Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Top-cop short list down to two officers

Superintendents Clunis, Thorne considered for new chief

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THE search for a new police chief is down to two candidates, and both are senior members of the Winnipeg Police Service.

Several sources have confirmed the search to replace Keith McCaskill has settled on two senior WPS members, believed to be superintendents Dave Thorne and Devon Clunis.

City of Winnipeg CAO Phil Sheegl is heading the search. He declined to comment on the short list or even confirm one exists.

A spokesman for Sheegl said McCaskill's successor will be announced in the fall.

McCaskill, who has been chief for five years, announced in early March he would leave the job in December, giving civic officials plenty of time to find a new top cop.

Sheegl initially said the search would be exhaustive and assisted by a recruitment firm.

Deputy chiefs Shelley Hart and Art Stannard, the two highest-ranking WPS officers under McCaskill, said they would not seek the job.

University of Winnipeg criminologist Melanie Nimmo said she believes the next chief must be an advocate of POP -- problem-oriented policing.

"It entails linking with the community," Nimmo said.

She said if she were a member of the search team, she would be looking for someone with strong character.

"At the end of the day, that's what's important," Nimmo said. "A humble leader with strong ethics and moral character."

Though several senior WPS members were believed to be among possible internal candidates, several sources confirmed the search list is now down to two individuals: Thorne and Clunis.

Thorne has a lot of street-crime experience in his 31 years as a Winnipeg police officer.

Many colleagues considered him an excellent homicide detective and he was later responsible for policing the rough-and-tumble Centennial neighbourhood when he held the rank of inspector. As superintendent, he oversees uniformed-personnel operations in the five WPS districts.

In some corners, Clunis is considered the leading candidate because he's a member of a visible minority. He is black, having come to Winnipeg from Jamaica at age 12. As superintendent, Clunis heads development support.

He is a 25-year-veteran of the WPS, having worked undercover in the vice unit and in traffic and community services. He has a divinity degree and has been the WPS chaplain for several years.

Thorne declined to be interviewed. Clunis could not be reached for comment.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 8, 2012 B1

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