Estevan's new police chief has found the community to be very welcoming, and has largely enjoyed his experience thus far.
Paul Ladouceur said the people in Estevan are very friendly, and that has reaffirmed his decision to accept the police chief job, and move from Brockville, Ontario. His family is also looking forward to coming to Estevan once the school year is finished.
Ladouceur has also been impressed with the police service's dedication and professionalism.
It hasn't all been easy, though. A week after Ladouceur arrived in Estevan, the police launched a homicide investigation after Leslie Dwyre, a school teacher who, ironically, also hailed from Brockville, was found dead. A man known to her has been charged with second degree murder.
“Sometimes it takes a major event, and something tragic, such as the recent homicide … just to see how staff will react and deal with investigations of that nature, and I can tell you I'm thoroughly impressed with the abilities of the men and women of the Estevan Police Service,” Ladouceur told Lifestyles.
The investigation has also prevented him from spending more time getting to know the community.
Ladouceur said he has an open-door policy – not just for the police officers and the members of the Estevan Board of Police Commissioners – but also for the public. If people have concerns, he wants to hear them.
“I look forward to residing here,” said Ladouceur. “It was a lengthy decision for me, it wasn't an easy decision. Coming halfway across the country, it's not something that you wake up one morning and say 'This would be neat to try.'”
Estevan has become a very diverse city, he said, and he wants people to feel welcome in the community, regardless of their background or where they come from.
“One of the biggest goals of the chief of police is to make sure that the city of Estevan remains one of the safest places to live, work and play for people,” said Ladouceur. “As a police service, if you can accomplish those goals, I think you're doing your job.”
He's also a big supporter of a return to community-based policing. Ladouceur doesn't want to see officers spending their time just patrolling in cruisers, and secluded from the public.
“Sometimes we start with something, and we think that we can do things a little differently and a little better, and then we realize that maybe we need to go back … to where we started,” said Ladouceur. “One of my biggest philosophies is a police service is only as strong as the community it serves.”
Ladouceur has had a chance to meet with retired police chief Del Block, and said that Block has already provided a lot of assistance.
And Ladouceur looks forward to meeting with the police board to establish goals and priorities moving forward.
Ladouceur has been a police officer for about 22 years. He spent 11 years working for the police service in London, Ontario, and another 11 years in Brockville. He has worked in almost all aspects of policing during his career – foot patrol, emergency response, drug and intelligence, forensic identification, criminal investigations and major crimes.
He was most recently a detective sergeant.