Chatham-Kent Police Chief Gary Conn retiring next week

Chatham Kent Police Chief Gary Conn retiring next week

There is a change in command at Chatham-Kent police as Chief Gary Conn retires June 14

There is a change in command at Chatham-Kent police as Chief Gary Conn retires June 14.

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Conn’s unexpected departure was announced in a lengthy police release Thursday.

Deputy Chief Kirk Earley will be sworn in as the new chief at a ceremony June 19.

Earley will take command as chief-designate June 15, police said.

“It has been both an honor and a privilege to serve the residents of Chatham-Kent as a police officer and your chief of police,” Conn said in the release. “I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the municipality, community, the police services board of Chatham-Kent, our senior officers, entire membership, and associations.

“Your trust, support, and collaboration have been the bedrock of our success,” he added.

“It is the strength of our community that has enabled us to create a safer and more inclusive environment for all. Together, we have navigated through complex challenges, implemented innovative solutions, and fostered an organizational culture of excellence.”

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Born in London, Conn served as an officer in the Canadian Armed Force. His police career began with London police in 1995; he joined the Chatham-Kent force in 1998.

Over his nearly 30-year career, Conn has worked in many areas of policing in a direct or supervisory role. In 2002, he was seconded to the Ontario Police College for two years as facilitator of the Basic Constable Training (BCT) program and several of its practical courses, including firearms, defensive tactics, vehicle operations and physical training.

In more than nine years as chief, Conn was known as a progressive, people-focused leader and champion of change, the release said.

He oversaw creation of a state-of-the-art training facility and firearms range, while bringing closed-circuit TV cameras to Chatham-Kent downtowns. He has worked with the police board and associations to improve wraparound supports and services for police personnel dealing with work-related operational stress injuries.

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“Chief Conn has been an integral part of the organization and has demonstrated exceptional leadership internally and externally,” said Patrick Weaver, who chairs the Chatham-Kent Police Services Board, in the release.

“Chief Conn has always focused on community safety and his contributions at all levels of government has and will continue to positively impact Chatham-Kent for the foreseeable future,” he added.

Chatham-Kent police Deputy Chief Kirk Earley speaks to council Nov. 21. (Trevor Terfloth/Chatham Daily News Files) jpg, CA, apsmc

Earley began his career with Chatham-Kent police in 1997 as a special constable, police said.

His policing career has included time in community patrol, training, the Community Priority Action Team, major crime, and the intelligence section, police said. He has also held supervisory roles in each branch of the services.

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“It’s an honor and a privilege to be given this opportunity and I thank the board for their support,” Earley said in the release.

There are so many amazing individuals I have had the pleasure of working with over the years, and each relationship developed has had an impact on this achievement,” he added.

Earley has “displayed a strong commitment to the service and community for over 27 years,” Weaver said.

“(He) is deeply rooted in the Chatham-Kent community, being born and raised here,” the board chair added. “He understands the organization, the people, and the needs of the community.

“The board has full confidence in Kirk’s ability, with an extensive career in all aspects of the organization, this will serve him well as he leads the service into the future,” Weaver said.

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