OPP commander leaves Haliburton for promotion
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer, with files from Alex Coop | September 21, 2017
The OPP is once again on the hunt for a local detachment commander.
On Tuesday, members of the county’s Community Policing Advisory Committee (CPAC) received an email notifying them that Staff Sgt. Richard Riopelle had been promoted to regional manager of the OPP’s traffic and marine program, confirmed committee chair Carol Moffatt.
Riopelle held the top job at the Haliburton Highlands detachment for a little more than a year.
“I’d say it was a surprise,” said Moffatt, who is also mayor of Algonquin Highlands, in a phone interview.
Although the committee is happy for his career advancement, it also comes as a disappointment.
“Continuity and consistency is important,” she said. “We’ve had a bit of a revolving door for the past 10 years.”
County Warden Brent Devolin echoed that sentiment, adding he would like to see commanders serve longer terms because it would be good for the community.
Riopelle took the reins from Chad Bark on July 4 of last year. Bark held the position for four years before retiring from the force.
Riopelle came with 17 years of policing experience—a career that started in Essex County in 1999.
Moffatt said Riopelle was covering positions at the OPP headquarters in Orillia as of late.
Staff Sgt. Joe Evans is the interim commander while the OPP undertakes its hiring process. He’s been there since the end of August, said Moffatt.
Moffatt praised Riopelle for being “very open and approachable” and added he helped foster the relationship between the police and municipal government. As for the officers within the detachment, they will “carry on their usual duty.”
The CPAC committee is comprised of five members including an elected official from each municipality and the detachment commander. They advise the commander on policing issues in the community and he provides reports to them.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.