Inducted June 2019
Nominated by Laura Huey, Canadian Society of Evidence-Based Policing and the University of Western Ontario
Andrew Fletcher is Chief of Police of the South Simcoe Police Service in Ontario Canada, where he has served since 2015. Chief Fletcher began his policing career in 1984 with the Halton Regional Police Service and has served in a broad range of operations, management, and administrative roles. In 2007 Fletcher was promoted to Deputy Chief of Halton, overseeing both operations and administration. In 2015 he joined the South Simcoe Police as Deputy Chief and was promoted to Chief in 2017. Chief Fletcher serves as one of four Vice Presidents with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), is the Chair of the Executive Committee for the OACP Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, is Co-Chair of the OACP Community Safety and Crime Prevention Committee, and Co-Chair of the Simcoe County Local Immigration Partnership Council. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Governor General of Canada Order of Merit of the Police Forces.
Evidence-Based Research and Practice:
Chief Fletcher is recognized for his commitment to advancing evidence-based policing in the South Simcoe Police Service (SSPS) and his leadership in advancing evidence-based policing in Ontario. In her nomination of Chief Fletcher, Professor Laura Huey, director of the Canadian Society of Evidence-Based Policing (CAN-SEBP), writes that Chief Fletcher has been a “pivotal figure” in evidence-based policing in both SSPS and Ontario. Chief Fletcher initiated the evaluation of SSPS’s mental health crisis response team (MHCRT) program, an initiative designed to improve the police agency’s response to those in crisis. He has played a central role in ways to effectively evaluate the program, providing access to staff and officers, and ensuring that high-quality data could be collected. Under his leadership, the SSPS became one of four partners in the LEADS Agencies Canada partnership, a program similar to the National Institute of Justice LEADS initiative. This included committing his agency to assessments of evidence-based policing, specialized training, and designing research studies to test various programs and interventions in policing. Chief Fletcher is currently working on developing core skills within his leadership team to more effectively use evidence-based approaches in their daily work, and recently hosted a workshop on “Evidence-Based Policing for Police Leaders.”
Due to his efforts and leadership in the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), the OACP has become a full partner in CAN-SEBP. Chief Fletcher (in collaboration with Chief Pederson of the Greater Sudbury Police Service) has developed a major research effort examining the potential of supervised injection sites to produce community safety and well-being. He has also promoted evidence-based policing through social networks of the organization, supporting and fostering collaborations with other Ontario police agencies, and also challenging programs that lack empirical support for their effectiveness.
Professor Craig Bennell, professor of psychology at Carleton University, states Chief Fletcher’s involvement in the MHCRT evaluation is significant because he “is not demonstrating that the program does have value; rather, he is committed to objectively determining (through research) whether the program allows the South Simcoe Police Service and its partners to provide the highest quality of service to those in his community who are experiencing serious crises (and, if so, what the important underlying mechanisms are that allows MHCRT to be successful). This, to me, reflects the true spirit of evidence-based policing.” He notes, “I think that ‘innovative,’ ‘relentless,’ and ‘champion’ are three words that describe Chief Fletcher perfectly.”
Statement from Inductee:
Although the term “Evidence based Policing” is still quite new, it is something that I have embraced throughout my career without knowing the formal science behind it. As Police officers we continually look for “evidence” to support our investigations or court proceedings, but as I moved through leadership roles I started to appreciate the need for research to help guide policy and practice within our organizations.
I believe it is our role as police leaders to challenge programs that lack a solid empirical base and embed research early on when developing new programs or initiatives, and to not just offer blanket support because something “sounds good” or is “based on experience”.
Although the number of “pracademics” are growing in policing, I truly value the role of research professionals and recognize the importance of engaging with them to help guide much needed research and analysis of existing or new programs. When police employees have personal ownership and involvement in studies, experiments, and assessments, it not only improves their knowledge, skills and abilities but ultimately can transform the culture of our organizations.
I have dedicated my career to making a difference and have had the pleasure of working with a number of researchers and professionals who are committed to the pursuit of EBP. Their efforts and dedication to their specialty has inspired me to pursue evidence-based policing with a goal of improving police efficiency and advancing public safety.
I am truly humbled to receive this honor, and recognize that it would not have been possible without the mentoring from some very dedicated professionals like Laura Huey, Craig Bennell, and Hugh Russell, all who have taught me so much over the years. It would also not be possible without the tremendous support and hard work of the members of my team at the South Simcoe Police Service and the amazing community that we serve.