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UofGH alumnus Mark Mitchell named Chief of Police for the City of Kawartha Lakes

Mark Mitchell poses

University of Guelph-Humber alumnus Mark Mitchell has recently been named the new Chief of Police for the City of Kawartha Lakes.

His appointment marks the first time in 60 years that the city’s police services board has promoted someone from within the Kawartha Lakes Police Service (formerly Lindsay Police) as chief. Chief Mitchell assumes his new role on Aug. 31.

“It’s quite an honour for me,” Chief Mitchell said. “The support that I had both within the organization and from the community at large has been quite overwhelming. With that, I feel we can accomplish some good things for the community.”

Chief Mitchell graduated from the University of Guelph-Humber Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree in Justice and Public Safety program in 2014 while balancing his responsibilities as a frontline police officer.

The former UofGH student said the part-time program at UofGH exceeded his expectations. The hybrid format–which he chose–combined online learning with weekend classes. The flexibility allowed him to work full-time and earn a Bachelor of Applied Arts. Furthermore, he received credit for his work experience.

“The hybrid format had both the long-distance learning component as well as intensive weekends in class,” Chief Mitchell said. “I really appreciated the opportunity to sit down in a classroom setting with my classmates and discuss the topics we were studying. That really contributed to my educational experience. The part-time degree was time well invested.”

Top cop’s illustrious career

Chief Mitchell began his career as a law enforcement officer in 1988 with the Peel Regional Police and steadily climbed the ranks. He has been with the Kawartha Lakes Police Service for the past 10 years.

In 2009, the UofGH alumnus was seconded to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP) International Peace Operations branch. As part of that stint, he travelled to Kandahar in Afghanistan and helped train police officers there.

Chief Mitchell received the Canadian Police Commander’s Citation for Exemplary Service for his work in Kandahar. The former University of Guelph-Humber student is also the recipient of the Police Exemplary Service medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

No more regrets

“Moving to Kawartha Lakes from a large urban setting was a bit of an adjustment for me initially,” Chief Mitchell said. “I made the decision to forgo post-secondary education because I was fortunate to have this career option at a young age. One regret I always had was of not completing a post-secondary study.”

Chief Mitchell was encouraged to enroll in the Justice Studies program by the force’s outgoing Chief John Hagarty, a UofGH alumnus as well. Upon his return from Afghanistan, Chief Mitchell set his sights on taking over as the police chief and that led to the rekindling of his desire to finish post-secondary education, he explained.

“I had the benefit of listening to Chief’s (Hagarty) experiences and that was a point of reference for me,” Chief Mitchell said. “The part-time degree program is designed to serve serving officers and that was a plus.”