VicPD deputy chief looks to retirement

'Compassionate' police officer will leave post in September

Deputy Chief John Ducker is calling it quits after 34 years with the Victoria Police Department.

Ducker posted the announcement to his police blog May 15, chronicling some of his proudest achievements with VicPD over the years.

“It was a difficult call for me in deciding not to compete for the upcoming chief’s position at VicPD. But with the standard chief constable term being five years, the prospect of committing to another five years of police work was too much for me and my wife at this stage of the game,” he wrote.

Among his best memories, Ducker cites being possibly the first officer in Canada to arrest a suspect by reading them their charter rights.

“I watched Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth on the TV in the lunch room signing the (Charter of Rights and Freedoms) into law on the 17th of April 1982 and as the ink was drying I was sent to a shoplifter at the old A&B Sound Store on Yates,” he said on his blog.

Retired 26-year VicPD veteran Bill Naughton, a former inspector who worked with Ducker in management, recalled his former colleague as bringing a steadying hand and a big-picture vision to the department.

“I think John was always someone who had that very grounded, pragmatic view of people and issues,” Naughton said. “He had that quality of being able to perceive situations clearly and a remarkable ability to articulate a vision around improvements in how we delivered services.”

While he was always “a good crook catcher,” Naughton said, Ducker’s legacy will likely be the improved collaborative relationships between the police and social service agencies in Victoria. His compassion for the people who struggle in society led him to support such preventative programs as community court and VICOT (Victoria Integrated Community Outreach Team).

Among the personal achievements Ducker is proud of, he helped increase VicPD’s officer numbers in 2007 and 2008, during one of its toughest budgetary crises.

“Former Victoria city manager Penny Ballantyne was a huge supporter of this effort as well and I’ll never forget her for the friendship and advice she offered,” he wrote.

Ducker will retire in September. To read his full retirement post, visit vicpd.ca/blog.

– with files from Don Descoteau