Evan Bray retiring as Chief of Regina Police Service after 28 years with RPS
Regina's Chief of Police Evan Bray has announced his retirement from policing, but said he plans to pursue other opportunities in the future.
Bray, who went public with the announcement on Twitter said he told the Board of Police Commissioners during a meeting on Tuesday.
“This is not a sad day, I’m excited,” Bray told media at a press conference on Wednesday.
The Regina Police Service (RPS), under Bray’s reign, got the ball rolling on several major projects including construction of a new headquarters and launch of a police plane. Bray believes now is a good time to step back.
“In the world of policing you’re never done, sadly. There’s always work to do,” Bray said.
“But right now just feels like a time where there are opportunities for someone new to step in and take it to the next level.”
Bray was named Regina’s Chief of Police in 2016 and has been a member of the RPS for 28 years.
Since 1995, Bray has been living out his childhood dream.
“I wanted to be a cop since I was five [years old],” he said.
“I grew up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan and that’s all I wanted to be.”
He’s served in various positions including patrol supervisor, detective corporal with serious habitual offenders, crisis negotiation team member, watch commander and inspector for the city’s North District.
Prior to policing, he made a career in broadcasting as a radio announcer and TV weather personality.
“It’s actually a more natural transition than you would think because policing is really about building relationships with community, communicating with community,” Bray said.
Regina mayor Sandra Masters said Bray’s commitment to the community and the relationships he’s built throughout his career made him a valuable leader.
“His ability to connect with community is outstanding. His ability to be present and engage and connect with people is something that I would personally look for in the next candidate,” Masters said.
Bray worked his way up in the ranks with a strong focus on community policing. He’s been president of the Saskatchewan Police Federation and serves on the Canadian Association Chiefs of Police Board. Masters said Bray is viewed as a preeminent expert on firearms in the country.
“We’re going to miss his leadership and his ability to make community connections,” she said.
In Bray’s time as leader, he said RPS has dealt with a number of challenges including the rise of drugs, guns and gang violence in the city. However, he said there have been positive steps forward in areas such as mental health.
“I had two conversations in the hallway this morning with frontline members and mental health came up in both of them and it came up very conversationally and I feel that’s a big success,” Bray said.
“That to me says stigma is reducing. People are more apt and willing to talk about it which means that we can keep people healthy that we can get people healthy and a healthy workforce means that we’re delivering a great service to the community.”
Bray said he will take the opportunity to make a formal thank you closer to June 30, which will be his last working day. He has no immediate plans upon retirement.
“I don’t plan on sitting in a rocking chair and being retired. I’m sure that I’ll find something,” Bray said.
“At this point, it’s really just about closing off this journey and ensuring when I do walk out of here at the end of June that I’m leaving this organization as poised for success as I can.”
The Board of Police Commissioners is responsible for appointing a new chief. They will hire an outside firm to undergo a nationwide search before making their selection.
Bray said there are a couple of strong candidates within RPS that he believes could fill his role.
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