A search spanning nearly seven months came to an end Wednesday as Saskatoon’s board of police commissioners announced Troy Cooper as the new police chief of the Saskatoon Police Service.
Cooper has been with the Prince Albert Police Service for 30 years, climbing the ranks from constable, to corporal, to sergeant, to inspector, all prior to becoming the city’s police chief in 2012. The 52-year-old will be sworn in as chief of the Saskatoon Police Service on Feb. 28.
“Living in Saskatoon for any reason is an incredible opportunity,” Cooper said at a press conference Wednesday afternoon to announce his new position. “You’ve got a beautiful city.”
It is also a transitioning city. In 2016-17, Statistics Canada ranked Saskatoon second in the country for the number of crimes that took place per 100,000 people.
Meanwhile, the city of Prince Albert ranked third in the country for severity of crime.
“My work in Prince Albert prepared me very well for a transition to Saskatoon,” Cooper said. “They have very similar challenges both around crime trends and around business practices.”
The biggest challenges Cooper sees in the near future are the legalization of cannabis along with a continuing drug crisis – addiction to fentanyl and meth which are not only a direct hazard to the public but also driving other problems like trafficking and property crime.
As a Métis from Big River, Sask., the Indigenous community in Saskatoon is calling Cooper a good choice.
“We really have to keep building partnerships between the non-First Nations and First Nations community,” Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Mark Arcand said.
Rebuilding relationships with the Indigenous population is something former Chief Clive Weighill was well known for.
“He was a mentor of mine,” Cooper said. “We were chiefs together and deputy chiefs together and I’m certain I’ll also reach out to Clive for his advice.”
The board of police commissioners won’t release how many people applied for the job but said it was pleased with the quality of candidates who applied – interviewing people from Saskatchewan and across the country.
“As we did that it became clear that Troy Cooper was the right person for this city at this time to take on this role.”
Cooper said he doesn’t plan to fill anyone’s shoes, but rather to follow in their footsteps.
Once sworn in, he will be on a five-year contract with the Saskatoon Police Service.