SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — “See this?” requested Dave Poirier as he pulled a teddy bear from one among a number of crowded containers within the trunk of his automotive.
The toy was kitted-out with a police uniform and a proud little “Poirier” nametag on its vest.
The 45-year-veteran police officer and Summerside’s now former police chief gave an amused smile as he put his knitted doppelganger – amongst so many different awards, honours and mementos collected by means of a lifetime of public service – again into the transferring crate.
Poirier’s retirement from the Summerside Police Service turned official as of the top of shift Friday, Oct. 7. The place of town’s prime cop has already been stuffed by long-time deputy chief, now formally chief, Sinclair Walker, himself a 42-year-veteran.
SaltWire Community spoke with Poirier on Oct. 5, as he was clearing out his workplace.
“Friday goes to be a surreal day for me,” mentioned Poirier. “My spouse (Ruby) and I’ve been interested by this for a couple of months and we thought it was time – and positively this little hiccup with my leg made the choice simpler, clearly.”
That “little hiccup” Poirier was referring to was the amputation of his left leg beneath the knee.
Somewhat greater than a 12 months in the past, Poirier was rushed to hospital after collapsing at dwelling. He was identified with a life-threatening an infection in his foot, which resulted in two amputations to finally clear up fully.
Within the 12 months since, he has regained a few of his mobility by means of the usage of a prosthesis and a cane, and he has been again on the job for a number of months. However these well being challenges have undoubtedly performed into his determination to step again and pursue extra of his private pursuits.
“It actually tipped the scales. I’ve to take care of my well being and spend time with my household,” mentioned Poirier.
He credit all of the assist he has obtained from his pals, household and neighborhood over the previous 12 months as the rationale he’s nonetheless alive and capable of retire on his phrases.
“If it wasn’t for the great assist from household and pals and my spouse, she was my rock the entire time. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have survived.,” he mentioned. “In each job, there’s ups and downs and I’ve had my share, positive. The most important one is clearly this leg of mine – however I’m on the mend, so I gotta maintain transferring.”
He isn’t precisely positive what’s subsequent for him. He plans to take a break for some time and decompress earlier than taking up one thing new.
Summerside Mayor Basil Stewart has recognized and labored with Poirier for a very long time. Stewart was additionally a police officer in Summerside – from 1971 to 1984 – earlier than being elected as mayor in 1985.
“Chief Poirier’s management, imaginative and prescient and fervour for policing have been important to the expansion and security of our metropolis,” mentioned Stewart. “He’s a extremely embellished police chief of whom our metropolis has been extraordinarily fortunate to have his companies and contributions over the previous 45 years. Thanks, Chief Poirier,” mentioned Stewart.
Chief Walker’s affiliation together with his predecessor additionally goes again a great distance, as Poirier was his coaching officer when the latter was a brand new recruit and the 2 males have labored collectively ever since.
Walker mentioned Poirier’s supportive nature, calm manner and common sense method will likely be tremendously missed by the division.
“He actually cared in regards to the individuals he served, he actually actually did. It’s a tough day to see him go,” mentioned Walker.
He wished his pal luck with no matter comes subsequent for him.
When he was younger, Poirier was not fairly positive what he needed to do together with his life, although he mentioned he at all times had a deep respect for cops. He grew up on a dairy farm in Muddy Creek, P.E.I., simply west of town, an expertise that taught him loads of classes.
“You realized to do your share of the work on a farm. You didn’t complain. You probably did your work.”
After highschool, Poirier had stints working in building and even choosing tobacco in Canadian music icon Stompin’ Tom’s previous stompin’ grounds, Tillsonburg, Ont.
Ultimately, he enrolled on the Atlantic Police Academy and was employed in Summerside after commencement in 1978.
He served 10 years as a constable earlier than being promoted to sergeant, a rank he held till his promotion to chief in 2006.
Poirier has seen the Summerside Police Service evolve proper alongside the challenges it faces day-to-day.
When he entered the service, which was then a part of the previous City of Summerside, officers had been issued secondhand gun belts as a result of that’s all they had been afforded. These days, due to important investments by the neighborhood, he mentioned, the division is as well-equipped because it must be to serve taxpayers.
However, as at all times, there stay challenges.
Habit and all the things that goes with it’s a drawback locally. Police are additionally responding to increasingly psychological health-related requires assist.
Regardless of these ongoing challenges, Poirier mentioned, he has no qualms about passing on accountability.
“Chief Walker is effectively conscious of what’s occurring and he’s obtained a deal with on all this. He’s going to have some challenges like I did, however he’ll do effectively,” mentioned Poirier.
Legislation enforcement is a high-stress job and Poirier has navigated his justifiable share of tense conditions, even controversies. Nonetheless, he mentioned there was by no means a degree in his profession when he severely thought-about hanging up the uniform.
“There’s at all times these regrets, however they don’t stand out,” he mentioned. “I really feel proper now like time has wings. I can’t imagine it’s this time already. Positive, there’s regrets, however they’re not important sufficient to say since you recover from it, you repair the difficulty and you progress on.
“It’s been a great run.”
Colin MacLean is a reporter with the SaltWire Community in Prince Edward Island. He may be reached by e-mail at [email protected] and adopted on Twitter @JournalPMacLean.