Parent sworn in as new police chief
MONTREAL – Marc Parent was sworn in as the new chief of the Montreal Police Department on Monday afternoon.
The handover ceremony was attended by Mayor Gerald Tremblay, Public Security Minister Robert Dutil as well as former police chief Yvan Delorme.
Parent, the former deputy chief, was tabbed by Tremblay to replace Delorme, who resigned from his post after five years. Parent's nomination was later approved by the Public Security Commission, the Montreal municipal council, the agglomeration council and the Council of Minister in Quebec City.
Parent takes over the second-largest police department in Canada, serving 1.8 million citizens on the Island of Montreal, with 4,600 police officers and 1,600 civilian employees.
"Leading the second-largest municipal police service in Canada has important responsibilities and challenges are many. I know Marc Parent has been a leader throughout his 26-year career and his vision of the future will bring even more of the police service to its citizens and to ensure that Montreal remains the safest city in North America," said Tremblay.
Parent and Jean-Guy Gagnon were the two finalists in a selection process that began with five candidates.
The new chief will immediately be forced to tackle the touchy subject of labour relations with the Montreal Police Brotherhood while also handling a $35-million budget cut for the police department imposed by the Tremblay administration.
Union president Yves Francoeur said in a statement he has great respect for Parent but needs the means to achieve his ambitions.
"Increased budgets for the SPVM are necessary and urgent," said Francoeur, adding that the cuts have resulted in reduced patrols, increased response time for 911 calls.
Parent responded to the budget cut and the 140 temporary police officers who face unemployment.
"These people are important for us. They are human beings; we want to treat them well. We gave them good training, so we would like to keep them in the service," he said
He also faces calls from community groups to probe into racial profiling.
"We want him to make sure that he acknowledges there is racial profiling within his police force and he takes action to prevent that because it's not only affecting the Montreal North community, but Montreal as a whole city," said Will Prosper of community group Montreal North Republik.
Parent has 26 years of experience with the Montreal Police Department, with a B.A. in business administration and a Master's in public administration.
"This is a major asset for all Montrealers, as well as for the women and men you will be leading," said Tremblay of Parent's experience.
While Parent is being sworn in, the Montreal police community is mourning the death of a former chief. Roland Bourget, who was chief of police from 1985 to 1989, passed away Saturday at the age of 74.
With files from The Canadian Press