Joe Boland retiring as Royal Newfoundland Constabulary chief at end of July

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Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Joe Boland is set to retire at the end of July.  (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Joe Boland is set to retire at the end of July. (Mark Quinn/CBC - image credit)
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Joe Boland is set to retire at the end of July.
Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Joe Boland is set to retire at the end of July. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Joe Boland is retiring this summer, ending a 40-year career in policing.

A spokesperson for the force confirmed Monday evening Boland will leave the job at the end of July.

He was named chief in 2017, replacing Bill Janes, who was appointed to the top job in 2014.

Boland stepped into the role at the height of blowback against the RNC over the 2015 police shooting death of Don Dunphy.

An inquiry into the shooting death exposed the force to widespread public scrutiny.

As Boland took the reins, he vowed to guide the force by its core values, including "treating people with respect, delivering police services in a compassionate, ethical and unbiased way, seeking the truth ... and being approachable and accessible and of service to all individuals."

His tenure, although marred by discontent within his own ranks — and the continuation of a high-profile sexual assault case involving RNC Const. Doug Snelgrove — at times displayed the force's desire to implement those ideals.

Boland notably worked alongside Thrive, a non-profit serving people in the sex trade, and facilitated outreach training for his frontline staff to repair relationships to police in the community.

Under his leadership, the force also spearheaded mental health initiatives for officers, including a PTSD horse therapy program with local charity Rainbow Riders.

In 2020, however, Boland was the centre of controversy when the RNC Association turned against him.

The union sent letters to constables, sergeants and staff sergeants, asking them to vote on whether they had confidence in Boland's leadership.

The association, which represents 380 non-commissioned officers, said the vote was prompted by "ongoing concerns raised by association membership." Boland called the move a "transparent and fundamentally misguided attempt at intimidation and coercion."

Rumblings about discontent on the force were found in the results of a 2019 job satisfaction survey obtained by CBC News in June.

He also entered the spotlight again last year after new information emerged about ties between then-cabinet minister Sherry Gambin-Walsh and RNC acting Insp. Paul Didham.

Police found that Gambin-Walsh had disclosed cabinet documents to Didham regarding police promotions before the plans were made official.

Boland told media at the time he made the complaint that sparked an RCMP probe into the matter. Court documents later revealed he met with former Premier Dwight Ball to inform him of an upcoming investigation, and told him to "proceed with business as usual."

In a statement, Justice Minister John Hogan praised Boland's service and leadership.

"I commend Chief Boland for his unwavering dedication to the province and commitment to bettering the RNC and the community it serves to protect every day," he said.

CBC has requested an interview with Boland.

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