So guess who wants to be the next police chief in Ottawa?
It’s former police chief Senator Vern White!
What a fascinating idea!
And as a confession of sorts, On the City, from the Burbs spent a fair amount of time checking this rumour out, and talking to several off-the-record sources who confirmed the story. But as well, of course, I left a message for White at his Senate office – with not much hope I’d ever hear back.
White returned the call, confirming it’s a job he realized he still wants.
“I know now I left the job too early,” White admitted. “There are things I still want to get done there.”
“So yes, if it’s an open competition for the job, I’ll by applying,” White said.
Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau’s term – which was already extended – ends in May.
An open competition isn’t mandatory, but given White’s popularity in the city – his reputation as a take charge cop – there’s a good chance politicians will want to allow him the opportunity to compete for the job.
White has already talked to both Mayor Jim Watson and the present police board chair councillor Eli El-Chantiry – so both are aware of his desire to get his old job back.
He said his interest to go after the job has nothing to do with his decision not to run for mayor.
“No, not at all, I couldn’t have beaten Jim if I tried,” he said.
And of course, White’s desire to fight to get his job back certainly means – as was expected in any case – most certainly means El-Chantiry won’t be seeking the job again.
The two are close friends – and their tight relationship was criticized during White’s last reincarnation as chief.
White has lots of ideas of how he’d like to change the present climate at the Ottawa Police Force – including a return to community policing – which is sure to win support with many city councillors unhappy with the present state of the Ottawa Police.
In 2017, police shifted many officers from specialized community units to patrol units. In the eyes of many, it hasn’t been a success.
Both politicians and community members have been calling for a more visible police presence in their communities.
Added to that issue is an ever-growing concern over increased crime and a guns and gangs problem, that isn’t going away.
Both are issues for White, who isn’t at all satisfied the present strategy is working.
It’s really no surprise White wants back in. When he left the job and headed for the Senate, not everyone was convinced it was a good fit for the man who seemed to juggle a dozen tasks at the same time without breaking a sweat.
But he said the idea of getting his old job back has nothing to do with leaving the Senate, pointing out he’d always made it clear it wasn’t a long-term job for him.