AFTER 36 years with the Vancouver Police, the last seven and a half as Chief Constable, on Friday Jim Chu announced that he was retiring.
Vancouver Mayor and Police Board Chair Gregor Robertson thanked Chu for his years of service to the VPD and the community and said that the board would begin a national search for his replacement. Chu says he will stay in his position until his successor has been chosen possibly late in May.
Chu emailed every member of the VPD Friday morning with the following statement:
“TODAY, I will be announcing my retirement to the public. After 36 years in policing with the VPD, seven-and-a-half of those years as Chief Constable, I believe now is the right time for me to move on to other challenges in life.
“It has been a distinct honour and pleasure to serve with hundreds of talented and committed women and men (sworn, civilian and volunteer) over those years. What we have accomplished together and the good times we often had while doing it form the basis of my fondest memories.
“In these last seven-plus years, I have been fortunate to lead an organization comprised of amazing people who, working together, have created a safer city. Our police department enjoys tremendous community support and is known internationally for our innovation, expertise, and community partnerships.
“A major factor for my decision to retire now is succession planning. There are members of the VPD executive team who will be highly sought after in the near future for vacant police chief positions in other cities. I would like the executives who have been dedicated to the VPD, and who are very capable and ready to lead this organization, to have an opportunity to be police chief here, in one of the best cities in the world.
“I am very appreciative of the ongoing guidance and support of our civilian governance authority, the Vancouver Police Board. Over the next few months, as I learn of the steps the Police Board is taking to select your new chief, I will pass on the information to you as soon as I can. I do believe that this search will be national in scope. These processes typically take several months and I have committed to the Police Board that I will continue as Chief in the interim. I am not leaving for another job or position.
“Thank you for your ongoing dedication and commitment to the VPD. Your work has contributed to the VPD being the best police service in Canada. While the uncertainty associated with a leadership transition can be distracting, I know our organization is strong and will continue to provide excellent police services while this renewal of leadership takes place.”
CHU told the media that he was proud of many accomplishments during his tenure, but what might have the most significance for the community is the fact that the crime rate has been falling steadily for the past seven years.
The stats indicate that the city continues to approach the vision of the VPD to make Vancouver Canada’s safest major city, a ranking that will continue to be the goal of the next chief.
“I have had the privilege to work with Chief Chu both as Mayor and as Chair of the Police Board, and he and his team have succeeded time and again in making Vancouver a safer city,” said Robertson. “Whether it was crucial work on the tragedy of Missing and Murdered Women, combating a gang war in 2008 and 2009, safely welcoming the world for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, or his national leadership as President of the Canadian Association of Police Chiefs, Jim’s vision and expertise have contributed immensely to making Vancouver an even better place in which to live, work, or visit. The chief has Vancouver’s deepest thanks for his exemplary service and his dedication to the safety and betterment of our city.”
The NPA extended its best wishes and deepest thanks to Chu for his 36-years of selfless service to the citizens of Vancouver.
In a statement, the NPA said: “Chief Constable Chu’s leadership of the police force over the past seven and a half years has been exemplary and noteworthy for a reduction in serious crime in the city.
“The NPA would also like to acknowledge the instrumental role Chief Constable Chu has played in the success of the Vancouver Police Foundation and the innovative policing programs that have been made possible by the foundation’s success; programs that reduce crime and increase awareness of the everyday heroic actions of the women and men of the Vancouver Police Department.”