One of Winnipeg’s top police officers is retiring after 35 years with the force.
Deputy Chief Dave Thorne is calling it a career.
Looking back on his time with the force, Thorne credits playing sports with shaping who he is today.
“It taught me many things that stick with me even today about teamwork. Knowing your role, performing your role, relying on each other. The structure of a football team is exactly like the structure of the police service.”
Thorne says a lot has changed in his time on the force, from the weapons to the way officers interact with the community, but one of the biggest changes is the accountability of officers.
“Back in 1981, the police weren’t challenged about actions that our front-line people did. There were things we did, actions that we took, decisions that we made. Sometimes the executive decisions made, there was very little accountability at the time.”
Thorne says he’s grateful to all those who helped him get to where he is today. That includes retiring chief Devon Clunis, who beat Thorne for the top job but kept their relationship friendly.
“We have a very unique relationship. We were the two finalists, and that creates a special dynamic when you’re competing against each other. Normally, somebody that was successful would get rid of the competition, but he didn’t do that. He had an open mind, we talked, and I’ve been very fortunate to have been able to help him.”
But Thorne admits there are things he has seen in his time that still bother him to this day, including one particularly rough day while he worked with the Child Abuse Unit.
“My wife and I, we suffered a loss, and there was a time when I had two autopsies in one day for children. That was the day I realized I had to get out of that. Luckily, I had the self-awareness and had bosses that supported me.”
Thorne’s last day in office is June 24. He will then take a month off before starting his second career as a senior manager at MNP, an accounting and consulting firm.