Belleville‘s chief of police Ron Gignac announced he is stepping down as the city’s top cop.
Gignac has been chief of police with the Belleville Police Service in Ontario since 2017. Before that, he acted as deputy chief in the city, starting in 2015.
Gignac was also chief of police at the Deep River Municipal Police department, and from 1995 to 2009 he worked with the Ontario Provincial Police. Before his time as a police officer, Gignac was a member of the Canadian Army, serving as a combat engineer.
In a lengthy statement released Friday, Gignac announced his retirement, with warm words for the residents of Belleville.
“We are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful city and region. It is the people of this region that make it special to live, work, and abide within,” Gignac said.
He also asked the citizens of the city to be kind to officers as time moves forward, calling the job of police officer “really tough.”
“It takes a tremendous toll upon officers, staff and their families physically, emotionally, and psychologically over the years. We are ordinary people that do extraordinary things,” Gignac wrote.
He said his greatest accomplishment as chief was keeping his officer’s safe in the face of sometimes life-threatening situations out in the field.
“Every police officer, auxiliary police officer, special constable, community police volunteer, and civilian staff member made it home to their spouse, to their families, to their pets, and to their loved ones at the end of their shift or tour of duty,” Gignac wrote.
Gignac had kind words for those at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton, Canada’s largest airforce base just minutes away from the city.
“You are our friends, our neighbours, and we are truly proud of you and your families,” Gignac wrote.
He also lauded his team in his farewell statement.
“I have witnessed your humble and steadfast honourable service in the face of adversity, peril, and challenge. Each one of you are special people and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to know you, to lead you, and to have worked with you.”
Gignac did not say why he was leaving, but noted that the first half of the year was “exceptionally challenging and very fatiguing as chief,” Gignac said, “I was ‘out of gas.'”
He noted that at times, he felt he failed, came up short and made mistakes, but also he felt that he fought very hard for the safety of the city.
“The time has come for me to turn the keys over to the next chief,” Gignac ended.