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Edmonton Police Commission revealing new police chief

Oct. 23, 2018: With just days until he retires from the Edmonton Police Service, Chief Rod Knecht is speaking candidly about his time with the force. Vinesh Pratap reports.

Edmonton has a new police chief.

The Edmonton Police Commission has scheduled a media availability for Wednesday morning during which the new head of Edmonton’s police force will be introduced.

It’s not known who will be named the city’s top cop, but Councillor Scott McKeen — who sits on the police commission — said Tuesday the candidate is a man who has a connection to Edmonton, having lived part of his life “in the area.”

“It became pretty clear early on that there was a significant candidate and we landed that candidate,” McKeen said.

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“I think it’s really going to be an exciting time for Edmonton and the police service. I think we’re going to see a really creative [chief], and a kind of cop that will not be soft on crime, but look at ways to reduce crime calls for service, more focus on proactive community engaged policing. I’m really pleased.”

Mayor Don Iveson said the candidate has an “impressive record of service in policing.” The man’s name will not be released ahead of the commission’s announcement due to privacy concerns.

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“There are notification considerations and privacy for the candidate and we need to respect the candidate’s privacy until such time that they are ready for the announcement to be made,” Iveson stressed. “It was a really robust process, lots of interest, and it’ll be for the commission to announce, but I’m very impressed with the candidate.”

“It’s really important we don’t release his name for his personal reasons,” McKeen added.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s interim police chief announced

The commission announced in early October that Deputy Chief Kevin Brezinski would serve as interim police chief starting Nov. 1.

McKeen said the new chief would not officially start in Edmonton “for a while.”

“We have excellent deputy chiefs, Acting Chief Brezinski is running the show in the interim and we have complete confidence in his ability to do that.”

Rod Knecht’s term came to an end on Oct. 31 after he served as chief for seven years. A decision was made in the spring to not extend his contract.

Knecht replaced Mike Boyd in June 2011, becoming Edmonton’s 22nd police chief.

READ MORE: An exit interview with Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht: ‘It’s been rewarding’

After his contract was not renewed, Knecht said his relationship with the police commission was problematic.

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“There’s, I would say, more than tension,” Knecht said. “I think sometimes the relationship was caustic and that was troublesome.”

READ MORE: Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht leaves ‘huge shoes to fill’: councillor

He said his greatest joy from his seven-year term was the interaction he had with the community.

The new police chief will be revealed at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

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