City gets ball rolling on search for new chief

Mayor Greg Dionne, city manager Jim Toye, member at large Pat Weir and Prince Albert Grand Council representative Rick Sanderson have been selected to head up the search for Prince Albert’s next police chief.

On Friday, the city’s Board of Police Commissioners announced that all four would serve on the screening committee, which will review applications, complete reference checks and forward a recommendation to the seven-member hiring committee.

The hiring committee, which includes all current members of the Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners, will make the final decision.

Dionne said the four-member steering committee was selected based on their operational and administrative experience. They’ll be tasked with looking fort someone who can not only lead the police force, but also fit in with the community.

“You always want to have a look at your structure,” Dionne said. “We want (the applicants’) opinion on community involvement, because Troy and every chief that we’ve had has been very involved in the community,” Dionne explained.

Ward 3 Coun. Evert Botha, one of two city councillors who will serve on the hiring committee, echoed that sentiment.

“Chief Cooper has been an incredible builder of bridges in our community,” he said. “I think that’s definitely something that we will look for going forward.”

Dionne added that the search was a “major decision” for the city, and one that wouldn’t be made quickly. The committee plans to ask about strategies for lowering Prince Albert’s crime rate, and Dionne expects to get a variety of responses to that question.

There is no set time frame for the when the final decision will be made. Until then, Prince Albert Police Service Deputy Chief Jeff Rowden will take over the top job.

Cooper offered his resignation in January to become Saskatoon’s chief of police. He officially starts his new role on Feb. 28.

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