WRPS appoints interim chief
The Waterloo Regional Police Service has appointed Stephen Beckett, a police officer with over 35 years of policing experience, as interim chief following the retirement of former chief Matt Torigian.
“It is a great honour to be named the acting chief for the interim period, while our organization chooses a new police chief. It’s certainly something that I’m very much looking forward to doing,” said Beckett, who entered the position officially on June 8.
Beckett said that Torigian was a mentor and a friend to him. He explained that while his own leadership style is more driven towards accomplishing a task, Torigian taught him to “think big picture,” and that it’s important to “make sure that all the information is selected before you move forward on something.”
“Often we have a resistance or conflict of issues, we just need to make sure that we talk with all of our stakeholders before we arrive at a decision, and build ownership for those decisions.”
While the job of an acting chief is stressful, Beckett emphasized the importance of finding “appropriate humour” in situations, to balance the seriousness of the job.
“It’s important to remember we’re dealing with a lot of human beings, people who work for the organization, and who work very hard to do their jobs, are under a lot of pressure.”
He also stressed the value of teamwork, which helps to strike a balance, since the organization consists of more than 1,100 employees.
When questioned about the values and goals of WRPS, Beckett explained the most significant ones were teamwork, strong leadership, integrity, working with the community, problem solving with a partnership perspective, education, youth and accountability towards the Waterloo Community.
He also mentioned the organization’s vision to try and be the safest community possible in which to live.
“We look for continuous improvement, and that we maintain a quality of service for everybody in the Waterloo Region.”
Beckett, who comes from a background in the administration department of the police force, stressed the importance of technology. His former department was renamed systems and innovation, and enabled him to get very involved with technology systems.
“We have to put technology and our business processes together, and having some knowledge of those issues assists me in my role as chief of police.”
It’s all very much a large team effort, and no one person can do it alone, certainly not the chief of police,” Beckett concluded.