Blue Line

News
New chief ‘right leader for the right time’

Oct 06 2015

CALGARY - Calgary's new police chief says he's reminded to keep a level head every time he picks up his officer's hat.

Inside the red lining, Roger Chaffin keeps a photo of his former partner, Peter Bellion, who died in 2004, to make sure of that.

"He had that sort of amazing bluntness about him," Chaffin told reporters shortly after he was named Calgary's top cop on Tuesday.

"He always used to challenge me about stuff and I just liked that about him," Chaffin said. "The ability to speak candidly, and be clear, and drop political correctness to make sure we were doing the right things."


October 9, 2014
By Corrie Sloot

Oct 06 2015

CALGARY – Calgary’s new police chief says he’s reminded to keep a level head every time he picks up his officer’s hat.

Inside the red lining, Roger Chaffin keeps a photo of his former partner, Peter Bellion, who died in 2004, to make sure of that.

“He had that sort of amazing bluntness about him,” Chaffin told reporters shortly after he was named Calgary’s top cop on Tuesday.

“He always used to challenge me about stuff and I just liked that about him,” Chaffin said. “The ability to speak candidly, and be clear, and drop political correctness to make sure we were doing the right things.”

Chaffin, who joined the Calgary Police Service in 1986, was appointed chief following a six-month search to fill the role after Rick Hanson stepped down in March.

Rod Fong, chairman of the Calgary police commission, said the search to replace Hanson was an exhaustive process involving months of consultations with citizens and community stakeholders.

“We are confident that based on the input that we received from extensive community engagement that we have chosen the right leader for the right time,” Fong said.

Both the police commission and city council unanimously approved Chaffin’s selection. Council ratified his five-year agreement on Tuesday, which takes effect Oct. 19.

Chaffin previously served as a deputy chief and has overseen several key investigative units dealing with organized and serious crime, and was seen by many as a viable contender for the top job.

He comes to the position as the city grapples with significant challenges, such as stemming the tide of fentanyl use and curbing a recent uptick in gang-related violence.

“Rest assured, we will double down on this idea that gang violence and these threats to our community will not go unchallenged,” Chaffin said.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who praised the Calgary Police Service as “amongst the very best if not the best” in the world, said his priority for the future chief was focused on building strong, resilient and connected communities.

“I’m particularly thrilled that our new leader of our Calgary Police Service comes from within, showing the strength and the depth of the police service as it now stands,” Nenshi said.

Chaffin echoed the mayor’s sentiments, saying he would continue building relationships within the community, and noted the police service in Calgary has evolved into “an instrument of social justice as opposed to an instrument of paramilitary force” over the years.

“I see no need to ever step back from that model,” he said.

Like Chaffin, the other two deputies who served under Hanson, Trevor Daroux and Murray Stooke, also applied for the top job.

“All of them could have done the job easily and they all have different attributes,” said Howard Burns, president of the Calgary Police Association, which represents the department’s 2,100 rank-and-file officers.

Sources confirmed to the Herald two current superintendents applied for the job, and that the list of external candidates included two senior officers who left the force in recent years: a former deputy chief and a retired superintendent who works for a private-sector company.

In his most recent role, Chaffin headed the bureau of organizational support, which oversees training, information technology, and human resources.

“I noticed (Hanson) leaned on him – and leaned on him heavily,” Burns said.

Burns credited Chaffin with solving chronic problems with the police radio system – an issue that didn’t generate much public attention, but had the potential to endanger officer safety if it wasn’t dealt with properly.

“If you don’t handle issues like that well, those are the sorts of things that can boil over publicly,” said Burns.

Chaffin said he’d like to see the service become more innovative and adopt new and emerging technologies to tackle crime under his watch.

“There are little things that perhaps people don’t notice but there are technologies out there that make us faster, make us smarter (and) take fewer people to do better work,” he said. “(It’s) something we have to look at.”

(Calgary Herald)


Print this page

Related

Tags



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*