City spent $100K to hire internal police chief

Al Frederick is the new Windsor Police chief, CBC News has learned.

Interim Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick has landed the job, full-time

Al Frederick was named interim Windsor Police chief in December of 2011. (CBC News)

The Windsor Police Services Board spent approximately $100,000 in its search for a new police chief.

In the end, the board hired an internal candidate. After serving as interim chief for nearly a year, Al Frederick was hired full-time.

Mayor Eddie Francis chairs the police board. He said with the help of a head-hunting firm, 80 candidates were approached about the job opening. Eight applied, and six of them qualified.

"You have to go out there and see what's available," Francis said in defence of the cost. "And until you go through the process, you don't know what's available."

Francis said it was an exhaustive process.In the end, Frederick was thought to be the best candidate.

"He demonstrated the leadership qualities and skills that the police services board was looking for," Francis said.

Deputy chief Jerome Brannagan, who announced his retirement Wednesday but will stay on staff until January, approved of the hire.

"I’m sure the board will have great challenges explaining that," Brannagan said of the cost of the head-hunting. "The reason is, they hired the right guy, without question. They picked the right guy. They went through a lot of time and effort to figure that out."

'Great chemistry'

Essex OPP Insp. Rick Derus, who applied to be chief, and Windsor Police superintendent Vince Power, will be named deputy chiefs.

Derus also applied for the chief's position.

Derus is a Massey high school and University of Windsor grad. He has served the OPP for 29 years. He was named Essex County OPP detachment commander in 2006.

Power, 47, was also born and raised in Windsor. He’s been a member of the Windsor Police Services since 1985 and was named superintendent in 2008.

Francis said the new chief and new deputy chiefs "have great chemistry."

Francis, who also chairs the Windsor Police Services Board, informed the board, top brass and the police union of the changes at a closed-door meetings Wednesday evening.

The changes were officially announced at a news conference Thursday.

Frederick was appointed interim chief after former chief Gary Smith resigned amid allegations of police brutality and other scandals last December.

Frederick was the only internal candidate interviewed for the job.

Brannagan retired earlier Wednesday. He said he never wanted the department’s top job and never applied.

Just days after being named interim chief,it was Frederick who announced Project Accountability,  a 27-point plan designed to clean up and enhance the embattled police service.

Francis had previously hoped to name a new chief by mid-summer, but that didn’t happen.

Rick Derus is one of two new Windsor Police deputy chiefs. (Courtesy OPP)

Frederick’s appointment brings an 11-month search to an end.It was a search the Windsor Police Association once called "disgraceful."

For nearly a year, Francis maintained the police services board would not be rushed into making a selection.  He always said the board wanted to make sure they get the right person for the job.

Francis told CBC News that Frederick was "best candidate for the job."

Culture change

Frederick takes reign of a department that even he previously said needs a change in culture.

Windsor police Const. Brad Snyder pleaded guilty to assaulting a man on Sept. 26, 2009.

Windsor Police Det. David Van Buskirk to five months in jail Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm in an attack on a legally blind doctor in 2010.

Earlier this year,video surfaced that showed what appears to be a Windsor Police officer allegedly kicking and punching a non-combative man in a stairwell at a housing complex.

In the video, a young black man is seen lying in a stairwell. A man that appears to be a uniformed police officer punches the man once and kicks him twice.

Rice was been charged with assault after someone turned in video that appears to show the accused kicking a man. Rice, a 12-year veteran of the force, was also suspended with pay.

The Windsor Black Coalition approves of the Frederick hire.

"I was a little bit cautious about the gentleman due to the fact he looked like a skinhead.  I made an error.  I judged an individual by what [he] looked like," said Mark Taylor, President of the coalition. "Now I judge him by what he has inside."

Taylor said Frederick is guided by what's best for the community of Windsor as a whole, not just the black or white community.

Frederick was one of the first people to reach out to the coalition after the Rice incident, in which a black man appears to be the one getting kicked and punched. 

"What we have done is learned from that," Frederick said, referring to police misconduct incidents.

Brannagan said the department has become more transparent and accountable under Frederick.