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Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service's new chief from southern Ont. has northern ties

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After months of completing a comprehensive and exhaustive search, the Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service Board on Manitoulin Island has named a new police chief.

Ronald Gignac, a decorated police veteran in his own right, recently stepped down as the chief of police in Belleville to take over his new post.

Ronald Gignac, a decorated police veteran, chosen as the new police chief for Wikwemikong Tribal Police Service on Manitoulin Island. (Belleville Police Service)

Gignac will start his new position on July 2 with a formal swearing-in date to be determined later.

"We had an extensive search nationwide," said Lawrence Enosse, president of the WTPS Board.

"We had some great candidates and the thing that stood out about Ron was his connection to northern Ontario, his wanting to be on Manitoulin Island and his wanting to have a change in service."

Enosse said they had a great interview with Gignac and it’s clear that he’s bringing a sense of enthusiasm to his new role.

Another thing that really stood out to the board was Gignac’s work in crime prevention, he added.

"I think that really stood out for us and just listening to the direction of how we want it to be and it’ll be a new way for our police service, but it’s going to be something that’s different but appreciated, not only by our service but the entire community," Enosse said.

Manitoulin Island communities have had a difficult time curbing some drug activity, particularly from those visiting from off the island.

A recent standoff in M’Chigeeng and the arrest of a Windsor man led Police Chief James Killeen of the UCCM Anishinaabe Police, another First Nation police service on the island, to issue a public statement earlier this month calling for the community to stand together.

"It is becoming increasingly frequent that investigations and situations such as this are occurring," Killeen wrote.

"We are challenging all community agencies and citizens to come together and develop a comprehensive community action plan in combating the epidemic of illicit drug use and the violence that comes with it. We all play important roles in curbing the violence and social disparity of the illicit drug problem."

Gignac’s first task when he assumes the new role, Enosse said it’ll be about the community and the island.

"I think just the specialized training that he’s received over the years and working with different departments on crime, in the cities and even in smaller cities. He was also the chief of police in Deep River, so he’s familiar with a lot of the crime units that are available that we’re also seeking as a First Nation police service," Enosse said.

"So he has those connections to really improve that, not only for us but also the surrounding communities that are there. So there’s a lot of excitement that he’s coming, so things are going to look really positive not only for our community but the surrounding communities." 

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