ORILLIA, ON, July 29 - As my term as Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) comes to an end, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the people of this great province and the men and women - uniform and civilian - of this proud organization for their support.
When I accepted the responsibility for leading one of North America's largest deployed police services on October 30, 2006, my goals included ensuring the highways and the 316 communities for which the OPP is the police service of jurisdiction were safe for residents and visitors alike.
I've been always mindful that to achieve success, police need to establish mutually-beneficial partnerships with people in communities across this province. Our people on the front lines have developed and enhanced those relationships by working with members of police service boards, business and community leaders, and service organizations. We don't police the community - we police with the community.
As a result, the OPP is regarded as a benchmark police service by taking an intelligence-led approach to organized crime enforcement - drugs, weapons, contraband smuggling, and outlaw motorcycle gangs - and by finding hate-mongers and child abusers on the internet and bringing them to justice.
Our highly visible and award-winning Provincial Traffic Safety Program has engineered a significant reduction in the number of deaths and injuries associated with collisions.
Our members have also worked diligently, through the use of technology and good old-fashioned police work to solve historic homicides, identify missing loved ones, and address electronic crimes. These complex investigations are the result of collaborative partnerships with the community, municipal, federal and international law enforcement agencies that have a shared goal of public safety.
The OPP played a large role in the coordination and successful execution of a major security effort - the G8/G20 Summits. We were also heartened and inspired by the welcome and best wishes received in communities across Ontario during the celebration of the OPP's 100th Anniversary in 2009.
I firmly believe you can't lead without having great people behind you - after all, they do the work. I am confidently passing the torch of leadership to Deputy Commissioner Chris Lewis, for whom I have great respect and admiration, as the next OPP Commissioner.
It has been a great honour and privilege - and the highlight of my 40-plus years in public service - to lead the dedicated members of such a fine organization and to serve the people of Ontario.