(Tuesday, September 11, 2012) – Halifax Regional Council today approved Chief Administrative Officer Richard Butts’ recommendation to appoint Jean-Michel (JM) Blais (McGill #847) the next Halifax Regional Police Chief after a nation-wide search. Mr. Blais, who is currently the Chief Superintendent in charge of the Halifax District RCMP, will assume his new role on October 10, 2012 and will participate in a change of command ceremony on October 19.
“Announcing our new police chief today also takes us one more step closer to bidding happy retirement to Chief Beazley,” said Mayor Peter Kelly. “It gives me great pleasure knowing that the legacy of Frank’s dedication to the greater good of our communities will be well served by the excellent leadership experiences and qualities Jean-Michel has demonstrated throughout his career.”
For most of the last 25 years, Mr. Blais served as a senior leader with the RCMP in various governance, management and operational capacities including three missions to Haiti while seconded to the United Nations, multi-jurisdictional drug investigations in Quebec, and command of a combined municipal, regional and aboriginal policing service in Manitoba. He also served with the Adjudications Directorate in Ottawa as a permanent adjudicator and its director, chairing internal disciplinary hearings across the country for the RCMP.
“My experiences have given me a deep understanding of policing needs and priorities, and in the past year or so I’ve had the chance to embrace and appreciate Halifax Regional Police’s specific culture,” said Mr. Blais. “I’ve always been fascinated by integrated policing environments and how they serve the diverse interests of multifaceted communities. I know that success in these settings depends on the bridges one builds between people and organizations and I intend to keep doing that here.”
An executive search firm worked with the CAO and the interview committee to identify prospective candidates across the country for a successor to Chief Beazley. The committee faced a tough task narrowing down the short list from many applications, with all finalists demonstrating exemplary professional and academic accomplishments.
Mr. Blais holds a Bachelor of Law Degree from Laval University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a focus on economics and political science from McGill University. He will be awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal on September 24 and he previously received the United Nations Mission in Haiti Medal, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti Medal, the RCMP Long Service Medal, the Canadian Peacekeeping Medal, the RCMP Division “C” Commander’s Merit Certificate for community service and the Governor-General of Canada’s 125th Anniversary Medal for outstanding community contributions.
“I’m confident that HRP’s future is in very capable hands,” said Chief Beazley. “We have a lot of top-notch people who are becoming great leaders and I’m very proud of the police service that I will leave behind. I know that Jean-Michel will help them develop to their full potential while advancing our long-term approach to public safety through effective enforcement and addressing the root causes of crime.”
Mr. Blais said his experiences in Haiti taught him a lot of humility that he will bear in mind as he takes charge of the 747 dedicated employees of Halifax Regional Police.
“My goal is to continue our police service’s position as the premier policing reference in Atlantic Canada by demonstrating considerable leadership in successful integrated settings,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping turn the best ideas from our people into meaningful results for all of HRM.”