Regina police Chief Evan Bray to retire at the end of June
Regina's police Chief Evan Bray has announced his retirement after 28 years with the Regina Police Service and seven years at the helm.
Bray's last day will be June 30. He said in a tweet that he has no formal plans for what's next, but will spend time with his family before deciding.
He said there is much to be proud of after many changes in the police force during his time there.
"Even seven years ago, our police service's ability to deal with and help our members through mental health challenges was much more limited than where we are right now," he told reporters Wednesday.
WATCH| Regina police chief's emotional tribute as he announces retirement:
He said now felt like a good time to step aside, because several major projects are either near completion or well on their way to being done.
"If you think about what we've dealt with or what I've had the ability to deal with in the last few years, you know, if something big was happening like the Co-op Unifor strike, that wouldn't feel like a good time to announce a retirement," he said.
"We're never free of challenges for sure, but right now just feels like a time where there's opportunities for someone new to step in and take it to the next level."
Bray said he actually wanted to be an RCMP officer from the time he was five years old, but that when he applied after high school, it was clear he wasn't going to get in immediately.
He went on to have a career in radio and television before landing at RPS, and said it was a more natural transition than one would think.
"Policing is really about building relationships in community, communicating with community," he said.
As news spread of his announcement, people began posting their congratulations on social media.
Regina mayor Sandra Masters wished Bray well during a scrum after an executive committee meeting had wrapped up.
"He took his job really seriously," she said. "Keeping the community safe was always top of mind. Professional standards [were] always part of how he dealt with people in the public."
She said it would be ideal to find someone to replace Bray before his departure date, but she can't guarantee it.
"I think he has [such] an ability with communication and empathy — and he truly feels for people — that he's able to make connections in the community, to be respectful, to listen, to learn," Masters said.
In terms of advice for his successor, he said community relationships are the foundation of what he does.
"I work for the City of Regina. The City of Regina is who cuts my paycheck. But at the end of the day, I work for 241,000 people in this community, and every officer and civilian police personnel in this building does," he said.
"I think you have to understand that responsibility that comes with the relationship."
He said he is immensely proud of his coworkers and team, and choked up when speaking about them.
"This isn't a sad thing though. This is passion. This is passion and belief and love and trust for the people I work with, is what you saw there," he said, referring to his burst of emotion.
"This is not a sad day. I'm excited. I'm excited for the Regina Police Service. I think we're set up to to continue to do great things in the community, to continue to build and work on those relationships that have been forged and build some new ones."