Mayor Bob Bratina says it’s up to Hamilton Police Chief Glenn De Caire to explain why he’s stepping down at the end of next year, but he hopes the new chief will possess the same “strength of character” to “deal with the recalcitrance of politicians and the media.”
“I am saddened that we are losing someone of his caliber, character and competence, who has brought such benefit to the city through the effective policing measures he implemented,” said Bratina, who’s also the police board chair.
He expects the board to determine the process to replace De Caire at this Monday’s meeting and hopes the new chief will be selected by the spring.
“I can’t say when exactly the new chief would commence duties,” said Bratina, who responded to inquiries via email.
De Caire declined to be interviewed for this story, choosing instead to post his announcement on the Hamilton Police Service website on Sept. 3.
He offered no explanation for his decision, focusing nearly all of his written statement on what he characterized as police successes since he took up the helm in 2009.
Cited accomplishments included: a rise in enforcement levels of over 50 per cent from 2008, an increase in arrests from a yearly average of 7,200 to the 2012 level of 8,600, four of five budgets under four per cent from 2009 to 2013 and a decrease in violent crime severity of 19 per cent in 2012 – the largest in the country.
“It continues to be my privilege and my pleasure to serve the citizens of Hamilton and it is an honour to represent each of our members,” De Caire stated. “We still have lots of work to do for the remainder of 2013 – 2014 and we, as the proud Police Service that we are, remain committed to the relentless pursuit of offenders, enhancement of community safety and the protection of victims of crime.”
Hamilton Police Association president Mike Thomas said De Caire’s announcement was surprising.
“I was surprised that that was his decision to not pursue a contract extension,” he said. “I would think he’s probably got a plan in place and I think he’s well too young to retire. Whatever that next door is that he’s going to enter into, we wish him well and all the best of luck.”
Thomas said the board’s process to replace De Caire could include hiring a consultant to help manage applicants.
The process is similar to any large organization or corporation hiring a CEO, he added.
“What police services boards tend to do now is they go out and they find a consulting firm or an employment firm and they will actually do the advertising for a position like this,” Thomas said. “It would be advertised right across Canada. Basically, they just want to get all the candidates that are interested in this position and that company will make a short list for the board to review and then they take it over at that time.”
Thomas said the board’s goal is going to be to find the “best person” to fill the role.
“I think you’ve got to have a knowledge of policing at all levels of the organization and be politically astute, understanding basically all levels of the government,” he said. “I think you would have to have a real, solid understanding of the economics and the future of where policing is heading and be very comfortable working with the media. I just think you need really solid, strong leadership skills. I think the question everybody’s asking is, will it be an internal or external chief this time?”