Port Hope police chief Bryant Wood announces plan to leave post in 2023

Port Hope Police Chief Bryant Wood has announced his intentions to retire in the first half of 2023. He has spent 29 years with the service. Port Hope Police Service

Port Hope Police Service Chief Bryant Wood has given notice of his intention to retire from policing in the first half of 2023, the municipality announced Monday.

Wood has served 30 years as a police officer, 29 of them in the Municipality of Port Hope. Beginning with the OPP in 1993, he joined the Port Hope Police Service a year later and moved up the ranks. In 2014 he was promoted from deputy chief to chief following the retirement of then-police chief Kevin McAlpine. He was sworn into the role in April 2015.

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Wood says he has been “extremely privileged” to have served Ontario residents during the past three decades.

“For over eight years I have been very proud to have led the members of the Port Hope Police Service who are a hardworking and professional group,” he said. “I look forward to spending more time with my family and pursuing other interests and opportunities in the years to come.”

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Wood earned a long list of accolades and awards during his career. In 2021 he received the Order of Merit of the Police Forces from the Governor General (which was initially scheduled to be awarded in 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic). The order is considered the highest decoration for policing in Canada.

Wood also received a number of awards recognizing his efforts to rescue individuals from burning homes in Port Hope on two occasions: he rescued a woman in 2007 and an eight-year-old boy in 2010.

Awards for the acts included the Ontario Medal for Police Bravery (2008), the highest decoration for bravery in Ontario by the Lieutenant Governor. He also received the Star of Courage (2010), the second highest bravery decoration in Canada by the Governor General and later that year the Medal of Bravery, the third highest bravery decoration in Canada from the Governor General.

On Oct. 22, 2010, then Governor General David Johnston presented Port Hope Police Service Sgt. Bryant Wood with the Medal of Bravery during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. Wood was also presented with the Star of Courage at the same ceremony. The awards were presented for two separate incidents where Wood save people from burning homes. Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

In 2013 Wood was recognized with the Police Exemplary Service Medal, awarded by the Governor General, and received a Long Service Medal by the municipal police service in 2017.

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Mayor Bob Sanderson say Wood has provided “exemplary service” to the urban area of Port Hope.

“(He) cultivated strong and lasting partnerships within our community,” said Sanderson. “He has been devoted both professionally and personally, serving on various boards and committees, and volunteering his time for various organizations and activities. We thank the chief for his long service to our community and look forward to celebrating his retirement in 2023.”

The Port Hope Police Services Board says the search for the next police chief will be conducted through an external search firm. Details on the process are forthcoming, said chairperson Jeff Gilmer.

“We are grateful to Chief Wood for his dedicated service to the Port Hope Community for nearly three decades,” said Gilmer. “His commitment to community-based policing and crime reduction has benefitted our community greatly. He leaves the Port Hope Police Service in good stead, and I wish him the best in his much-deserved retirement.”

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