The man given much of the credit for reducing Abbotsford’s crime rate and getting rid of its “murder capital” title was honoured on Tuesday.
Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich was honoured for 30 years of policing excellence with an Exemplary Service Medal, presented to him by Mayor Bruce Banman at the monthly meeting of the Abbotsford Police Board.
Rich was recruited from the Vancouver Police Department in July of 2008, to take the chief’s position in Abbotsford.
“It was a sad day for Vancouver, and a great day for us,” said Banman.
Rich started his policing career in July 1980 with the VPD, and rose to the position of deputy chief constable of the operations division, which is responsible for patrol, traffic, community policing and property crime investigations.
The focus of Rich’s leadership is the idea that a police department, working in partnership with the community, can dramatically reduce crime and increase safety.
Rich was quick to share the credit for a rapid drop in crime in the city, which is down 30 per cent under his leadership.
He said he has great deputy chiefs, and “300 people who are kicking butt.
“The numbers don’t lie – they are reducing crime in this community, and it’s fun to watch them go,” said Rich of his staff.
The chief added he is “on the sidelines, clapping a lot.”
Rich has a law degree, and in 2008 was invested as a Member of the Order of Merit for Police Forces in Canada.
The Police Exemplary Service Medal recognizes police officers who have served in an exemplary manner, characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency.
Recipients must have completed 20 years of full-time service with one or more recognized Canadian police forces.
Rich is married with two adult children, one of whom is an officer with the VPD.