Outgoing police chief Bryan Larkin made a big impression in a small amount of time as head of the Guelph Police Service, as shown by the reaction to the news this week that he’s moving on to become the new chief of the Waterloo Regional Police Service.
“It’s hard to put into words the loss that will be felt in this community,” said Coun. Leanne Piper, a member of the Guelph Police Services Board. “I think he has been a very inspirational leader. I think we’ve been inspired by his leadership,” said Mayor Karen Farbridge, who also sits on the police board and has worked with Larkin since he was named chief in April 2012.
Tall and almost always smiling, at least in public, Larkin has been a “gregarious personality on the streets of Guelph,” as the police board noted in its statement Wednesday on his departure.
But he was tested in notable, highly public ways during his relatively brief stay at the summit of Guelph policing.
Less than a year after becoming chief, he was in the spotlight after Const. Jennifer Kovach died when her cruiser crashed into a bus.
He handled a tragic and difficult –Kovach wasn’t wearing a seat belt – situation with a great deal of grace, dignity and compassion.
Then last fall, Larkin showed the steel behind the smile in his dealings with city council over a new plan – much more expensive than the old plan – for improving police headquarters.
If it’s any indication of Larkin’s impact, a Twitter “trendsmap,” shared on the social media site by the University of Guelph police, showed Larkin’s Twitter handle @Chief_Blarkin as one of the popular trending topics following the announcement of his new appointment to Waterloo Regional Police Service.
Larkin’s Twitter account was flooded Wednesday with messages of congratulations and with “welcome back” messages from people in Waterloo.
Many Guelph Twitter users expressed how much he will be missed, while wishing him luck in his new role.
As do we, as well.