Former police commissioner dies in collision

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  • Jean-Jacques Lemay, former police commissioner (Photograph supplied)

    Jean-Jacques Lemay, former police commissioner (Photograph supplied)

A former Bermuda Commissioner of Police has died in a road crash in Canada.

Jean-Jacques Lemay, 71, was killed in a three-vehicle collision in Ottawa on Saturday night.

Michael DeSilva, the Commissioner of Police, who served under Mr Lemay, said: “Mr Lemay had a warm and approachable manner.

“He was sociable, engaging and knew virtually every member of staff by their first name.

“He had a passion for policing and he was committed to the BPS. His motto was ‘the police service is bigger than any one individual’.

“On behalf of the officers, support staff and cadets of the Bermuda Police Service and the Bermuda Reserve Police, our thoughts and prayers are with Mr Lemay’s wife, Lida, and her family at this sad time.”

Mr Lemay became Deputy Commissioner of the Bermuda Police Service in 1997 and was appointed Commissioner a year later.

He left the post and returned to Canada in 2001. He was succeeded by Jonathan Smith.

Mr Smith praised Mr Lemay as someone who made a lasting difference in the Bermuda Police Service by building and strengthening relationships.

“He was only here for four years, but he definitely made an impact,” he said.

“His real strength was in relationship building. What he tried to do over his four years was to put a lot of focus into improving human resources.

“When I took over in 2001, a lot of the work I had to do was easier because the work he had done allowed me to focus on operational changes because he had addressed a lot of the human resources issues and made positive, longstanding changes.”

Mr Smith said his focus in building relationships within the BPS reflected who he was as a person and his focus on people.

“It is tragic for someone who spent an entire career in law enforcement to have his life ended apparently at the hands of an impaired driver,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Lemay came to Bermuda after serving as Chief Superintendent in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which he joined as a constable aged 19 in 1965.

A BPS spokesman said Mr Lemay used his administrative and personnel experience to make major changes in police policies and procedures during his time on the island.

He was responsible for the introduction of a new promotion process, a grievance policy and the reintroduction of the Police Cadet programme.

Alain Boily, 33, of Ottawa, has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving, impaired driving and other offences in connection with the crash.

The incident happened after Mr Boily’s pick-up truck entered the wrong lane of the highway and collided with Mr Lemay’s Volvo car.

A third car was also in collision with Mr Boily’s truck.

Mr Boily escaped with minor injuries but his 33-year-old female passenger was rushed to hospital with serious injuries.

The driver of the third vehicle, a 30-year-old man, also escaped with minor injuries and was treated at the scene by paramedics.

Jeff Baron, the Shadow Minister of National Security and a former police officer, said he was saddened to hear of Mr Lemay’s death.

“His quiet confidence as Commissioner of Police, and as a man I later called ‘friend’, was his special style,” Mr Baron said.

Mr Baron recalled being summoned to Mr Lemay’s office in 1997 to receive a Commissioner’s Commendation.

“He could tell I was a bag of nerves and clueless as to why I was summoned to his office. He then handed me a plaque and said: ‘Well done, Constable Baron’.

“It was enough for me to know, at 21-years-old, I’d made a great career choice.

“My thoughts are with his family and with our own BPS family. He was a good person, and good people never truly leave us.”

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Published Dec 19, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm)

Former police commissioner dies in collision

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