Thursday November 27, 2014


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Big shoes to fill


Paul Ladouceur must be ambitious.

Not only will he move from Brockville, Ontario, to Estevan, to become Estevan's new police chief, but he's going to be the chief who follows Del Block.

Block's final official day of work was on February 28, capping a five-year tenure as chief and a meritorious 38-year career with the Estevan Police Service. Block's longevity occurred despite multiple battles with cancer, including a diagnosis that came shortly after he fulfilled his dream of becoming Estevan's police chief.

His diligence, work ethic and passion for policing earned him numerous accolades during his career, including a stint as the national vice-president of the Canadian Police Association.

Even though he was the chief for only five years, he's likely one of the best chiefs that Estevan ever had. Most believe he should have been the chief when he applied for the job for the first time in 2001.

This is the man that Ladouceur has to succeed.

Ladouceur impressed the local police board with his outgoing demeanour, his ability to quickly answer questions and his own passion for policing. He places a strong emphasis on community, and while he's relatively young, he has an extensive background in law enforcement that stretches back more than 20 years.

The first impression has been very good.

Ladouceur faces other challenges than just replacing a local legend.

Estevan is a growing community, and while the police are better equipped and better staffed to meet those challenges than they were a few years ago, the volume of calls for service continues to increase.

The impaired driving charges and traffic infractions, particularly speeding, remain abnormally high for a city of Estevan's size. The relatively new traffic safety unit has done a good job of providing a deterrent for those who insist on exceeding the speed limit, and the unit's existence is part of the reason that speeding ticket numbers are so high.

Impaired driving is perhaps the biggest challenge. It's not just a policing issue, it's a public safety issue, but one that doesn't have a solution. Police can be pro-active, but as long as motorists insist on driving under the influence, officers will have lots of arrests to make.

Block's crackdown on drugs met with varying success. There were several successful operations, and most drug-related categories saw a decrease in 2012, but Estevan still has problems with the drug trade and drug possession.

There is one positive: while the number of service calls was up last year, numbers were down for many categories, particularly for crimes against another person.

This is a snapshot of the situation and the community that Ladouceur enters. It won't be easy. But he seems ready for the challenge. 



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