West named active police chief during search

·2 min read

While the Medicine Hat Police Commission embarks on their search for a new police chief, longtime MHPS member Joe West has stepped into the role of acting chief.

West was born and raised in Medicine Hat, but left the city to attend the University of Calgary. Following graduation, he spent two years as a patrol officer with the Calgary Police Service before returning to Medicine Hat and joining the local service.

“I basically came back to Medicine Hat to raise my family,” West told the News. “I came back here as a patrol officer, and then have just been moving through my career.

“I spent about 13 years total in patrols at all three ranks. I spent time as a training sergeant, tactical team commander, staff sergeant of the organized crime section, as well as our major crime section. I then got promoted up into the Office of the Chief in 2016.”

Since joining MHPS’s executive team, West has served as inspector of operational services. He has also previously filled the role of temporary acting chief, under former chiefs Andy McGrogan and Mike Worden.

While West didn’t expect to become acting chief indefinitely, he says the experience he gained throughout his time with MHPS has prepared him for his new role.

“The service did a good job developing me into this role,” West said. ” It’s an important role, but I’ve become accustomed to the responsibility.”

West feels one of the skills he’s bringing to his new role is his ability to connect with service members of all ranks.

“I make it a point to wander around the building and check in,” West said. “I try and get out in a patrol car every Friday afternoon to chat with the frontline responders, so I can stay current with what they’re experiencing, which helps me do my job. I’ve developed those relationships over the years, and I’m just going to continue doing those things (while acting chief).”

Until a new chief is selected, West plans to continue with “business as usual.”

“We’ve just presented our strategic plan to the police commission, which we worked very hard on and we’re working on our operating budget for the fall,” said West. “We’ve got some events coming up, such as our open house, which is coming up on June 11 (and) our retired staff barbecue … So, there’s a lot in motion right now and my job is just to keep things in motion.

“I just want to make sure the men and women in the Medicine Hat Police Service have everything they need to do their job. And (know) I support them,” he said. “Honestly, I think it’s been a pretty smooth transition because of the team I’ve had upstairs. The Office of the Chief team and management staff have been very supportive over the past week.”

KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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