Farewell to the Chief
It was a varied crowd that came out to the retirement party for South Simcoe Police Chief Rick Beazley, on April 12. Serving police officers, retirees, past and present members of the Bradford West Gwillimbury-Innisfil Police Services Board, Fire and Paramedic services, members of Council, representatives of organizations that include CHATS Community & Home Assistance To Seniors and the Innisfil Rotary Club, volunteers, Police Auxiliaries and ordinary citizens attended the farewell reception, held at Georgian Downs.
It was a testament to the community-building and emphasis on partnerships that marked Chief Beazley’s 5 years at the helm of the South Simcoe Police Service.
Last Wednesday, Beazley brought to an end a career in policing that spanned more than 4 decades.
The evening was filled with tributes. “You have left your mark on policing, and contributed greatly to South Simcoe Police,” said Deputy Chief/Chief-Designate, Andrew Fletcher.
“Both Innisfil and BWG have benefited greatly from your work,” agreed Innisfil Mayor Gord Wauchope.
Beazley was appointed Police Chief at a time when the future of the amalgamated municipal police service was in doubt, in the midst of a sometimes acrimonious OPP police costing, in 2012.
“He helped to bring our communities together, and provided sound advice,” said Mayor Wauchope – and introduced a new approach to team-building and finding cost efficiencies that preserved the municipal service.
BWG Mayor Rob Keffer praised his “humour, compassion and wisdom as he has tackled financial issues,” helping each municipality achieve its strategic priorities. Under the leadership of Chief Beazley, the South Simcoe Police budget saw a decrease for the first time.
More than that, he built strong relationships with other agencies, including the Service’s “Justice Partners.” Lynne Saunders, Deputy Crown Attorney in the Barrie Crown Attorney office told Beazley, “Knowing that you have that relationship is absolutely imperative to the success of the Justice department. It has been an absolute privilege to work with you.”
“You mended bridges, you re-established relationships... You established teams to meet the challenges,” said Police Services Board Chair Rod Hicks. Promises to the PSB included accountability and effective partnerships, and “you followed through on every one of them,” Hicks said.
Beazley began his policing career as a Constable in Winnipeg, over 42 years ago. He has also served on the Strathroy-Caradoc Police Service, reaching the position of Chief, before coming to South Simcoe to take on the leadership of that service.
Among the honours presented on Wednesday night were a badge from the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, presented by Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood; a hat and pin from Crime Stoppers of Simcoe Dufferin Muskoka; Retiree badge and a plaque presented by the local Police Services Board, and a basket filled with gift cards, from his South Simcoe Leadership team.
“This is very difficult,” said the outgoing Chief, when he was finally called to the microphone – not retirement itself, but leaving behind friends. “The career that I’ve had in policing has been fantastic. I’ve had all the opportunity anybody could ever ask for, starting with constable all the way up to Chief.”
But it isn’t about one person’s achievements, Beazley said; it’s about all who contributed to his career – especially his wife, Anita Granger. “I couldn’t have done it without her.”
Beazley received a standing ovation.
A Change of Command Ceremony, which will see Andrew Fletcher sworn in as Chief of the South Simcoe Police Service, will take place on Tuesday, April 18, 4 p.m. at the Innisfil Town Hall.