Rick Hanson stepping down as Calgary's police chief
Mayor Naheed Nenshi thanks 'best chief anywhere' for 40 years of police work
Calgary police Chief Rick Hanson announced he is stepping down.
"It's been an honour to serve the people of Calgary," he told reporters at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Hanson said he has mixed emotions about announcing his retirement date of March 13 after a 40-year policing career.
When asked why he was leaving before his contract expires in 2018, Hanson said he has stayed on too long.
"This job is overwhelming," Hanson said. "It takes a lot of time and commitment.
There has been no decision yet as to who will replace Hanson.
"I know the service will be in great hands," he said.
Pride in the force
Hanson cited the many community policing partnerships forged with Alberta Health Services, schools and groups working to fight homelessness as accomplishments made by the Calgary Police Service (CPS) during his tenure.
Hanson said he is proud of the great work done by the force’s rank and file officers, even though the credit for their successes often goes to the leadership.
“As a police chief you’re a little bit of a fraud,” he said.
“I would hope they would say that he listened and that he was fair,” Hanson said when asked how he’d like to be remembered by officers.
Hanson refused to say what his next move might be.
“I want to sit back and evaluate what it is exactly I want to do,” he said. “I’m not going to speculate any further than that.”
Nenshi thanks 'best chief anywhere'
Mayor Naheed Nenshi praised Hanson as a chief “who gets it.”
“I’ve often said he’s the best chief in Canada, today I’ll say he’s the best chief anywhere,” he said. “We’re going to miss you. Thank you for everything.”
Hanson became chief in 2007 after spending a couple of years with the RCMP "K" Division as chief superintendent in charge of integrated and federal policing.
In 2013, he signed an extension of his contract until 2018.
He joined the force in 1975.
Accolades for Hanson
Minister of Justice and Solicitor General Jonathan Denis expressed his appreciation for Hanson's commitment to keeping Albertans safe for the past 40 years.
"Chief Hanson has made a significant contribution to the law enforcement community in our province," he said in a statement. "On behalf of all Albertans I want to thank him for his dedication, especially in the areas of homelessness, domestic violence and youth intervention."
Mike Shaikh, a former chair of the Calgary Police Commission said Rick Hanson is a great leader who was hired because of his unique and innovative approach as well as his dedication to community outreach.
"That's the job of the chief, to make sure there's trust and confidence in the police by all the communities, all the concerns, all the citizens of Calgary," Shaikh said.
Brian Edy, a Calgary lawyer who is a director with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and former vice-chair of the Calgary Police Commission, said Hanson recognized that in a democracy, there has to be a give and take and the chief respected the rights of people to demonstrate peacefully
"I think it only speaks to Rick Hanson's wisdom and his professionalism and chief of police and he's going to be sorely missed," he said.
Rumours have circulated for years that Hanson has post-policing political aspirations. CBC's Rob Brown spoke to Alberta pollster Bruce Cameron of Return On Insight about Hanson's political potential.