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New deputy chief says Sudbury kind of feels like home

Ceremony to swear in Deputy Chief Natalie Hiltz took place in council chambers at Tom Davies Square on June 5

 

Members of the Greater Sudbury Police Service and Police Board gathered June 5 for the official swearing-in of new GSPS Deputy Chief Natalie Hiltz. 

Hiltz is in her 28th year of policing, most recently serving the Peel Regional Police Service as inspector and officer in charge of community safety and well-being services.

With the recent retirement of CAO Sharon Baiden, the board decided to move to a two-deputy model working with the chief of police to serve the members of the organization and the community as the executive leadership team. 

Police board chair and councillor for Ward 8, Al Sizer told Sudbury.com the move to a police officer as second deputy chief was a specific choice. Sizer said that when Baiden announced her retirement, the board began looking for a candidate who not only had operational knowledge, but also administrative knowledge.

“I think in this case here with the two deputy chiefs that are quite capable, we'll be able to split those duties and then they will cross over and learn as we go forward,” said Sizer. 

He said that Hiltz is well versed in “evidence-based data and evidential policing” which will complement the police service. 

“It just gives us that extra ability to look at things through a different lens, and follow up on different stats in going forward.”

After taking part in the swearing-in ceremony, Chief Paul Pederson told Sudbury.com the benefits to having two deputies is that they can be “interchangeable.”

“One can focus on administrative work, and the other can focus on operational work,” he said. “And then on any given day, they can cross over and develop and at the end of the day, that's what it's about. It's about developing an organization to take over when I leave.”

After remarks from Sizer and Pederson, as well as Deputy Chief Sara Cunningham, Hiltz’s counterpart and host of the ceremony, Hiltz was sworn in by Justice Karen Lische. 

Hiltz held the bible while reading from her oath of office, and signed the document alongside Lische when she finished. 

As well as local dignitaries, Hiltz’s family was in attendance, including her two children, her husband — a member of the Peel Regional Police — and her father, who was a member of the RCMP. 

She told Sudbury.com she was “born into this.”

She said that police work is a calling, and that she knew from a young age that it was to be her life’s work. 

And while Brampton-Mississauga, where Hiltz formerly served, is considered a big city —  certainly bigger than Sudbury — Hiltz said that the city’s origins are small and tight-knit, and she hopes to find that again here in the North. 

“I grew up in Brampton, and Brampton in the late ’70s was a small town, not what it is today. So I am familiar with a small town mentality,” Hiltz said. “And I find that it feels like home a little bit here. I grew up in this kind of community and I really feel that close-knit community here. And I can tell you that my family and I have enjoyed a very warm welcome, for which we're very grateful.” 

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter at Sudbury.com.