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Superintendent Devon Clunis to lead police service

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Winnipeg’s first visible minority police chief was introduced to a round of applause from a group of senior police officers.

Devon Clunis, currently a superintendent with the WPS, avoided making any controversial statements during the noon-hour news conference.

"I am absolutely honoured, I am very humbled to be offered the position," of Chief of Police, Clunis said in his opening comments at the news conference.

Clunis is a 25-year-veteran of the WPS and a native of Jamaica, who came to Winnipeg as a 12-year-old.

Clunis vowed to take a consultative approach to his new job, stating he would be meeting with front-line officers and members of the community to hear what they expect of him.

Clunis said he expects to make a formal statement about how he will lead the WPS in a few weeks after he’s consulted with a wide variety of groups.

"In the history of my career, the one thing I’ve come to realize is that one person doesn’t have all the answers," Clunis said. "It’s very important to be collaborative, to hear from my members, and also hear from the community.

"At the right time I will be back to you with exactly what we’ll be doing."

Clunis, who is bald, joked about succeeding Keith McCaskill, who boasts a strong mane of hair that is now mostly silver.

"Chief McCaskill has done a great job and I simply want to build on what he’s done."

Later, Clunis said his appointment should be seen as inspirational for members of the city’s visible minorities, where success is possible for those who seek it.

Clunis said he will make a special effort to work on relationships with the Aboriginal community and with minority groups and build new ones where they don’t exist.

"I’m an individual who sees possibilities everywhere," Clunis said. "I believe this will come to fruition if we stay the course."

Clunis started with the Winnipeg Police Service in 1987 and has served in several units, including patrol, traffic, plainclothes investigation, community relations, organizational development and the duty office, the city said.

He currently oversees the Service’s Development Support Branch, which encompasses four divisions.

McCaskill, 57, had signed a five-year contract as chief in November 2007. For the two years before agreeing to be chief, he had worked with the Doer government as provincial co-ordinator of aboriginal and municipal law enforcement.

McCaskill’s predecessor was Jack Ewatski.

History

Updated on Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 9:30 AM CDT: Updated

10:21 AM: We will live stream the press conference.

11:57 AM: Adds live stream player.

1:03 PM: New story after press conference.

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