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New chief has ties to the Sault (4 photos)

Wednesday, June 04, 2014   by: Kenneth Armstrong

Robert Keetch spent many summers in Sault Ste. Marie, and remembers dipping his toes in the Lake Superior water.

“I didn’t know water could get that cold,” said the Sudbury police inspector, who was introduced as the new chief designate for the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service during a press conference Wednesday.

Keetch is not simply dipping his toes into his upcoming job, he is currently selling his Sudbury home and hopes to finish out his policing career as chief in the Sault.

Having grown up in North Bay and spending most of his life in Sudbury he feels an attachment to the north and notes that his mother was raised in Sault Ste. Marie.

Keetch will be sworn in as chief at a ceremony June 16 at the Civic Centre, current Chief Bob Davies will retire on June 30.

“We will kind of have two chiefs, but he will be the officer in charge of this organization as of the sixteenth,” said Davies.

Recently Keetch spent time in Sault Ste. Marie helping to create the new Community Resource Centre on Gore Street by sharing his knowledge in community policing models.

“Yes, we have a core responsibility in regards to enforcing the laws and holding offenders accountable but we also have an opportunity to work collaboratively with the community and make Sault Ste. Marie safer for all residents,” said Keetch.

After serving as chief for 17 years, Davies, 58, is looking forward to retirement.

“I am pleased that I am turning over an organization that doesn’t need any fixing,” said Davies, who adds that he has a long to-do list of chores waiting for him at home once he retires.

When asked about who he will cheer for when the Soo Greyhounds play the Sudbury Wolves, Keetch says he will continue the tradition where the chief in the losing community wears the other’s jersey.

““Hey, you live in the Sault you have to root for the Greyhounds,” said Keetch.

Davies sees the transition period as more of an orientation for Keetch, who he feels is up for the job.

“I tend to think I am a very well-rounded candidate. I’ve got experience in investigations, I have uniformed experience, I have community policing experience and a profile within the province,” said Keetch.

(PHOTO: Chief Designate Robert Keetch speaks to media after a press conference June 4, 2014. Armstrong)

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Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
sootodayreader 6/4/2014 3:20:47 PM Report

Lol, a force that doesn't need fixing. OMG
KFM 6/4/2014 3:26:58 PM Report

Wow, what a novel idea! Actually hiring and having in place a police chief BEFORE the old one leaves. I wonder if the city or school boards might take notice of how it should be done? Probably not. They seem to think hiring for important jobs before the post is vacated is not the way to do it. They usually don't even post the job until that person is gone. So not only does a person newly hired for a position have to, in many cases, physically move but they have to learn the job on thier own with no background or help from the retiring or moving employee they replace.
superior87 6/4/2014 3:38:55 PM Report

KFM - you realize that in 99% of cases, even if a person 'steps down' they still remain in some capacity to mentor and help the transition for the next person right? You realize the new person doesn't just come into a job where they are the head of something, with no guidance and are just dropped there and told to work, right?

These aren't difficult concepts.
KFM 6/4/2014 4:07:28 PM Report

For quit a few positions they haven't. The people I know that have retired and moved on where not asked to stay to introduce the new person to the job and in most cases I am aware of the new person wasn't hired until at least a month after the position was vacated. I know how it should be done but I have witnesses both the city and the shool boards not do what would be in the best intrest of all involved.
chickenlittle 6/4/2014 8:42:34 PM Report

why oh WHY do we have to have NEGATIVE comments on absolutely EVERYTHING. some positive input would be such a breath of fresh air on here. I try not to read the comments on the news here but alas, I do. I am continually disappointed in the people of SSM.. I lived in Sudbury a number of years ago and moved to SSM.. I found this community so much more friendly and accepting. Now reading comments on here Im a little disappointed in the folks in SSM.. Not everyone raises perfect children and a few go astray, must you remind the parents of this continually. Are you so perfect... my mom always said.... sweep off your own back step before you start sweeping someone elses!!! A few of you could go by this saying!!! just saying!!!!
pilopovich 6/4/2014 9:16:56 PM Report

I think for the most part, the negative comments toward the police are coming from less than one percent of the 70000+ that live in our city. Likely those who have made poor choices in their lives and are holding it against those who caught them. That aside congrats to the new chief.
Sam C 6/4/2014 10:40:41 PM Report

KFM... can you give specific examples of that happening, please? I'm having trouble recalling when that may have happened.
soowat 6/4/2014 11:58:06 PM Report

Enjoy your retirement Chief Davies. I do believe your successor will inherit a better organization than you did
Coneybeare 6/5/2014 7:59:43 AM Report

with nothing against the new chief I feel they could have fond a new chief in our own police service.There must be I belive a good police man here that desever the job we have a lot good guys that gives his or her life to the soo.Iwould like to no why they didn't choose one
Just Curious 6/5/2014 8:24:00 AM Report

Coneybeare, a police chief has to do his job with no bias towards anyone and that would be almost impossible if one was hired from within the ranks. I am not in any way putting down our force but everyone of them will have friends or enemies that they work with so partisanship would be a problem. A man from out of town starts fresh with no strings..
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