Hamilton’s new police chief says “building trust is not an event, but it’s a process.”
Frank Bergen was sworn in during a virtual ceremony at city hall on Friday morning, tagged to replace the recently retired Eric Girt.
Bergen says he is committed to leading a service that “embraces the broader community” while delivering public safety.
“Today we face questions about the legitimacy of policing,” said Bergen. “In many cases, we have become the default service provider and there is an increased budget scrutiny.”
“I believe we can turn these challenges into opportunities,” added Bergen, “and to create Hamilton Police Service that enhances innovation, sustainability and affordability.
“As your chief, I am committed to ensuring our service and its members will work together in a way that embraces the broader community and in delivering public safety.”
Bergen is a long-time Hamilton resident who spent 36 years with the Toronto Police Service before he was named Hamilton’s deputy police chief in 2018.
He describes himself as “proud and humbled” to be named Hamilton’s 36th police chief.
In speaking to Bergen’s appointment, Hamilton mayor and police services board chair Fred Eisenberger said “openness to new ideas and a solid understanding of the issues facing the Hamilton community” make Bergen “an excellent choice to move the organization forward.”
The search involved a community survey asking Hamiltonians what qualities were important in hiring the new chief.
Over 450 individuals submitted input on the process, and “we clearly heard the focus should be on transparency, innovation and partnerships,” said Eisenberger.
“Frank has clearly demonstrated his commitment to working in partnership with the community, bringing an innovative approach to the delivery of police services and above all, delivering the highest standards of integrity and professionalism.”