Former Vancouver police chief Jamie Graham was named Victoria's top cop yesterday, and he quickly pledged to clean up the city's troubled downtown core and improve morale among police officers.
"There's some obvious things I will focus on," Graham told a press conference packed with police officers and police board members.
"The disorder in some areas of the downtown must end. Every single person who lives here or visits here has a right to walk anywhere in this beautiful city without fear."
Graham said he'll support front-line officers while pushing for changes to provincial and municipal legislation that would help police put teeth into enforcement to tackle downtown problems.
Graham was appointed Vancouver's police chief in 2002. In August 2007, at the end of his contract, he retired.
He has a verbal agreement to a five-year contract with the Victoria Police Department, although he has not formally signed the deal. His salary was not available yesterday. Nonetheless, he said he expects to start work Jan. 1, 2009.
Former colleagues described Graham as a positive leader who improved morale and drove down the crime rate in Vancouver.
"Victoria needs a man of his talents," said Abbotsford police Chief Bob Rich, who worked under Graham as a deputy chief in Vancouver and is now president of the B.C. Association of Municipal Chiefs of Police. "I personally think you'll see a turnaround within six months."