For retiring Saanich police chief, a bittersweet finish

Saanich Police Chief Mike Chadwick, who serves his last day on the job today, says one of his biggest regrets is that the slaying of Lindsay Buziak remains unsolved.

“There’s not a day that goes by I don’t think about the Buziak homicide,” Chadwick told reporters earlier this week. “And it is a regret that that one is unsolved, because we have so very few unsolved homicides in our jurisdiction. … To have that one outstanding, it’s definitely something I would have liked to see resolved before my retirement.”

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Hired by Saanich police in June 1975 at age 20, Chadwick today caps 39 years of policing with the force. He has been chief since Aug. 1, 2009.

Chadwick, 59, said some of his most fulfilling work was his time as a road sergeant, when he got to work the front line and saw rookie cops grow in maturity and experience.

One file he said he’ll never forget was his investigative role helping to solve the murder of Marguerite Telesford, who went missing Jan. 18, 1987, while jogging in Saanich. Scott Ian MacKay was convicted because of a key piece of evidence — a blue pompom that was discovered wedged underneath his pickup truck.

“As a result of that, her parents had closure on the disappearance of their daughter,” Chadwick said. “That was a long haul, but at the end of it, there was a real sense of satisfaction.”

The Saanich department was criticized for not joining the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit when the homicide investigation team was formed in 2007. Chadwick reversed that decision and the department joined the unit in 2012.

Chadwick has remained staunchly against the creation of a single police force in Greater Victoria, saying he’s an “integrationist” who supports individual departments working together through specialized integrated units.

When he announced his retirement late last year, Chadwick told the Times Colonist he didn’t think the province should mandate participation in certain units. The Regional Crime Unit, set up in 2008 to target the region’s most prolific offenders, has repeatedly lost support from police departments citing budget constraints.

Saanich has always put a focus on community policing, with a “no call too small” mantra, which Chadwick supported, saying he loved talking with residents to find out what’s important to them.

The Saanich force has a long history of promoting within the ranks, unlike Victoria, which tends to hire from outside police departments. Deputy chief Bob Downie will step in as Saanich’s top cop effective Feb. 1 and Insp. Scott Green is being promoted to deputy chief.

Chadwick said his leadership style has always been to not “hold the reins too tight” because he has trust in the great people who work for the department.

He’s retiring now, he said, because he promised his wife he would slow down before his 60th birthday.

Chadwick said his fourth grandchild is on the way and he and his wife expect to do some travelling.

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