'It doesn't get any better than this,' Cook says
Paul Cook speaks to the audience after being sworn in as North Bay's new police chief. Many people were on hand Friday to watch the new North Bay police chief being sworn in. But Paul Cook said he focused on the one person who was not.
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Justice Roland Harris, a former North Bay Crown attorney, swore in Paul Cook as chief and Al Williams as deputy chief of the North Bay police service.
Paul Cook speaks to the audience after being sworn in as North Bay's new police chief.
Many people were on hand Friday to watch the new North Bay police chief being sworn in.
But Paul Cook said he focused on the one person who was not.
“I was thinking about how thrilled my mom would be if she was here today. I know she is looking down upon me and smiling,” Cook said.
He was also thinking of family and friends who were there to support him.
"I was thinking of our police service and the direction were going to head in the next few years, I was thinking of Chief Berrigan and everything he has meant to my policing career," Cook said.
"It was unbelievable. My thoughts were certainly racing, and it’s a thrilling day and it doesn’t get any better than this.”
Develop my skills
Cook, the only officer in the North Bay Police Service to have trained at the FBI Academy, told BayToday he never thought he would hold the post of chief.
“My first day on the job, just like any rookie, just excited about going out and capturing bad guys and probably didn’t know much about what I was supposed to be doing," Cook said.
"But certainly with the help of good coach officers and good training officers I developed my skills and eventually became fairly proficient in the investigation end of things, but never in my wildest dreams did I think today was going to come.”
Mentor and friend
Cook also acknowledged former police chief Berrigan’s contribution during his rise to top cop.
“George Berrigan without a doubt one of the finest police chiefs in the province of Ontario. I’m very proud to have mentored under him," Cook said.
"He was my boss long before he was the chief and I was the deputy I worked with him in criminal investigations he supervised me there like I said in my speech a cop’s cop and somebody I am proud to call mentor and friend.”
Praise for Cook was extended from North Bay Police Services Board chair William Ferguson, Mayor Vic Fedeli and Berrigan, to name a few.
Even Justice Roland Harris, a former North Bay Crown attorney, who swore in Cook and Deputy Chief Alan Williams, felt compelled to reflect fondley about his involvement with both Berrigan and Cook.
Harris regaled the crowd with a story about Cook's driving prowess during a mid-winter investigation that took the two of them to the American and Canadian midwest.
Straight to work
Although he's in the midst of celebration, Cook hasn’t taken his eye off the ball; it will be straight to work come Monday.
Cook admits the face of policing is changing daily.
But he's anxious to take on the short term adversities faced by the North Bay Police Service, as well as develop a strategy for the long term challenges.
“We will be making change. Obviously there will be some change directly related to the promotions that took place here today. I want to get together with command staff and see where we go from here there are a number of short term challenges that we have some long term challenges," Cook said.
"We do have a very sound strategic plan and business plan that has goals and objectives set for us to help with the direction of the police service but that being said Monday will be a big day with meetings trying to map out the short term goals.”
Owe it to the community
Not only does Cook have a direction for the day to day operations, he also would like to see his officers become more involved with the community.
He credits Berrigan with bringing North Bay to the forefront in Ontario for community based policing.
But Cook would like to see his officers take up a cause, such as coaching minor sports or leading fundraising campaigns.
“We have over 40 protocols with various community groups with another half a dozen that are works in progress," Cook said.
"As I said in my speech I think it is incumbent on every one of our members to become involved in a service club, to participate in a fundraising initiative, and coach youth sports. Police officers are held in high regard in the community and I think we owe it to the community to partner up with them as much as possible.”