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‘It’s a privilege’: London Police Chief Thai Truong formally takes over as top cop

London Police Chief Thai Truong speaking after the formal change of command at RBC Place on June 26, 2023. Marshall Healey/980 CFPL

In front of family, friends, new and past colleagues and officials from major institutions in London, Ont., Thai Truong was officially handed the reins of the London Police Service during a change of command ceremony Monday.

Held at RBC Place, the ceremony marked the official passing of command of the 800-plus uniformed and 200 civilian employees between former chief Steve Williams and Truong.

“It’s a very special day and it’s an honour for me to be chief here,” said Truong after the two-hour ceremony concluded.

While Monday marked the official change of command, Truong has been on the job since the start of the month after taking the oath of office on June 1. The oath was taken a second time Monday before a packed crowd, administered by Judge Hugh O’Connell of the Superior Court of Justice.

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The oath of office was followed by the exchange of London Police Service Colour, a ceremonial occasion where the force’s official flag is handed over by Williams and inspected by Truong.

The exchange of London Police Service Colour between retired chief Steve Williams and new Chief Thai Truong on June 26, 2023. Marshall Healey/980 CFPL

Speaking after the swearing-in and exchange of service colour, the 44-year-old Truong focused his remarks on his immediate priorities of the job and his love for his family, including his father who inspired him to become a police officer.

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When Truong was 11, his father was killed driving home from work. The change of command ceremony on June 26 was the 33rd anniversary of Truong’s father’s death.

“Today was a randomly selected date for this event … but I have always believed everything happens for a reason,” said Truong, at times emotional. “He was killed on this day, a day I now share with all of you.”

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Regarding on-the-job priorities, Truong says community safety and front-line officers’ well-being are key areas of focus.

“I am really, really excited and looking forward to supporting the members of the organization,” said Truong.

Outside of police force members, Truong says he is looking forward to, “strengthening community trust with everybody … not just the groups that are already seen and heard, but those individuals and groups that maybe aren’t seen, aren’t heard. It’s up to us as police leaders to make sure they’re heard and seen.”

Truong added the police’s role in dealing with the growing population of those unhoused and living in encampments in London should be to, “police with compassion and kindness and understanding.”

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Along with Truong, remarks were also made by the chair of the London Police Services Board Ali Chahbar; Mayor Josh Morgan; Solicitor General Michael Kerzner; executive director of the London Police Association, Rick Robson; and retired London police chief Steve Williams.

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Chahbar, Truong and Morgan were frank about the issues facing London presently with rising crime rates, gun violence and drug use.

“We have citizens in this city who do not feel as safe as they did a few years back … we have tough work ahead, but I have the absolute and unwavering confidence in (Truong) and this command team and this service to serve this community well through the challenges we are facing,” said Morgan.

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