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Hehn's term on PSB comes to a close

Andrew Philips

By Andrew Philips, Special to Postmedia Network

Pat Hehn

Pat Hehn

The Orillia Police Services Board will likely welcome a new chair at its next meeting.

Pat Hehn chaired her last board meeting Tuesday as her two-year term drew to a close. She will be replaced on the police board by fellow city councillor Jeff Clark, who is expected to join the board for its next monthly meeting Dec. 20.

While Hehn encountered controversy late in her term as chair following a ride to Brockville in an OPP cruiser and a hallway meeting with a couple of other board members, she said she's proud of her accomplishments in the role.

"I'm sad to be leaving, but I accomplished the things I wanted to do," Hehn said. "One of the things I really fought for is to get a new detachment."

The province's Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services announced earlier this fall that Orillia would be one of nine communities across Ontario that would get a new OPP headquarters under phase two of its OPP modernization project. The buildings are expected to be in operation by 2018.

Hehn and Mayor Steve Clarke, who also sits on the police board, had earlier travelled to Queen's Park to lobby for the new building.

Hehn said the replacement is definitely needed since there are now three adjacent portables, including one used by the North Victim Crisis Services (VCARS) program that Hehn once headed, outside the main detachment building that was built in the 1970s.

"Having worked in that building for 16 years, getting a new detachment was important," she said. "That, to me, is enormous. I'm really thankful about that."

Hehn said she's also happy she was part of the selection team that picked Insp. Pat Morris to lead the local detachment following the retirement of Insp. Malcolm Quigley in late 2014.

"We made a really great choice," she said. "He's made a really great detachment commander."

The role switch is all part of normal city hall practice where councillors shift committee appointments at the midway point of their four-year terms.

Hehn moves onto three new roles on boards, including economic development, the boards and committees selection panel and the Orillia and Area Physician Recruitment and Retention committee.

As for Clark, Hehn said she's confident he will do an excellent job in his new role.

"He's going to be a really good fit," Hehn said, noting Clark has shown a strong interest in policing and how the work is often intertwined with mental health issues.

"He's enthusiastic, asks a lot of questions and he really does his homework. He comes extremely well-prepared (to council meetings)."

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