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Hamilton Police Chief Decaire, we need to talk about Bill Blair

Hamilton Police Chief Glenn De Caire seems to have commitment issues.

First, there was his “retirement” announced last year when he said he would be leaving his job at the end of 2014. Then in June, he decided that he really did want to be Hamilton’s top cop after all and, in spite of a fair bit of controversy around the process, convinced the police services board to take him back.

Now, with the recent announcement that Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair won’t get another term, speculation has arisen that De Caire’s eyes might be wandering down the QEW to Hogtown.

Instead of coming out and saying that he’s not interested in the job and that he’s totally committed to Hamilton, he’s decided to play coy.

“The Chief is not going to comment on the pending vacancy of the position of the Chief of Police of the Toronto Police Service,” read the official statement.

It’s not exactly a profession of undying love to Hamilton, is it?

At the very least, the statement seems to indicate that De Caire hasn’t ruled out looking into the Toronto job, which may be heartbreaking to those who helped him get reappointed. Councillor and police board chair Lloyd Ferguson and businessman Charles Juravinski may find themselves left at the dance alone while De Caire decides to go off with someone else.

Of course there is no guarantee that, even if De Caire is truly in love with the Toronto job, the affection would be returned. There are several attractive internal candidates and appealing chiefs from around the Golden Horseshoe who will make this a competitive process.

De Caire’s policing resumé would make him an inviting candidate, but would Toronto take a risk on a chief who would be leaving his current job with so much baggage?

But what really hurts for Hamiltonians, regardless of their opinion on De Caire, is the thought of being so publicly jilted by someone who can’t seem to make up his mind as to whether or not he’s willing to make a long-term commitment to the city, or is just waiting for something better to come along.

If he truly would rather be somewhere else, then De Caire owes it to Hamilton to say so rather than leaving citizens and his own officers to wonder if today will be the day they wake up and he’ll be gone.

Perhaps it’s time for Hamilton to sit De Caire down and tell him: “Chief, we need to talk.”

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