City officially welcomes new chief

Perry
Perry Bergson
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Prince Albert officially has a new police chief.

A day after starting the job, Troy Cooper was sworn in. He replaces Dale McFee, who left the department after 26 years to become the provincial deputy minister of Corrections and Policing starting next Monday.

Cooper thanked his family — including Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Kevin Doherty, who happens to be his brother-in-law — and his fellow officers.

While it’s a big load, he’s at peace.

“I feel calm and confident,” he said. “It’s an easy transition not because of any skill set but because of the incredible management team I have and the diverse and dedicated staff in the Prince Albert Police Service. Despite the staggering workload, our officers have maintained one of the highest solvency rates in the industry and our productive workforce is professional, aggressive and committed.”

He already has his eye on the task ahead, noting alcohol problems and a core group of repeat offenders are two of the agency’s challenges. 

 “Misuse of alcohol in our community is unacceptable and directly responsible for 40 per cent of police dispatch calls,” he said. “This is a complex and longstanding issue and we’re fortunate that community partners and addiction experts within our community mobilization unit assist us with this.”

He repeatedly touched on the need for understanding between cultures, a point reinforced when he was presented with a star blanket by a group including Elder Julie Pitzel, Sandy Pitzel and Richard Ahenakew.

Cooper was touched by the gesture, which clearly fits into his personal and professional philosophy.

“A strong community can only be built with cultural respect and a commitment to maintaining this is a priority for our police service,” Cooper said.

He also pointed to Prince Albert’s unusual demographics; the community is actually getting statistically younger. He said that new initiatives will be put forward with that fact in mind.

Another unique aspect of policing in the city is that a high number of people who come in contact with officers aren’t actually from here.

“More than one-third of our clients are not from our city,” Cooper noted. “The corporate boundaries of Prince Albert are invisible to the hundreds of thousands of people from surrounding towns and First Nations who visit here.”

Mayor Jim Scarrow, who said later that the city didn’t even look at any other candidates, is certain that Cooper is up for the challenge.

“It is the chief who sets the standards and is always answerable to both the public and the officers who serve under his command, Scarrow said. “… Today we are gathered here to acknowledge the commitment, the experience and knowledge which has led Troy Cooper to the very top of his profession.”

Judge Hugh M. Harradence echoed the mayor’s comments.

“Chief Cooper has made a distinguished career as a police officer, as an administrator and as a community leader. He has earned a reputation for honesty, integrity, loyalty, commitment and teamwork” the judge said. “These characteristics, Chief, will be the foundation of your role as chief of the Prince Albert Police Service.”

Organizations: Prince Albert, First Nations

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  • Susan &Terry Small
    August 29, 2012 - 23:51

    Congratulation Chief Cooper, I am so proud to have worked with you when you were just a young constable, was sure I would see you in this position one day. We know you will do great things for Prince Albert.