The first Grande Prairie Police Commission meeting set and established the course moving forward, including naming the commission’s chair, and the route to take for hiring a chief of police.
On Thursday, Dan Wong was named commission chair; Wong explains with growing up in Grande Prairie and all the roles he has filled throughout the years, including sitting on city council from 2007 to 2013, he is really invested in the community.
“I really want to see Grande Prairie with this historic decision just be really successful in transitioning to a municipal police service,” Wong says.
Natalia Reiman was appointed vice-chair of the commission, with Kelly Benning, Timothy Burnham, and Donna Koch being the three other public appointees. Councillors Dylan Bressey and Kevin O’Toole fill the two city appointment positions. Wong says he is excited to work with the other people appointed to the commission, and while he may be the spokesperson as chair he has some great support and expertise which comes from the other members.
“I am happy that I do because this is a big job, there is a lot to learn and if it wasn’t for the diverse backgrounds of everyone I don’t think I would be up here.”
Moving forward the commission will work on finding a chief for the Grande Prairie Police Commission. On Thursday a motion was passed for the commission to bring on an advisor with previous policing experience to help with the search and hiring process.
“This advisor will have a lot of executive experience with the police, we are looking at people who know how a police service should be run,” Wong says. “Also someone who knows what the role of this chief will be.”
“The role of this chief will not be your traditional role because we are just in a transitional phase. So we have been advised the first three years it’s going to be a lot of bookwork, it will be a lot of police and governance and setting up the staff, making sure that all the procedures are in place to operate that police force when they take over.”
He adds a firm has been hired to help with the application process for police chief, saying there “apparently a lot of applications that are in,” but he could not speak more on the topic as the commission has not seen the applications yet.