New Calgary police Chief Roger Chaffin to take over on Oct. 19

The selection of the new chief was ratified by Calgary city council Tuesday and Roger Chaffin is to take over the top police role later this month.

Chaffin pledges to maintain service's shift toward community policing and crime prevention

Roger Chaffin receiving the Order of Merit of the Police Forces from Governor General David Johnston. (Governor General of Canada)

Roger Chaffin joined the Calgary Police Service in 1986 and, later this month, he will take over as its highest-ranking officer.

The selection of Chaffin as police chief was ratified by Calgary city council Tuesday and will officially take effect on Oct. 19.

The veteran officer, who previously served  as deputy chief, said he never thought when he signed up for the CPS nearly 30 years ago that he would one day head the organization.

He described it as an "incredible honour."

Community policing

Chaffin said he would continue with the CPS' model of community policing, an approach that focuses as much on crime prevention as it does on enforcement.

He credited the shift toward becoming "more of an instrument of social justice as opposed to an instrument of paramilitary force" with the success the CPS has seen in curbing crime rates and becoming the "envy" of police services across the continent.

"I see no need to ever step back from that model," Chaffin said.

Safer city 

Mayor Naheed Nenshi commended the service for its approach to crime prevention.

"They're exceptionally good at catching bad guys ... but they're also exceptionally good at working to make sure there are no bad guys in the first place," the mayor said.

"Calgary remains as safe or safer today than it has been in generations," he added.

Gang violence and fentanyl

Chaffin noted Calgary still faces major challenges, however, with gang violence that has been escalating as of late, as well as the growth of fentanyl as a street drug.

The new chief said he plans to make a "concerted effort" to deal with both issues.

"We will double down on this idea that this gang violence and these threats to our community will not go unchallenged," he said.

Staying humble

During Chaffin's introductory press conference, reporters remarked on a photo that could be seen on the inside of his hat when he took it off.

New Calgary Police Chief Roger Chaffin speaks to reporters about his new role. (Monty Kruger / CBC)

The new chief explained it's a photo of his former partner from when he worked the robbery beat, who passed away several years ago, and always used to help keep Chaffin's ego in check.

"He's one of those guys, he had this amazing bluntness about him and he used to challenge me about stuff and I just liked that about him," Chaffin said.

"Every time I put that hat on, I look at that picture."

Field of 'strong candidates'

The Calgary Police Commission had "a number of strong candidates" to choose from, chairman Rod Fong noted in an internal email to CPS members obtained by CBC News, but ultimately settled to hire from within.

"While we were impressed with all of the candidates, we could only choose one person to be your next chief and after much consideration we chose Deputy Chief Chaffin," Fong wrote.

"Deputy Chief Chaffin is described by many people both inside and outside of the service as a thoughtful and outstanding leader, a respected mentor, and a trusted colleague."

Rick Hanson resigned as police chief in March to run for a provincial seat with the PC party and was narrowly defeated in the May election.

Since then, Hanson's former right-hand man, Supt. Paul Cook, has been manning the top job.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?