Blue Line

Chatham-Kent Police announce police chief retirement and new appointment

June 6, 2024  By Blue Line Staff

June 6, 2024, Chatham, Ont. – The Chatham-Kent Police Services Board (CKPSB) recently announced that they have received and accepted Chief Gary Conn’s notice of retirement, set for June 14. Conn was appointed as chief of police in May 2015.

In 1995, the London Police Service hired Conn, and in 1998 he joined the newly amalgamated Chatham-Kent Police Service (CKPS). Over the course of his nearly 30-year career, Conn has had the privilege to work in many areas of policing, either in a direct or supervisory role. In 2002, he was seconded to the Ontario Police College for two years, where he facilitated the Basic Constable Training (BCT) program.

During his nine years as chief, he was known as a progressive and people-focused leader who was instrumental as a champion of change for many initiatives. He facilitated the creation of a state-of-the-art training facility and firearms range while bringing CCTVs to the core downtown areas of Chatham-Kent. Over the years, he has worked in collaboration with the Board and Associations to increase and enhance wrap-around supports and services for police personnel dealing with work-related operational stress injuries. Finally, he championed the Deloitte Staffing and Operations Resource Analysis, which increased the authorized strength of the CKPS by an additional 43 full-time members.

“It has been both an honour and a privilege to serve the residents of Chatham-Kent as a police officer and your chief of police. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the municipality, community, the police services board of Chatham-Kent, our senior officers, entire membership, and Associations. Your trust, support, and collaboration have been the bedrock of our success. It is the strength of our community that has enabled us to create a safer and more inclusive environment for all,” said Conn.


Board Chair Patrick Weaver states, “Chief Conn has been an integral part of the organization and has demonstrated exceptional leadership internally and externally. Chief Conn has always focused on community safety and his contributions at all levels of government has and will continue to positively impact Chatham-Kent for the foreseeable future.”

The CKPSB immediately initiated a replacement process and selected Deputy Chief Kirk Earley to assume command as the Chief Designate effective June 15 until his official swearing-in on June 19.

Chief Designate Earley is a 27-year veteran who began his career with the Chatham Police Service as a special constable in 1997. In 1998, Kirk was sworn in as a constable with the newly formed Chatham-Kent Police Service. Kirk has spent time over his career, in Community Patrol, Training, Community Priority Action Team, Major Crime, and the Intelligence Section. Kirk has also held various supervisory roles in each branch of the Service, gaining extensive experience in a multitude of levels.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be given this opportunity and I thank the Board for their support. A key priority for our success will be ensuring the health and well-being of our members. Member Wellness is not just a buzzword; it is a fundamental principle that underpins our ability to perform at our best. When we take care of our members, we are far better equipped to care for and serve those around us. With the significant shift in crime complexity, we must also work diligently to ensure our goals and objectives are in-line with the needs of our community, through meaningful dialogue. We will continue to take a collaborative approach, to ensure the appropriate resources are in place for our members and for the community, with the common goal to enhance the health and well-being of our community,” said Earley.

Weaver states, “Deputy Chief Earley has displayed a strong commitment to the service and community for over 27 years. Deputy Chief Earley is deeply rooted in the Chatham-Kent Community, being born and raised here. He understands the organization, the people, and the needs of the community.”

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