Change of Command

By Miriam King, Bradford Times

In a symbolic Change of Command Ceremony, on Tuesday, leadership of the South Simcoe Police Service passed from retiring Police Chief Rick Beazley to new Chief Andrew Fletcher.

Fletcher becomes only the third Chief of the police service, which was created 20 years ago through the amalgamation of the Innisfil and Bradford West Gwillimbury police forces.

The Town of Innisfil Council Chambers were packed with visiting dignitaries and guests for the April 18 ceremony, including members of the BWG-Innisfil Police Services Board, Mayors and Councillors from both municipalities, serving and retired members of  South Simcoe Police, and representatives of Police services from across Ontario.

Pastor Howard Courtney, in his opening remarks, thanked retiring Chief Beazley  for creating a “strong foundation upon which his successor can build.” Beazley served as Police Chief for 5 years, and Pastor Courtney noted  that the smooth transition “reflects the diligent work of a great team, working for the common good of the municipality.”

Fletcher came to the South Simcoe Police Service from Halton Regional Police in 2015. He served as Deputy Chief in both Halton and South Simcoe, before being designated as Chief Beazley's successor last year.

Justice of the Peace Richard Kivell administered the Oath of Office, followed by the presentation of the ceremonial sword – passed from South Simcoe Police Sgt. Sheryl Sutton, Commander of the Ceremonial Unit, to Beazley, and from him to his successor, Chief Andrew Fletcher, symbolizing the continuity of service, and the change of command – as Police Services Board Chair Rod Hicks looked on.

Fletcher, whose own career in policing spans 33 years, thanked Beazley for his remarks, friendship, and 42 years of public service.

“It is truly an incredible privilege and honour to be given the opportunity to lead the men and women of the South Simcoe Police Service,” said Chief Fletcher, noting that the right to lead “can only be earned... I look forward to earning that trust, over time.”

He described his goal as “to inspire our people to give all they can, and to encourage them to always be the best,” and to find creative ways to deliver policing services – not only to enforce the laws, but to provide early intervention and crime prevention through new partnerships.

“The police cannot be the sole owner of public safety,” Chief Fletcher said, promising a greater community role in public safety, and a plan, going forward, that is “grounded in our values – values that are demonstrated daily, and underpin everything we do.

“The best is yet to come.”