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Ottawa police name new co-chair of GLBT liaison committee

John McGetrick says he wants to break down barriers between police and queer community

From left to right: police vice-chair Shaun Brabazon; Chief Charles Bordeleau; police co-chair John McGetrick; community co-chair Gary Leger and community vice-chair Todd Lagrois. Credit: Adrienne Ascah

Inspector John McGetrick brings 27 years of policing experience and an interest in marginalized communities to his new role as co-chair of the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) GLBT liaison committee.

Chairing his first meeting on April 14, McGetrick was enthusiastic but humble.

“I’m still new to this committee, so be patient, please,” McGetrick said as he began the meeting. “I’m very happy to have the opportunity to work for the committee, and I'm really looking forward to accomplishing lots over the next few years.”

Police Chief Charles Bordeleau stopped by to address the committee briefly and to offer his congratulations.

“You’ll be an outstanding leader representing our police service at the executive committee,” Bordeleau said. “I look forward to the work under your leadership.”

The committee has been without a police co-chair since Inspector Joan McKenna stepped down in January, so it’s great to have McGetrick on board, Gary Leger, the community co-chair, told Xtra.

“We were all getting anxious, but we knew the process that was involved in order to select the right candidate, so I was confident that they would make their selection,” he says. “I’m actually glad that it’s John. He brings a lot of experience to the table, and he’s not afraid to take on a lot of challenges and responsibilities.”

“I think it was spending all those years working on the violence-against-women community,” McGetrick told Xtra when asked why he wanted to be police co-chair. “I think it’s important to always make a difference, and I think there’s lots of opportunity for that here.”

Having worked extensively in domestic violence and the sexual assault and child abuse unit, McGetrick says he’s sensitive to the needs of marginalized communities.

“Domestic violence and sexual violence are very under-reported and even more so from a GLBT perspective,” he says. “You’re dealing with marginalized people and trying to get some outreach going and hopefully make some improvements.”

In his position as police co-chair, McGetrick says, he wants to break down any barriers, particularly with youth, and build on the committee’s past successes.

“It’s the commitment and the passion — you can see that people are here because they care and they want to make a difference,” he says.