Chief Aikman: Looking back on 41 years

Provided by CPS Chief Danny Aikman
Chief Aikman: Looking back on 41 years
CPS Chief Danny Aikman behind his desk (Nick Seebruch/ TC Media).

By now most Seaway News readers know that I’ve announced my retirement after 41 years with the Cornwall Police Service and this will be my final column. Thank you to Nick Seebruch and Rick Shaver for the opportunity to keep the community current with matters of community safety for the past 3 years.

Deciding to retire was much more difficult than I ever imagined it would be but I knew when I accepted the position in 2018 that my tenure as Chief would be a transitional one, bridging generations of police leaders.

Serving as Chief of Police during a historic pandemic has not been easy but I’m very proud of every member of the Cornwall Police Service who’ve adapted and performed exceptionally in the most trying of conditions.

I am tremendously proud that the Cornwall Police Services Board has named Deputy Chief Shawna Spowart as my successor. I hired Shawna in 1995 and have witnessed her growth into a police leader first hand. Shawna has all the qualities to be a tremendous Chief of Police and will serve our community well.

In 1981 I joined the then Cornwall Police Force as a baby faced 21-year-old looking for a career that would not only be interesting but would also provide stability for my young family. The past 40 plus years have been everything I could have hoped for in a career.

Policing Cornwall has changed dramatically over the span of my career. In those early days I walked foot beats in downtown Cornwall and along Montreal Rd. Bar fights were a frequent occurrence in those early days and one’s competence as a police officer was judged by some as to how you handled yourself in those dicey situations.

Times have changed as community policing strategies saw police engaging the community at a different level in order to reduce the impact of crime. In the early 1990’s I had the good fortune of teaching at the Ontario Police College for 2 years and this experience broadened my knowledge and understanding of emerging changes in policing. I was able to bring many of those lessons back to CPS, finding a niche in training our members on the leading edge of a different era of policing. The time and energy I invested in continuing education and learning paid off as I progressed in my career.

Throughout my career I’ve had the honour of working with more than 300 current and former dedicated police professionals of the Cornwall Police Service. Names from the past include Stuart MacDonald, Rick Trew, Cecil Runions, Stan Willis, D’Arcy Dupuis, Bob Burnie, Garry Derochie, Rolly Lefebvre and Diane Gibeau who were not only mentors, but friends whom I will forever remember fondly. There are so many others I would love to list but I’d worry about omitting someone deserving of mention.

My predecessors as Chief of Police include Earl Landry, Claude Shaver, Carl Johston, Tony Repa and Dan Parkinson. All played a role in shaping my career as a police leader and I thank them for laying the foundation upon which my career grew. Similarly, I thank the numerous members of the Cornwall Police Service Board for their support and trust over the past 17 years

Thank you to my hometown of Cornwall for providing me this wonderful opportunity to serve for this long. I look forward to what the future holds for our community in the coming years.

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