Today, Mayor Mike Savage and Chief Jean-Michel (JM) Blais of Halifax Regional Police (HRP) swore-in 17 new police officers at a ceremony at Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth. Some of the recruits come to HRP as graduates of the Atlantic Police Academy in Summerside, PEI and others were previously serving with other police agencies. The new officers will fill existing vacancies in the Patrol Division.
Following are Chief Blais' words of welcome to the new officers. During his speech, he challenged all of us to look beyond the uniform:
Today is a very special day for the men and women who are now employees of Halifax Regional Police.
Today they are seeing the success of their hard work after competing with a large group of applicants for full-time employment with our police service and undergoing in-house training over the last several weeks.
You are joining HRP at a critical time in its history. Just shy of our 20th birthday as an amalgamated police service, we have developed a strategic plan that will guide us well into the 2020s. Our mission – to work together to keep our communities safe, is driven by our vision of building and maintaining public confidence, trust and safety in partnerships with our communities. That will allow us to drive a strategic impact of making ongoing and meaningful contributions to the well-being and safety of our communities.
I have already met with and spoken to each and every one of you about our core values. I think that they are worth repeating here:
-we recognise that people and their well-being are our primary concern;
-we see in everyone we deal with a human being worthy of our respect;
-we do the right thing, in the right way, for the right reason;
-we recognise that community relationships are the foundation from which we work;
-and we further recognise that open, honest and constructive communication always matters.
I would ask that you look at this group of people. Look beyond their outside textures and differences, be it their gender, the colour of their skin or their ethnic backgrounds. Look inside the uniforms to see a diverse group of individuals who have considerable life experience. In this group, you have at least ten undergraduate degrees and several community college diplomas in various areas of study such as criminology, history, commerce, biblical studies, architecture and computer science.
You also have thousands of hours of community service with local organizations such as the Phoenix Youth Centre, Shelter Nova Scotia, Tall Ships, IWK, The Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, the Alzheimer Society, and HRP Citizens on Patrol, but to name a few.
They have prior police and military experience serving their country with honour and distinction here in Nova Scotia and in other provinces working with First Nations communities and internationally in war-torn countries.
They are coaches, mentors and leaders. Their outside appearances do not do justice in demonstrating the diversity of thoughts, views and experiences they have as individuals in a collective group.
We are proud to count you amongst us as we serve our communities. We welcome you to Halifax Regional Police. We welcome you to Halifax Regional Municipality. And we welcome you to serving our community the best you can with the best approaches, ideas and considerations possible. That is the strength of diversity.
Thank you for accepting this challenge. Do not ever forget the experiences and life choices that have brought you here to HRP. Use that experience with pride in your uniform, pride in what HRP does for the community and pride in who you are. Because I am so terribly proud of this organisation and the future we have together. You are now part of that. Thank you, merci, megewich.