Durham Regional Police chief retiring after 30-year career

Chief Paul MartinAfter more than 30 years as a member of the Durham Regional Police Service, Chief Paul Martin is retiring.

According to a statement issued on behalf of the Durham Regional Police Services Board, Chief Martin will remain in his role until September.

“Chief Martin has fulfilled his leadership role with the DRPS with excellence and ensured that superior police services were provided to the citizens of our Region for the last six years,” said Kevin Ashe, Chair of the Durham Regional Police Services Board.

“He has fostered and nurtured partnerships with religious, cultural and racial communities across Durham Region to strengthen equity and inclusion in police practices. He led the implementation of Durham Connect to address high risk cases to community safety and well-being, and the program is now regarded as a model across the Province. A host of continuous improvement initiatives were introduced during his tenure to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness in DRPS programs and services. And the leadership cadre of the Police Service is more diverse than ever.”

Chief Martin issued his own statement regarding the change in policing he has witnessed and participated in throughout his tenure.

“We have evolved and built a different set of standards, we have delivered on many of those goals we set a decade or more ago. But this year also showed us how much more there is to do. We have been painfully reminded of the trust gap that needs to be bridged with some of the communities that we serve, and the importance of building these bridges cooperatively with the community. It has revealed that officers, despite the expectation of heroism, do falter, do struggle and do sometimes need help. As a community of police leaders, we must lean in when officers are in trouble and when they might be causing unnecessary trouble. Police officers should never be bystanders, when a citizen is at risk, or a fellow officer needs a helping—or a restraining—hand,” he wrote.

“We have made progress in building bridges in our communities and we still have much work to do, but here we are the victim of an old truth. It takes years to build a reputation and only seconds to destroy it. It takes hundreds of gestures of kindness and support, and one of anger to undermine that hard work. It’s not a fault exclusive to policing, it’s a reality of life. But we need to be driven by its lesson: bad behaviour and mistakes cause serious damage, and the price is paid not only by the citizens who may have been hurt, but by every brother and sister in service.”

Read Chief Martin’s full statement by clicking here.

According to the Police Services Board, Chief Martin started his career with DRPS in 1990.

“He gained experience in a variety of operational and administrative units, including Tactical Support, Nuclear Security and Human Resources. He has been an active volunteer in the community, coaching youth sports and serving on the Board of Directors of the John Howard Society of Durham Region and as past President of the Durham Children’s Aid Society,” states the Board, noting Chief Martin was appointed Deputy Chief in 2012, selected as Chief of Police in 2014 and reappointed to that role in 2018.

“I aspired to be a police officer since high school,” said Chief Martin. “To retire as Chief of Police of this outstanding Police Service is an immense privilege, but it is also difficult. However, the timing is right for myself and my family. I am honoured to have had this leadership opportunity, and I am so proud of the men and women of the DRPS who serve our community daily with courage, care, and integrity.”

According to Ashe, “Chief Martin earned a reputation as an agent of change, and his legacy will endure through innovative and evidence-based practices being embedded into the organization’s fabric.”

The Board will appoint an interim Chief of Police upon Chief Martin’s departure, and begin a comprehensive selection process over the coming months to choose the next Chief of Police.

The Durham Regional Police Services Board is the civilian governing body of the Police Service. Its responsibilities include establishing objectives for policing in consultation with the Chief of the Police, setting policies for the effective management of the Police Service, and hiring and monitoring the performance of the Chief of Police. The Board consists of seven members, three appointed by the Province of Ontario and four chosen by Regional Council.

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