Nova Scotia

Halifax Regional Police gets a new chief

On Tuesday, Halifax Regional Council approved the police board's recommendation to appoint Dan Kinsella to the post previously held by Jean-Michel Blais, who retired in April.

Current deputy chief of operations for Hamilton Police Service starts Halifax job on Canada Day

Dan Kinsella has 32 years of experience with the Hamilton Police Service. (Hamilton Police Service)

Halifax Regional Police has a new chief.

On Tuesday, Halifax Regional Council approved the police board's recommendation to appoint Dan Kinsella to the post previously held by Jean-Michel Blais, who retired in April.

Kinsella, who takes over the role on July 1, 2019, is currently the deputy chief of operations for the Hamilton Police Service. Deputy Chief Robin McNeil is the interim chief until Kinsella takes over.

"I look forward to continuing the good work by HRP in diversifying its police services and I'll be an unwavering advocate for the community partners and HRP staff in our efforts to foster trust, confidence and service excellence," Kinsella said in a Halifax Regional Police press release.

Kinsella has more than 32 years of experience "in every facet of policing" with the Hamilton Police Service, the statement said.

"In his role as deputy chief of operations, he oversees investigative services and three patrol divisions. He has acted as the command lead for multi-jurisdictional investigations and led the City of Hamilton Mayor's summit for opioids, safe injection sites, and cannabis legalization," the statement said.

'Wide experience' set Kinsella apart

Coun. Steve Craig, chair of the police commission, told reporters at city hall on Tuesday there was a "rigorous interview process" for the police chief job.

Craig said there was a list of diverse candidates for the position. He said Kinsella's "wide experience" set him apart.

"We looked at the best candidate in our opinion, we chose that and presented it to the board of police commissioners yesterday [and] they unanimously endorsed that," Craig said.

"And the police commission is one of the most diverse police commissions in Canada."

A march against police street checks was held in Halifax on March 30. (Anjuli Patil/CBC)

Kinsella will be walking into the job amid controversy over police street checks in Halifax.

The police commission recently recommended suspending the practice after a report found that black people were street checked at a rate six times higher than white people in Halifax.

Halifax CAO Jacques Dube said Kinsella is "very excited to come here" and is ready to work for a "complex organization."

"He's not coming into a new scenario from that perspective," Dube said. 

Dube said he and Craig will work on an action plan with Kinsella for the coming year.

"I think he will hit the ground running to a certain extent, but if you look at his career, he started with boots on the ground," said Dube.

With files from Pam Berman

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