By Doug Hallett
The Guelph Police Services Board won’t launch a recruitment process for a new police chief while it assesses the performance of the city’s new acting police chief for the next few months.
“We will review how things are going in a few months and then we will proceed as we feel we need to,” police board chair Judy Sorbara told reporters after a special board meeting Thursday. At the meeting, deputy chief Jeff DeRuyter was named the city’s acting police chief, effective Aug. 31.
Asked if the board intends to do any recruitment for a permanent replacement for outgoing police chief Bryan Larkin, Sorbara said it “will depend on how things are going, because the board can either recruit or appoint.”
This means the board could decide to appoint DeRuyter as the city’s new police chief without having a recruitment process, she explained.
DeRuyter, who has spent his whole career with the Guelph Police Service, confirmed that he is interested in becoming the city’s police chief on a permanent basis. Asked if he would be interested, he told reporters: “I think I would be. I guess time will tell.”
DeRuyter, 51, has been deputy chief since April 2012. Previously the police department’s inspector of neighbourhood services, he replaced Larkin as deputy chief when Larkin became chief upon the retirement of chief Rob Davis. Larkin is returning to the Waterloo Regional Police Service, where he worked previously, to become its chief after three years with Guelph’s police department. He assumes his new post on Aug. 31.
A Burlington native, DeRuyter moved to Guelph in 1984 to assume his first job as a police officer. He has spent time in traffic enforcement and criminal investigations, among other areas.
DeRuyter’s appointment as acting chief was unanimously approved by the police board at a special public meeting Thursday morning.
He called it a “great honour.”
“I’m really excited about this appointment and continuing to serve our community in a caring way,” DeRuyter told the meeting, before getting a first handshake as acting chief from Sorbara and then a big hug from Larkin.
Mayor Karen Farbridge, who sits on the board, told the meeting she was grateful to Larkin for “leaving the organization in such a strong place and with such a strong management team.”
Asked by reporters about his plans for the Guelph Police Service, DeRuyter said one is to move forward with the project to expand and renovate police headquarters. This $34-million project was approved by city council last week.
He wants to “bring stability or maintain stability” in the Guelph Police Service. He also said he wants to “continue to deliver police services at the level we have been delivering” and to continue with the police department’s commitments to youth and neighbourhoods, among others.
DeRuyter said his being named acting chief means there will be a trickle-down effect, with other positions to be filled on an acting basis for the next while. The police board considered an interim plan related to this behind closed doors before Thursday’s brief public meeting.
By Doug Hallett