Montreal’s interim police chief brings back a familiar face

Click to play video 'Ian Lafrenière reinstated as Montreal police media relations' Ian Lafrenière reinstated as Montreal police media relations
WATCH: Montreal’s interim police chief Martin Prud'homme made what some are calling a bold move by bringing back an old face to the force’s media relations office. As Global's Dan Spector reports, Ian Lafrenière was a key figurehead of the department until he was removed in 2016.

The first big public move from Montreal’s interim police chief is to bring back an old face.

Ian Lafrenière was the key spokesperson of the department until former police chief Philippe Pichet took his job away 18 months ago. Now, he’s back.

“[I’m] happy to be back, happy to be back with the team, as a good soldier I was happy to respond to that request I got from the chief,” Lafrenière said at Montreal Police headquarters on Wednesday.

He was referring to interim police chief Martin Prud’homme, who had been the head of the SQ until last week.

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READ MORE: Philippe Pichet suspended; SQ head takes over SPVM

Lafrenière’s return comes one week after a report into the inner workings of the Montreal Police was released. The report outlined a force in crisis. It detailed different clans within the department battling for power and a broken internal affairs squad.

Pichet was suspended and Prud’homme was brought in to repair the damage.

“You know, as a police officer, as a member of the SPVM, you’re proud of your service. That was a tough time. Let’s be honest, no one was happy [about] this,” said Lafrenière.

He said Prud’homme was around town meeting different officers.

“He’s on the street, in the field, meeting police employees. This is priority one.”

Mayor Valerie Plante was not available for comment but her spokesperson said the re-appointment of Lafrenière was good news because one of the biggest problems with the Montreal police has been a lack of transparency.

In Quebec City, Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said he would “let Mr. Prud’homme do his work.”

“Some people have said you’ve got to improve the image. I’ll say we’re getting back to what we used to say, used to do. Which is to be honest, be transparent,” Lafrenière told Global News.

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READ MORE: Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre testifies at inquiry into police spying on journalists

Though the communications officer says he’s happy to be back, his return comes on the eve of another storm. A report about police spying on journalists comes out on Thursday, and Lafrenière will likely face tough questions.