During a Police Services Board meeting where Hamilton Police Chief Eric Girt presented the 2021 HPS budget he also announced his retirement effective Feb. 7, 2021 from his post. Girt, a 35 year veteran with the Hamilton force was appointed after a sometime contentious tenure of his predecessor Glen DeCaire who came to Hamilton from Toronto. Girt told the Police services board “It has been an honour to serve with you,” adding his priority was to have a “respectful, compassionate” police service.
While Girt enjoyed a positive relationship with the Police Services Board, he faced criticism from some in the community over the Police Service’s handling of the outbreak of violence that took place at the Hamilton Pride Festival in Gage Park in the summer of 2019. A third-party investigation later found that Police had been disorganized and had failed to provide adequate protection for attendees when the park was invaded by right-wing anti-gay protestors. One of the recommendations from that inquiry was presented in Chief Girts budget presentation Thursday—the hiring of a full-time Equity, Diversity and Inclusion officer.
Mayor Fred Eisenberger paid tribute to the Chief, telling the Board, “We had a very talented, compassionate, caring individual leading this police service over the last five years,” he said. “Thank you so much for the very difficult job of being police chief.”
The announcement means the Hamilton Police Services board will have a big task on its plate in the new year-the search for a new Chief of Police.