Former Hamilton police chief and long-time member of the service Brian Mullan has passed away at age 67.Mullan, who spent 35 years on the Hamilton Police Service, retired as police chief in 2009 at the age of 55 after six years in the post.
Born and raised on the city’s east mountain, Mullan was able to reach the top of his field while living in his home community. But, he didn’t always dream of being a police officer.
“I was a business student at Mohawk College,” said the Chief. “I was planning on being an accountant.” It was his best friend who inspired him to consider a life in uniform instead of crunching numbers. “I would hear him talk everyday about what exciting thing happened to him on the job as an officer, and I decided by the end of second year that I would apply to become a policeman.” He did and was accepted immediately. As a rookie, he remembers his first arrest vividly. “I was on my first shift with Reg Downer Sr. who was in traffic,” recalled Mullan. “He was teaching me about radar and we were on West Fifth Street – which got a lot of speeding complaints at the time – and Reg could see a man 200 yards down the road putting up a sign on a poll.” As it turns out, the sign read “radar trap ahead”. That man was Const. Mullan’s first arrest.
During his time with Hamilton Police, Chief Mullan achieved many honours, including receiving the Police Exemplary Service Medal for 20 years of Meritorious Service, the 30 Year Bar for Exemplary Service, and in 2007, he was inducted as an Officer of the Order of Merit by the Governor General of Canada. Chief Mullan was active in many Associations, including the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. He served as President of the New York State and Eastern Canada Chapter of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy Associate.
Internally Chief Mullan faced some challenges, most notably the dismissal of sexual harassment charges against Sergeant Kevin Dhinsa because of a procedural error in filing the charges. Said Mullan, “We’ve (HPS) been through challenges and I’m proud of how, under intense scrutiny and difficult circumstances, the men and women of this service have persevered and delivered for the public. During my time as Chief I’ve come to learn that this community doesn’t tolerate unlawful behaviour and will hold people accountable. Unlike other large cities, Hamiltononians are willing to come forward with information – and that makes me proud of this community “
Although Mullan’s reign did have a few bumps in the road and faced some controversy, his sendoff party was filled with accolades.
“As Chief, Brian Mullan was instrumental in increasing the number of police officers in our City by 10 per cent,” said Chairman, the late Bernie Morelli. “He is a strong advocate of strategic alliances and intelligence-led policing, and this vision resulted in the City of Hamilton experiencing a reduction in crime since 2004. In my mind, perhaps his most impressive personal accomplishment was his ability to connect with our community. Whether it was on radio talk shows, Cable 14, speaking at a Seniors Centre or blogging, Chief Mullan has a real affinity for making a personal connection with so many people.” Mullan received some criticism for being “too open to the public” at times but he is proud of the way he dealt with citizens and the media. “I think I was the very first Chief to apologize to the community. It was necessary and I’m a believer that it’s needed.”