One of the City’s most respected citizens is moving on.
RCMP Supt. Brian Simpson, 53, is serving out his last weeks in Red Deer before he is set to move to Ottawa where he will serve as director general of operational preparedness and readiness in contract and aboriginal placing. His last day as Red Deer’s chief of police is Sept. 16.
Simpson, who took the Red Deer post in June 2006, said his move has been in the works since the spring and he’s looking forward to new challenges, but will also miss the Red Deer community.
“I’m looking forward to the change and to the challenge in Ottawa because in many ways it will be completely different than what I’m doing. What I’ll miss though is here when things happen or when you need to make changes you can see the results fairly quickly out of your actions. That won’t be the case in what I’m going to be doing in my new position.”
Simpson’s new position will allow him to work more on a nation scale with the RCMP.
“I’ll be dealing on a larger scale with national application and national process relative to the day to day policing for the RCMP. It’ll be a change of perspective.”
Since moving to Red Deer Simpson said there has been much that he’s enjoyed about being part of the City.
“Red Deer is a dynamic community and is progressive in its thoughts and has a very ‘get it done’ attitude which you don’t always see and is really refreshing,” he said. “There’s also a lot of volunteerism and we see that with our Citizens on Patrol and Neighbourhood Watch, Crime Stoppers, the Women’s Shelter and Women’s Outreach, just to name a few.
“There really is a lot of cooperation that happens amongst the various agencies in Red Deer. It’s a good thing and something that’s a very positive aspect to how this community works.”
Simpson said one of the highlights during his career in Red Deer was moving into the new RCMP building.
“We are in a more professional setting and we have space to allow community groups such as Neighbourhood Watch to come and use,” he said. “Another highlight would be some of the programs we’ve developed like the diversity programs and a domestic violence program, which already existed when I got here, but now has a full-time social worker through the City.
“There are various highs throughout my time here. There have been challenges too. We are a busy community because of our proximity between Edmonton and Calgary. We’re not immune.”
Looking to the future Simpson said one of the City’s biggest challenges will be its continued growth.
“The growth factor will definitely have an impact. We are a more diverse community and that in itself brings its own challenges – not negative, but just things we need to recognize. I think also the Alberta economy will play a role, regardless of the situation even right now. It’s still vibrant and we still attract a number of newcomers to the community on a regular basis.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Morris Flewwelling said Simpson’s move will leave a void in the community.
“Brian is one of our superstar members of the force, and I don’t say that lightly,” said Flewwelling. “He is someone who is always called away to do duties, such as the lead on the G8 Summit and the Vancouver Olympic Games, because of his skills. He is well known across our nation within the force.”
He added the City of Red Deer and its residents has been lucky to have Simpson at the head of the RCMP locally.
“He really has connected with the community from holding neighbourhood meetings and always being willing to hear from residents. He’s taken us a long way and has always been approachable and direct and I believe he’s enjoyed a high degree of support from his staff.”
A selection board for Simpson’s replacement is scheduled to take place today.
“The position for the chief of police for Red Deer was advertised across the RCMP. The files of all the applicants are reviewed and then once that process is done it’s usually narrowed down to three or four candidates,” said Simpson. “A board is held where all three candidates are presented.”
A replacement will be named in the near future.