April 14, 2019 4:47 pm

Halifax Board of Police Commissioners down to 1 candidate for new chief

Halifax Regional Police Chief Jean-Michel Blais is seen in his office in Halifax on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

Friday marked Jean-Michel Blais’ final day as Halifax Regional Police’s chief of police.

With Blais on his way out, the municipality has nearly found a replacement. Out of 32 candidates who formally expressed interest in becoming the new chief of police, there is only one left.

“We’ve had great representation from across Canada,” said Steve Craig, the chair on the Board of Police Commissioners.

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“Gender, race, great diversity, and we’ve narrowed that down to a number of candidates who we have interviewed thoroughly. And from that, we have made the offer and we are currently negotiating with an individual to have the next chief of police here in Halifax.”

READ MORE: As he prepares to retire, Jean-Michel Blais looks back at his time as Halifax police chief

Craig offered no description of the candidate but said a decision on who will get the job will be made soon.

“Realistically, I would say June. If we’re pushing it, depending on how everybody feels about it, it could be May,” said Craig.

WATCH: Jean-Michel Blais on street checks and becoming the face of PTSD

The next chief of police will take on the issue of Halifax Regional Police’s controversial street check practice. Street checks have come under increased scrutiny after a report made public in March found that black people were street checked at a rate six times higher than white people in the city.

Retiring chief Blais has defended police checks as a necessary practice. Craig says the issue will be the biggest challenge for the new chief, and wished Blais all the best.

“It’s very important that we recognize the contribution that Chief Blais has made to the community and I wish him well in his next endeavours.”

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