Change of command at South Simcoe police
Justice Richard Kivell administers the oath of office to new South Simcoe Police Chief Andrew Fletcher in the Innisfil Council Chambers, on Tuesday April 18, 2017. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network
In a symbolic change-of-command ceremony on Tuesday, leadership of the South Simcoe Police Service passed from retiring Police Chief Rick Beazley to new Chief Andrew Fletcher.
Fletcher becomes only the third chief of the police department, which was created 20 years ago through the amalgamation of the Innisfil and Bradford West Gwillimbury police forces.
The Town of Innisfil council chambers was packed with visiting dignitaries and guests for the ceremony, including members of the Bradford West Gwillimbury-Innisfil Police Services Board, mayors and councillors from both municipalities, serving and retired members of South Simcoe police, and representatives of police services from across Ontario.
Pastor Howard Courtney, in his opening remarks, thanked Beazley for creating a “strong foundation upon which his successor can build.”
Beazley served as police chief for five years, and Courtney noted that the smooth transition “reflects the diligent work of a great team, working for the common good of the municipality.”
Fletcher came to the South Simcoe Police Service from Halton Regional Police in 2015. He served as deputy chief in both Halton and South Simcoe before being designated Beazley's successor last year.
Justice of the Peace Richard Kivell administered the oath of office, followed by the presentation of the ceremonial sword – passed from South Simcoe Police Sgt. Sheryl Sutton, commander of the ceremonial unit, to Beazley, and from him to Fletcher, symbolizing the continuity of service and the change of command – as police services board chairman Rod Hicks looked on.
Fletcher, whose career in policing spans 33 years, thanked Beazley for his remarks, friendship and 42 years of public service.
“It is truly an incredible privilege and honour to be given the opportunity to lead the men and women of the South Simcoe Police Service,” said Fletcher, noting that the right to lead “can only be earned... I look forward to earning that trust, over time.”
He described his goal as “to inspire our people to give all they can, and to encourage them to always be the best,” and to find creative ways to deliver policing services – not only to enforce the laws, but to provide early intervention and crime prevention through new partnerships.
“The police cannot be the sole owner of public safety,” Fletcher said, promising a greater community role in public safety, and a plan, going forward, that is “grounded in our values – values that are demonstrated daily, and underpin everything we do.
“The best is yet to come.”