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Chief Kai Liu Retires

Date:   July 26, 2019

Authorization: Cobourg Police Services Board Chair, Dean Pepper

Subject:  Chief of Police Kai Liu Retires


Having just completed a lengthy selection process that spanned several months, Cobourg’s Chief of Police, Kai Liu announced to the Cobourg Police Services Board his retirement from the Service.  Chief Liu’s retirement is effective September 1, 2019 when he takes on his new appointment as Chief of Police for another police service three times larger than Cobourg’s.


Chair of the CPSB, Dean Pepper says, “On behalf of the board, I want to express our unanimous appreciation to Chief Liu’s unwavering dedication to the safety and security of our community. When he was recruited as chief seven years ago, he was given a clear mandate by the board to modernize our service with a strong emphasis on community-based policing and community engagement. I am very proud to say, he has accomplished this. 


“Under Chief Liu’s strong leadership, he changed the culture of our police service and developed one that is proactive, engaging and committed to the Cobourg Police Service values.” 


Chief Liu leaves a long impressive list of accomplishments, some of which are highlighted below:


  • Presented seven police budgets with each annual budget increase being well under the cost of living.
  • Systematically reduced the police portion of the town’s total annual budget.
  • Placed the service on the forefront of tiered policing with increased use of non-sworn members.
  • With funding from the Ministry of Children and Youth Service, implemented the region’s only year-round youth employment program called ‘Youth in Policing Initiative’. This program has employed over 70 Northumberland students since its inception.
  • In 2012, inherited an auxiliary officer program with two officers and today the service has 19 auxiliary officers who collectively volunteer thousands of community service hours.
  • Positioned the Corporate Services Unit in the very envious position as one of Canada’s largest third-party criminal records check supplier. 
  • Using revenue generated by Corporate Services, the CPSB invested $2 million dollars into building Venture 13, Cobourg’s first business incubator and innovation centre. 
  • Removed the stigma associated with mental health in the workplace by encouraging and supporting officers to seek assistance with their mental health when required. The number of officers at CPS seeking help is a testament of this support.


“It has been an honour and privilege to lead the members and serve this community the last seven years. I am most proud of our members who, regardless of the challenges faced the shift before, returned the next day determined to make a positive difference in the Town of Cobourg and the people they meet.


“Under the new leadership I am confident our members will be well-supported and will continue to proudly serve our community. The Cobourg Police Service has a very bright future and its members are in great hands.


“Though it is sad to say goodbye, I am ready to begin the next chapter in my career,” Chief Liu expresses his thoughts on leaving the Cobourg Police Service.


Cobourg Police Service Board (CPSB) members and Mayor, John Henderson says, “Chief Liu has worked collaboratively with all past and current mayors and council members. I want to personally thank Chief Liu for his demonstrated leadership and contribution to the Town of Cobourg. Throughout his tenure, he has continually worked with the CPSB to improve the lives of those who live, work and play in our community. He has brought to our community big city policing techniques while maintaining the intimacy of a smaller community.


“His strong business acumen and innovative thinking has brought financial success and stability to the Cobourg Police Service. Chief Liu’s experience makes him a positive asset to any community. I am saddened that Chief Liu has decided to retire from the Cobourg Police Service but wish him well in his future endeavors. On behalf of council, I thank Chief Liu for his dedicated public service to our community.” 


Legislated by section 31(4) of the Police Services Act, the Cobourg Police Services Board is responsible to recruit and appoint the chief of police. On behalf of the Cobourg Police Services Board, I am proud to announce that Deputy Chief Paul VandeGraaf will become Chief Designate of the Cobourg Police Service effective July 26, 2019. He will serve in this role until he is sworn in as the 13th Chief of Police in the 159-year history of the Cobourg Police Service. The traditional change in command ceremony will take place at a later date.


Chair Dean Pepper states, “The appointment of Chief of Police Designate Paul VandeGraaf speaks to the strong succession plan the service had in place. The board is proud that Paul accepted the challenge to lead the service and we’re confident he will ensure we meet our goals in protecting and serving the community with quality policing. Paul has proven over time that he has a clear understanding of our vision and approaches every situation with the service’s mission in mind. The board has absolute confidence Chief of Police Designate VandeGraaf will continue to take our service to the next level.”


Chief of Police Designate VandeGraaf’s experience in policing extends over 28 years and has steadily and successfully progressed from various leadership roles to the position of Deputy Chief of the Cobourg Police Service. After leaving the Belleville Police Service as their Deputy Chief, he has become very engrained in the Cobourg community. He has successfully worked with Chief Liu and the Cobourg Police Services Board in all areas. He’s been a key player in strategic planning, budgeting, and revolutionizing the service that has provided a far more community-focused delivery that is both highly economical and abundantly effective. He has been very involved in leading the Cobourg Police Service Corporate Services into a true social enterprise. One that applies innovative business strategies to maximize improvements in financial, social, and environmental well-being for others. This approach to police as a business ensures the viability of “small town” policing for generations to come.  


Chief of Police Designate VandeGraaf remains a very active member of the Cobourg community including being a member of the DBIA, the Board of Directors for the YMCA, Cobourg Rotary Club and alongside his wife Cathy, past campaign chairs for the YMCA Strong Communities Campaign.


“I am eager and excited to support the vision and bringing it to life in everything we do. The energy and collaboration from all members and volunteers of the Cobourg Police Service and Cobourg Police Services Board will be key to ensuring we continue to provide responsive, innovative and quality policing services. I look forward to continually demonstrating to our community the great work that comes out of this service,” Chief of Police Designate Paul VandeGraaf.



About Cobourg Police Services Board

The five-member board provides governance to the Cobourg Police Service while ensuring adequate and effective police services are delivered in accordance with legislative requirements and the needs of the communities we serve.

As civilian community members who represent the public's interests, the Police Services Board is committed to a high quality of community-based policing and excellence in police governance. The Board recognizes the challenges to law enforcement created by a changing environment, demographic shifts, emerging technologies, and evolving crime trends and patterns.

With the ongoing support of the citizens of Cobourg, and the continued dedication and professionalism of our members, the Police Services Board is confident that we will successfully take on the many new challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.

The responsibilities of the Police Services Board are outlined in section 31 (1) of Ontario's Police Services Act:

  1. appoint the members of the municipal police force;
  2. generally, determine, after consultation with the chief of police, objectives and priorities with respect to police services in the municipality;
  3. establish policies for the effective management of the police force;
  4. recruit and appoint the chief of police and any deputy chief of police, and annually determine their remuneration and working conditions, taking their submissions into account;
  5. direct the chief of police and monitor his or her performance;
  6. establish policies respecting the disclosure by chiefs of police of personal information about individuals;
  7. receive regular reports from the chief of police on disclosures and decisions made under section 49 (secondary activities);
  8. establish guidelines with respect to the indemnification of members of the police force for legal costs under section 50;
  9. establish guidelines for dealing with complaints made under Part V; and
  10. review the chief of police's administration of the complaints system under Part V and receive regular reports from the chief of police on his or her administration of the complaints system.


For more information go to www.CobourgPolice.com and follow us on social media @cobourgpolice.