POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 55 SYDNEY — Police brass from across the country showed up in Sydney on Saturday to salute one of their own. Politicians and lawyers joined the blue bow ties for the gala evening marking Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Edgar MacLeod’s official send-off. “I was really humbled and honoured,” the departing chief said Sunday, despite the good-natured roasting he endured at the hands of several mischievous colleagues. “It was light-hearted ... I never really take myself too seriously.” Chief MacLeod will officially turn the reins overs to Associate Chief Dave Wilson at the end of January, but the force is already preparing for his departure to the Atlantic Police Academy in Prince Edward Island. “I think we’ve built an adaptability for change,” Chief MacLeod said. “Twelve years as a chief of police is abnormally long. You need new energy (and) new vision for organizations. “And the change also has to be for myself. I have to look for new challenges to keep motivated.” Chief MacLeod has been at the helm of the 180-member force since its amalgamation in 1995. During that tenure, he said, he focused on collaborating with other organizations within the municipality. He cites the drug rehabilitation partnership, school liaison officers and a recent crime prevention initiative as examples of how police can be a community partner rather than just the arm of the law. "There's been a major change in attitude in our police officers (and) they’ve embraced the notion of really getting a hold of community ... and working together.” Chief MacLeod has made the force understand that policing is about crime prevention as much as it is about law enforcement, Mayor John Morgan said Sunday. “He’s aware that the seeds of criminality are sown in the areas of the community that are not functioning well” and tries to address those underlying issues, Mr. Morgan said. The chief weathered a rocky transition, however, when the public vehemently objected to the amalgamated force taking over municipal policing duties from the RCMP. The public wasn’t confident that the new force was large enough or had the proper training to cover the entire municipality, Chief MacLeod said. “That was a huge challenge. We had to address that perception and do more training ... and regain public confidence.” Chief MacLeod will be sworn in as executive director of the police academy at Holland College on Tuesday. ( By LAURA FRASER Retiring Police Chief Gets Warm Sendoff Cape Breton Regional Police Chief Edgar MacLeod will retire from the force at the end of January. (LAURA FRASER/Cape Breton Bureau) MacLeod roasted by colleagues from across Canada As originally published The Chronicle Herald January 21, 2008