in his face within three to five months after nerve damage heals. He underwent surgery on Tuesday night, which saw doctors place a titanium plate beneath his right eye.
Warner expects he will be off work for two to four weeks, but would like to return to work with Securiguard, which holds the contact for security in Riverside Park, as soon as he can.
In the interim, a guard with Paladin Security is overseeing the park — a necessity, according to City of Kamloops community and protective services director Byron McCorkell.
McCorkell said Paladin is covering the park in the interim because Securiguard couldn't supply another guard on short notice.
"What better job could you have than getting paid to talk to people and hang out in the park?" Warner said of his job. In the three-and-a-half years Warner has been with Securiguard, he said the July 2 incident is not typical.
"I talk to street people and addicts all the time in this job. I've got a lot of respect from a lot of these guys," he said.
Warner admits he had his guard down somewhat during the incident that led to the assault and was standing closer to the man than he normally would to someone he hadn't encountered before.
Warner said the man called him over after being confronted for smoking in a non-smoking area.
"I didn't even get words out of my mouth,” Warner said. “He just said a few vulgarities, said, ‘Hit the road, goof' and he smoked me. Because I read it wrong, ... It just went sideways, that's all.”
Warner used his cellphone to snap a few photographs of the man before calling 911 and taking refuge in his truck.
Initially, Warner said was disappointed with the police response, but after giving a verbal statement and seeing tips come in, his outlook changed.
Son Jason said a hotel manager spotted the man and kept in communication with police, who later made the arrest.
"It was fantastic. It was amazing to hear from the sidelines how they resolved this," Jason said.
Warner said he doesn't believe the park needs a second guard, noting he has been trained to get by with just his voice and his phone.
"Use those properly and you can wade through pretty much anything," he said.
McCorkell said Riverside is the only park where the city uses contracted security and that Securiguard was brought in due to problems at the public washroom at Heritage House. At other public washrooms, the city uses bylaws officers for security.
McCorkell said if a second guard were to be added to the park, it would be up to the contractor to make that proposal to the city.
"We're reviewing the whole service level around public washrooms and what we need to do going forward. But this incident is separate to that conversation," McCorkell said.