The search for a new chief of the Windsor Police is in its final stages.

Monday, the Windsor Police Services Board, chaired by Mayor Eddie Francis, will begin interviewing candidates.

Windsor's last chief, Gary Smith, retired amid a storm of controversy after an officer was suspended over allegations of sexual assault and another was charged with assault for beating an innocent and legally blind doctor.

"We want to try and institute a cultural change," Francis said. "It shouldn’t be a surprise to any of the candidates coming in, in terms of some of the challenges we’re facing."

Law professor David Tanovich is a researcher for the Windsor Police Board. He called the new hire "a real watershed moment for the Windsor Police Service."

"The issues that have faced the Windsor Police Service are not unique to the Windsor Police Service," Tanovich said. "We should be looking for a progressive leader with a vision."

He said the next chief must be able to identify potential problems ahead of time rather than reacting to them.

Tanovich stopped just short of publicly endorsing acting Chief Al Frederick on Friday on the Early Shift with Tony Doucette.

"Acting chief Frederick has taken significant steps over the last few months to demonstrate that it’s not business as usual at the Windsor Police Service," Tanovich said.

Union wants chief who 'walked the walk'

Despite not having a say who becomes the next chief, the union which represents officers has weighed in.

Windsor Police Association union president Const. Jason Dejong said he simply wants the best person - man or woman; inside or outside candidate -  for the job.

"We’d like a well-rounded chief who has essentially walked the walk and knows investigation and knows patrol," Dejong said. "We need someone who is going to be a strong and ... not just an administrative person."

Windsor has gone outside the local department before but a chief hired out of Montreal didn't work out.

"There is definitely that public pressure to go outside, but at the same time I don't think going outside is a magic bullet to solving this problem," Dejong said. "Presently, the acting chief has taken a number of steps to try and implement change within the organization."

Dejong said he wants a chief "who respects and works with the association," but said he doesn't know how many candidates are being interviewed or who they are.

Tanovic said hiring a chief from within could lead to an unfavourable perception.

"The perception would be one of 'the same old approach,'" Tanovich said.

The chance the new chief would be a woman is slim.

Tanovich said 21 per cent of all officers in Canada are female. Just eight per cent of senior officers in Canada are female. He said none of those are qualified to be Windsor's next chief of police.


  • A previous version of this story said David Tanovich is a researcher for the Windsor Police Service. In fact, it was his Law Enforcement Accountability Project students that did a research project for former Chief Gary Smith.
    Jul 09, 2012 9:38 AM ET