New po­lice chief

Dan Kin­sella will face old prob­lems


The long-awaited re­place­ment for re­tired re­gional po­lice chief Jean-Michel Blais will be Dan Kin­sella. Cur­rently the deputy chief of op­er­a­tions for the Hamil­ton Po­lice Ser­vices, Kin­sella doesn’t of­fi­cially start un­til July 1. Res­i­dents will have to wait and see if he’s the fu­ture face of change in the Hal­i­fax po­lice force.

“He just rose to the top,” says chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer Jac­ques Dubé of Kin­sella among the other can­di­dates.

Af­ter a na­tional search, long de­lib­er­a­tion, many in­ter­views and a “di­verse in­ter­est in this po­si­tion” that started with an ini­tial 31 can­di­dates, the Hal­i­fax Board of Po­lice Com­mis­sion­ers de­cided Kin­sella’s 32 years of ex­pe­ri­ence with the Hamil­ton Po­lice Ser­vice was a good fit for Hal­i­fax.

“Mr. Kin­sella is ex­tremely ex­pe­ri­enced in deal­ing with di­verse com­mu­ni­ties,” says coun­cil­lor and chair of the board of po­lice com­mis­sion­ers Steve Craig.

Ac­cord­ing to Dubé and Craig, Hamil­ton and Hal­i­fax—in terms of pop­u­la­tion size and diversity—are com­pa­ra­ble. Hamil­ton’s vis­i­ble mi­nor­ity pop­u­la­tion has dou­bled in the past two decades. And the po­lice forces of both cities are very sim­i­lar over­all in bud­get and per­son­nel.

The Hal­i­fax board of po­lice com­mis­sion­ers re­cently rec­om­mended a ban on street checks af­ter the re­lease of a re­port in March by Scot Wort­ley and the Nova Sco­tia Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion that con­cluded that Black men were nine times more likely to be stopped by po­lice.

“Mr. Kin­sella ob­vi­ously has vast ex­pe­ri­ence in polic­ing, in­clud­ing deal­ing with street checks leg­is­la­tion in On­tario,” says Craig, who con­tin­ued to ex­plain that Kin­sella would work with the province and the po­lice force on the is­sue. But Kin­sella’s delayed start buys HRP more time to make any sig­nif­i­cant changes in light of the re­port.

“His num­ber-one pri­or­ity will be to meet with his team, his set di­vi­sion and to re­in­force the values we ex­pect he would bring to the ta­ble,” says Craig.

An apol­ogy for the harm caused by racist street checks “would be his de­ci­sion,” says Dubé. But the board of po­lice com­mis­sion­ers made its of­fi­cial stance on street checks to rec­om­mend that HRP and the province ban the prac­tice, so ide­ally the choice for the top-job would up­hold that rec­om­men­da­tion.

Un­til Kin­sella makes his way from up­per Canada, Robin McNeil will act as Hal­i­fax’s in­terim chief of po­lice. JeanMichel Blais, chief of po­lice since 2012, re­tired last month, on April 12.


Mr. Kin­sella him­self.

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