Halifax’s Board of Police Commissioners has chosen a new police chief.
Dan Kinsella, who has served as a member of Hamilton Police Service for 32 years, was introduced as the new chief of Halifax Regional Police (HRP) on Tuesday.
“I love the city,” Kinsella told Global News. “It’s an exciting, vibrant city. There are great visitors, a great community, I thoroughly enjoy it.”
“I’m looking forward to the move down an integrating into the city, and all it has to offer as I learn everything I need to learn.”
Kinsella is currently serving as the deputy chief of operations for Hamilton Police Service.
“With Mr. Kinsella at the helm of our outstanding police service, I’m confident Halifax Regional Police will continue to draw from the vast experience of its leadership team and further develop the strength of its diverse and capable police officers,” said Jacques Dubé, chief administrative officer, in a statement.
“I look forward to working with Chief Designate Kinsella to support one of the most important priorities of our municipality — the safety and well-being of our residents.”
Halifax Regional Council approved the recommendation by the Board of Police Commissioners to appoint Kinsella as the next police chief.
“I congratulate Mr. Kinsella on his appointment and welcome him to the municipality,” a statement from councillor Steve Craig, chair of the Board of Police Commissioners, reads.
“Chief Designate Kinsella’s experience and proven leadership will serve us well in providing a community-focused policing service that sets the bar for other jurisdictions.
WATCH: Jean-Michel Blais on street checks and becoming the face of PTSD
A nationwide search for a new police chief began last summer after former Chief Jean-Michel Blais announced his plans to retire.
Blais, who was appointed as chief on Oct. 11, 2012, officially retired on April 12.
HRP Deputy Chief Robin McNeil has been appointed as the interim chief until Kinsella’s first day.
Future of Halifax street checks uncertain
There’s been swirling uncertainty in Halifax in recent weeks surrounding the controversial practice of street checks — the police technique of stopping people when no specific offence is being investigated.
An independent human rights report released in March recommended banning or strictly regulating the controversial practice in Nova Scotia, after it was found that black males were nine times more likely to be stopped by police than the general population.
In response, Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey directed police forces across the province to immediately suspend street checks of pedestrians and passengers in motor vehicles, but stopped short on an outright ban.
When pressed on his position on street checks, Kinsella reiterated that he’ll address it after he has an opportunity to directly speak with members of the community.
“I need to listen and hear from them first hand and hear what their experiences have been,” said Kinsella. “I also need to meet and discuss with the organization, the men and women that are delivering policing services in the city, and find out what the needs are, what the effects are, and I certainly want to work on the issue.”
“Together we’ll come up with a proper plan to move forward to make sure that we respect people’s rights, and at the same time we deliver effective and efficient policing.”
The new police chief is looking forward to continuing HRP’s work in diversifying its police services, and will be “an unwavering advocate for the community partners and HRP staff in our efforts to foster trust, confidence and service excellence.”
“I want to work to make sure that the community sees itself in the police,” Kinsella explained, “and that we work together to make sure that we have conduits of communication where people feel comfortable communicating with the police.”
“But we can’t do it alone. We need the community to work with us.”
Kinsella will start his new job on July 1.