December 21, 2018
As 2018 winds down, I find myself reflecting, not only on the end of another year, but also on the privilege of serving as Chief of Halifax Regional Police for the past six years. It’s bittersweet to realize that this is my last Annual Review - the first of many “lasts” to come - and so for the final time as Chief, I’d like to share with you some of the highlights from this year.
- Committed to service: We answered more than 123,000 emergency calls and close to 200,000 police-specific calls while responding to more than 96,000 dispatched calls. If we add traffic stops and breach checks to the dispatched call amounts, we responded to more than 118,000 calls for service. More than 2600 of those calls for service involved individuals suffering from various mental health issues, which speaks volumes to the importance of continued attention to this area.
- Focused on solving crime: We investigated and solved countless crimes while dealing with the challenges of violent crime. There have been six homicides this year to-date, the lowest number in four years, with investigators laying charges in five of those cases.
- Hosting the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference: In August, we hosted Canada’s police chiefs and senior executives at the 113th Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) annual conference, co-hosted by HRP, Halifax District RCMP and the Canadian Forces Military Police. The theme for the conference was “Policing in an Ever-changing Environment”. An important part of how police services are rising to the challenge of change is through cross-pollination of ideas, open-mindedness and sharing of skills to both the benefit of our profession as well as of the citizens we serve. Conference attendees couldn’t say enough about the wonderful time they had in our city enjoying Halifax’s warm hospitality, culinary delights and seaside charm.
- Progressing the Halifax Regional Police Foundation: We made substantial progress in bringing the Halifax Regional Police Foundation (HRPF) to fruition. HRPF will provide ancillary funding for crime prevention and support initiatives for communities served by HRP. The areas of focus are supporting youth and encouraging innovation in support of safer, stronger and more inclusive communities. We expect to launch HRPF with an exciting announcement early in the New Year.
- Maintaining our strategic outlook: At the three-year mark of our 10-year Strategic Plan, we’ve undertaken a refresh of the Plan to benchmark our progress and develop action items for the next two years. As part of this process, we hosted four engagement sessions to share information and solicit input from employees and key stakeholders. We anticipate sharing the Strategic Plan update with you in January.
- Invested in our employees’ wellness: Our Wellness Program Specialist has made significant progress in advancing employee wellness including launching a Wellness Steering Committee and associated working groups, developing a fatigue management component for our annual training program, and introducing various programs including Therapeutic Paws of Canada visits and mobile massage clinics.
- Stepping up to major challenges of 2018: The legalization of cannabis dominated the headlines throughout the year and I’m pleased to say that our measured approach has served us well in the first few months following legalization. The tragic loss of two Fredericton police officers who were shot while responding to a call reminded us all of the inherent dangers of policing. The aftermath of it also spoke volumes about the support and respect our community has for law enforcement personnel. On behalf of HRP, I thank you for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our colleagues in Fredericton during that most difficult time.
As I prepare to hand over the stewardship of HRP to a new chief, I want to assure you that I have full confidence in the leadership and employees of HRP to continue building and maintaining confidence, trust and safety in partnership with our community. The banner at the top of the page, borrowed from this year’s holiday card, pays tribute to HRP’s long and proud history of service to our community. I am profoundly honoured to be a part of that tradition. I can truly say it has been a privilege to serve this progressive, unique and vibrant community as Chief of Police and I thank you for your support over the past six years.
On behalf of my wife, Marianne, my daughters Victoria and Rebecca, as well as my son Jean-Cédéric, I wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays. May peace, health and happiness be yours in 2019.