Snyder hanging it up after almost 40 years

Nick Seebruch
Snyder hanging it up after almost 40 years
S/Sgt. Brian Snyder

CORNWALL, Ontario – After almost 40 years as a member of the Cornwall Community Police Service (CCPS) S/Sgt. Brian Snyder is hanging it up.

He says that he had been thinking about retirement over the Christmas holidays, but that there was no other reason for choosing to retire now other than it was the right time.

“People say you’ll know when its time and it was like an epiphany, it was time,” he said.

Snyder got his start with the Cornwall Police in 1979, after working a year with Cornwall Transit, so in total, he has been a City employee for 40 years.

When he began his career with the police one of his duties was to walk the beat. The job of the cops on the street at night in those days was to check the backdoors and front doors of businesses to ensure that they were locked and that no one was trying to break-in. Although the CCPS try to have foot patrol it does not occur as often as they would like. 

Snyder explained that a lot has changed for police in the past 40 years. For one, technology with computers in cars, encrypted radio systems and Dictaphone has increased the speed of their calls for service.   

There was also the introduction of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982, which changed the way that the police interact with suspects.

“We all thought as police officers that we’d never get another admission,” he said. “We thought it would hinder us, but it really hasn’t.”

Snyder has worn many hats and worked many areas in his time at the CCPS. He has worked in uniform patrol, courts, the sexual assault and child abuse division, professional standards, criminal investigation, the polygraph section and the executive bureau.

He also partnered with the OPP and the RCMP through a Joint Force Operation in the early nineties to keep drugs off the streets.

“They are all in their own way gratifying,” he said. “However, I always felt that my strength was doing detective work.”

Currently S/Sgt. Snyder oversees Crime Reduction, Community Partnerships, Youth and Media Relations.

He feels that in the years he has been on the service, the CCPS has done a great job in focusing on our youth and has helped to get many on the right track.

Through his work as a police officer and outside of it, Snyder has tried to give back to the community.

S/Sgt. Snyder is the Chair of the Cornwall SDG Situation Table advisory committee and proud of its accomplishments.  A Situation Table is a regular meeting where specially trained participants work together to reduce the chances that anybody in the community will experience harm from a combination of risk factors that heighten the chances of imminent victimization. There are presently 14 agencies that meet weekly to assist people and families. Snyder said, “I’m very proud of the work we have done to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the most vulnerable in our community”. 

In 1996, with Snyder’s help, the CCPS was the first police service in Ontario to host the Special Olympic Provincial Games. It was the first time that the games turned a profit. “I’m proud to say that other police agencies have continuing that tradition to this day”. The CCPS raised $800,000 for the Games that year. 

Although Snyder is best known for his 30 years of volunteering for the Law Enforcement Torch run and Special Olympics he has help many other charities. He was the Chair for the AGAPE centre and helped raised many thousands of dollars for the Childrens treatment centre and the Cornwall Community Hospital Foundation to name a few. 

Snyder has also been recognized with several awards throughout his career including:  the St. John Ambulance Meritorious Certificate of Bravery for saving the life of a young girl who had fallen through the ice in Cornwall Harbour in 1996; Optimist international police officer of the year; the Special Olympics Hall of Fame, the International Law Enforcement Torch Run Hall of Fame; the Police Exemplary Service Medals; Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee medal ; The Paul Harris Fellow Award and he is a member of the Order of Merit for police. 

 In 2013 Snyder was honoured by Canadian Special Olympics with the Rob Plunkett Law Enforcement Torch Run Award and in 2015 he was named Citizen of the Year by the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.

“The community has done so much for me,” said Snyder. “I felt it was necessary to try and give back.”

He believes that going forward the CCPS will continue to give exemplary service to the community.

“Cornwall has been second to none in training our officers, providing the best tools to perform their duties and being involved with our community; I don’t see that changing,” he said.

Snyder said that his career and service would not have been possible without the support of his family, colleagues and the community.

“I want to thank my family and the community for what they’ve allowed me to do,” he said. “It has been a great ride. Thank you to the Cornwall Police for letting me be a part of it.”

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