Sep 12 2012
HALIFAX - The head of the Halifax RCMP will take over as chief of the regional police next month.
Jean-Michel Blais, the current chief superintendent of Halifax RCMP, will start his new duties Oct. 10.
Blais, who has a law degree from Laval University in Quebec City, assumed command of the Halifax detachment last September.
He will replace Chief Frank Beazley, who will officially turn over command in a ceremony Oct. 19. Beazley announced plans to retire in April, after leading the regional police since 2002.
Earl Gosse, chairman of the police commission, said the board will work with the incoming and outgoing chiefs to ensure a smooth transition.
Gosse said Beazley served the city well, working his way up the ranks.
The municipality is policed by two forces: the RCMP and regional police.
The RCMP has about 195 officers and 31 civilian employees, and there are about 470 regional police officers and 230 civilian employees.
Halifax RCMP operate six offices in outlying areas of the municipality — Cole Harbour, Lower Sackville, Musquodoboit Harbour, Sheet Harbour, Upper Tantallon and North Preston —and contribute members to integrated specialized units that include regional police officers.
Halifax Regional Police have three divisions: east, west and central.
Retired staff sergeant and city council hopeful Jim Hoskins said he was not happy when he first learned of the new chief.
“My first gut reaction, as an ex-member, I was not pleased when I heard the news. I was hoping that we could go inside,” Hoskins said during a telephone interview Tuesday.
“We have spent thousands of dollars over the years in succession planning, and it’s quite obvious that we’ve failed in that. We’ve got an outside city manager and an outside fire chief as well.
“So there is something going amiss with the succession planning for the city. We have to look at that.”
However, Hoskins said he’s “cautiously optimistic” and vowed to help the new chief as a citizen and, if elected, as a councillor. He said he will demand Blais look into the problem of violent crime in the region. On that front, Hoskins said, Beazley “did miserably.”
“Let’s hope that (Blais has) got some good plans for the future.”
(Halifax Chronicle Herald)