With 2015 coming to a close, I, like many of us do at this time of the year, have been reflecting on the past 12 months and all that it has involved for Halifax Regional Police – significant events, accomplishments, losses and some challenges.
Here are a few highlights of our year:
- Introduced our 10-year Strategic Plan: Following extensive internal and external consultation, we introduced our 10-Year Strategic Plan which updated our Mission, Vision, Strategic Impact and Core Values.
- Prevented mass shooting: We prevented what could have been a horrific scenario where individuals had planned a mass shooting at Halifax Shopping Centre.
- Solved crimes: We investigated and solved countless crimes. Of note, we solved all nine homicides that occurred this year as well as two historical homicides.
- Responded to calls for service: We answered more than 96,000 emergency calls, more than 199,000 non-emergency calls, and responded to more than 103,000 dispatched calls.
- Enhanced our training & equipment: We purchased hard-body armour for our front-line officers and researched and prepared open space active shooter training which will take place in 2016.
- Restructured management team and streamlined reporting relationships: Restructured our management team, including reintroducing the Inspector rank to align our structure with other Canadian police services. As part of the reorganization, we streamlined reporting relationships throughout the police service.
- Focussed on employee wellness: We implemented the Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) program to ensure we help our employees be more resilient in dealing with the challenges they’re exposed to through policing.
- Developed community relationships and volunteered in our community: We developed even more community relationships, such as with the LGBTQ and Muslim communities. We also contributed thousands of volunteer hours to our community, both within and outside of the public safety arena. We reprised the very popular Police Chase, with the profits benefitting Special Olympics Nova Scotia and participated in the 11th iteration of Cop Shop which benefitted some very important young people.
- Expanded our social media outreach: We feel fortunate to connect with our citizens on social media – more than 21,000 like us people on Facebook and more than 54,500 follow us on Twitter.
Of course no year is without its challenges for a police service. We said goodbye to some close friends from within and outside of our ranks, we received reviews critical of our approaches. We have accepted them with the knowledge that they will make us better as we prepare for 2016. And speaking of the New Year, we look forward to continuing to serve our community and furthering our Strategic Plan in the months ahead.
My sincere thanks to the employees, volunteers, retirees, partners and citizens who made our many successes in 2015 possible. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and may your 2016 be full of peace and happiness.
Chief Jean-Michel (JM) Blais