New Brunswick

RCMP's former commanding officer named Fredericton's next police chief

A former commanding officer with the New Brunswick RCMP has been named Fredericton's new police chief. 

Roger Brown previously led the force through the shootings of 3 Moncton Mounties and the shale gas protests

Roger Brown, the former commanding officer of the RCMP in New Brunswick, has been hired on as Fredericton's new police chief. (CBC)

The former commanding officer with the New Brunswick RCMP has been named Fredericton's new police chief. 

Roger Brown, former assistant commissioner of J Division, was announced as the city's newest police chief at Monday night's council-in-committee meeting.

"I am looking forward to working alongside the employees of the Fredericton Police Force, the rest of the team at the City of Fredericton, and the citizens in our community," Brown said in a statement. 

"I feel very fortunate to have been afforded this unique leadership opportunity."

Brown, who didn't attend Monday's meeting, will take on the new position on June 11. Leanne Fitch, the current Fredericton police chief, will retire the day before.

Brown was appointed to a three-year renewable term. 

Former RCMP Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown provided information after police apprehended Justin Bourque, who was wanted for one of the worst mass shootings in the force's history, in Moncton on Friday, June 6, 2014. Three RCMP officers were killed and two injured in the shooting spree. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

"I am confident that Mr. Brown is bringing the right combination of skills and experience to lead the talented women and men who work at the Fredericton Police Force," Mayor Mike O'Brien said in a statement. 

Brown has 36 years of policing experience with the RCMP. He started as a constable in Rivière-du-Loup, Que. After that, he made his way up through the ranks of J Division.

Most recently, he has been speaking across Canada about the mental health issues facing first responders and the shift in leadership required to address the matter.

2 major incidents as J Division head

Just days after starting his job as commanding officer on Oct. 1, 2013, Brown had to defend the RCMP's handling of shale gas protests near Rexton, which featured dozens of arrests after a confrontation that saw six police vehicles burned, weapons seized, and heavy police response.

Cars burn at the scene of a shale gas protest that turned violent in October of 2013. (Courtesy of Gilles Boudreau)

On June 4, 2014, three members of the Codiac detachment, constables Douglas Larche, Dave Ross and Fabrice Gevaudan, were murdered in Moncton.

On the heels of the Moncton shootings, Brown also had to deal with Cpl. Ron Francis, who drew national attention in his campaign for improved services for Mounties suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder by smoking medical marijuana in his RCMP uniform. Francis was ordered to turn in his uniform. He later took his own life.

According to the RCMP, the cause of the collision is currently under investigation. (Marc Grandmaison/Canadian Press)

Brown also implemented a provincewide mental health strategy and developed a sustainable core services model aligned with current fiscal restraints.

Brown eventually retired from that position in 2016, after a 36-year career with the force.

Joining the Fredericton Police Force

The Fredericton Police Force has faced its own series of challenges over the past few years. 

In August, two Fredericton police officers, Const. Sara Burns and Robb Costello, were killed after a gunman opened fire at an apartment building on the city's north side. Residents Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright were also killed.

A collage of four people
Victims of the Fredericton shooting from left to right: Const. Lawrence Robert (Robb) Costello, 45, and Const. Sara Mae Helen Burns, 43, Donald Adam Robichaud, 42, and Bobbie Lee Wright, 32. (CBC)

Accused Fredericton shooter Matthew Raymond is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of those four people. 

Meanwhile, several Fredericton police officers have faced various misconduct charges while off duty over the past few years.