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Remarks From Saint John Police Chief Bruce Connell On Receiving Donated Rescue Vehicle from Commercial Properties Limited

Thu November 14, 2019

Mr. Chair, Commission members, City Manager, Commissioner of Finance, members of the Saint John Police Force and especially, Anne Oxley and John Irving - thank you for being here.

Today, we received such a generous donation from Commercial Properties and as an organization, we thank you for what you have done. But this gift is so much bigger than that. It is in fact a gift to the citizens of our community and our province. While the Saint John Police Force will be the stewards of this rescue vehicle, it will not sit idly by - if, in any way, we can help safely bring a successful conclusion to an event in New Brunswick.

Sir Robert Peel, the father of modern democratic policing in 1829, created nine principals and one of those was:

Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

This donation that we accept today, in the year that we mark our 170th anniversary, is truly a police/community partnership - the police and community working together for a safer Saint John.

As Chief, I know I have good people, who do extraordinary things that few could understand or perform. In crisis situations, as citizens run for safety, my members go in the opposite direction, as they move in on the danger - not looking for media or fanfare- they do it because they have been entrusted to respond to those crises that encompass the very worst moments of the lives of members of our community.

As you can appreciate, I have many things to do and consider as Police Chief of our city. However, my number one priority is that the men and woman of the Saint John Police Force go home to their loved ones at the end of each shift.

Believe me - in the worst of times, if something terrible goes wrong, our new rescue vehicle, which will be known as “Rescue 1”, may be the difference of someone going safely home to their loved ones.

A rescue vehicle is about public safety, officer safety and preparedness. We will train hard with this vehicle. However, it is something we hope that we never have to use and I believe Anne and John will be OK with that.

Unfortunately, police officers and citizens have lost their lives in senseless killings. The events across our country and, within our own province, in the cities of Moncton and Fredericton, tell us we are not immune to such tragedies.

To John and Anne - thank you for caring and asking what you could do after those terrible tragedies in Moncton and Fredericton. And thank you on behalf of the members of the Saint John Police Force for thinking about and caring about us, in such an extraordinary way.

Thank you