Will Sloly replace Clunis as Winnipeg chief?

Peter Sloly By Gerald V. Paul
Peter Sloly
By Gerald V. Paul

When the community pays tribute to former Toronto deputy police chief Peter Sloly today (March 17) at the Jamaican Canadian Association, uppermost on many minds will be whether Sloly will take the $225,000 job as Winnipeg’s chief.
If he does take the job, he will replace the retiring Devon Clunis who served for about three years.
Clunis came to Winnipeg with his family from Jamaica 40 years ago and grew up in the north end. He said his goal as chief was to foster a “culture of safety” for all citizens by “raising the social consciousness” of the community.
“Only by addressing the social roots of crime will we be effective,” said Clunis last Thursday at an Association of Black Law Enforcers (ABLE) gala in Toronto.
Kenton Chance, president of ABLE, spoke about their scholarship program, created to recognize the contribution of the first Canadian Black law enforcers.
“By awarding these scholarships, ABLE assists youth from racialized groups to achieve their educational goals in the justice sector while making a positive contribution to society. In the 24 years that ABLE has hosted the Scholarship Awards Ball, we have donated over, $150,000 in scholarships available to young people in our community.
“Cultural understanding is what you can help to build into your community as a chief of police, because you can have that perspective.”
Clunis was appreciative to all for having helped him accomplish his goals and said potential cuts to the Winnipeg Police Service have “absolutely” nothing to do with his decision to retire.
“I have been contemplating this whole issue of retirement for quite some time now,” he said, adding he wants to spend more time with his wife.
During his 29-year career with the Winnipeg Police Service, he served in all major areas of the organization, including uniform patrol, traffic, plainclothes investigation, community relations, organizational development and duty office, as well as in a number of administrative leadership roles.
He said he believes in “smart policing” by getting to know struggling communities on a personal level and talking strategic steps to prevent crime. Under Clunis police partnered with landlords to identify drug dealers and evict them.
Karen Ferris of Youth Agencies Alliance said Winnipeg officers have changed their practices to earn the trust of youth with whom she works, adding she is sad to learn officers on the front lines of community building may be among the first cut from the force if the budget cuts occur.
Ferris attributed the progress she’s seen in her community to Clunis who she said took an approach to crime reduction through a philosophy rooted in social development, which he shared with the rest of the force.