New Saint John police chief is a retired OPP superintendent

·2 min read
Robert M. Bruce will begin his role as Saint John Police Force chief on July 1. (Submitted by Saint John Board of Police Commissioners - image credit)
Robert M. Bruce will begin his role as Saint John Police Force chief on July 1. (Submitted by Saint John Board of Police Commissioners - image credit)

The Saint John Board of Police Commissioners has appointed Robert M. Bruce as the new chief of police.

Bruce retired from the Ontario Provincial Police in 2015 after 33 years on the force. He was involved in hostage negotiations, search and rescue and other departments before he became a superintendent.

Commission chair Ed Keyes said Bruce was chosen because of his extensive policing experience.

"Experience is it," he said when asked why Bruce was chosen over the 50 other applicants for the job.

Ten applicants were chosen for interviews, and the board then picked Bruce, who will assume the role of chief on July 1.

"He was chosen due to his extensive policing experience in leadership roles with the Ontario Provincial Police," Keyes said. "So he was just exactly what the board felt were the ideal qualities and qualifications for the next chief."

Tony Hayes will continue to act as chief until July 1, when he will return to his position of deputy chief.

Bruce will take over from Stephan Drolet, who left the chief's position after only a year for personal reasons. Drolet himself took over from Bruce Connell, who came out of retirement two years ago to become chief. Connell was in the position for two years.

Experience mattered most to board

Keyes said Bruce has committed to staying on for three to five years. He said in hiring a new chief, experience trumped the candidate's ability to stay in the role for a long time.

"It's the most important position in the same police force," Keyes said. "Length of stay has nothing to do with it. Demonstrated leadership qualities, qualifications, ability to lead — those are the things that we look for."

Before committing to becoming chief, Bruce was spending his retirement giving speeches on leadership. He also wrote a book titled Leading Beyond Your Presence: Becoming The Leader You Want to be Led By.

Keyes said Bruce wouldl not be available for an interview this week.

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