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First ever officer of Sri Lankan background to serve in the top cop role in North America.

Peel Region hired a cop’s cop as its new chief of police Friday.

And in the process, history was also made.

When Halton Regional Police Deputy Chief Nishan Duraiappah is sworn in Oct. 1, he will become the first South Asian police chief in Ontario’s history, as well as the first ever officer of Sri Lankan background to serve in the top cop role in North America.

While his ancestry is a side story to his exemplary policing career, the promotion is historic and a great Canadian success story for a kid who came to Canada as a child and grew up in Milton dreaming of becoming a police officer.

A veteran of 25 years, known as Nish, has been a deputy chief in Halton since 2015 and was in every conversation about potential chiefs around Canada.

“Deputy Chief Duraiappah represents the next generation of leadership for the police service,” said Nando Iannicca, chair of the Peel Police Services Board. “The community we all serve expects nothing less than the highest degree of duty and integrity – the very qualities we saw in Deputy Chief Duraiappah during the hiring process.”

He is a police officer who has worked in every role possible. His credentials are impeccable. And he is highly respected among those who work with him or have served with him.

“I am extremely proud of Nish,” said Halton Chief Steve Tanner.

On one hand, he admits, he’s losing a top cop in his command who he relies on. But on the other hand he’s thrilled his deputy was chosen for the prestigious job in Peel.

“I am so proud of his career and accomplishments and now taking on this very important role as Peel’s chief of police,” said Tanner. “Nish is an experienced senior leader who will do an incredible job.”

The mayors of Brampton and Mississauga are also excited.

Calling “Nish was a star in Halton” who “was ahead of the curve on public safety initiatives,” Brampton’s Chief Magistrate Patrick Brown said: “I have long advocated for the hiring of a chief with experience and fresh perspective on how best to handle the growing number of 911 calls that are mental health related and gun violence in Peel Region. On these issues and many others, I have the utmost confidence Deputy Chief Duraiappah is going to do an exceptional job for Brampton and Peel Region as our new Chief.”

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she is “thrilled” by the news.

“Nish brings a wealth of experience that will help modernize PRP and ensure that Mississauga remains one of the safest cities in Canada,” she said.

Both mayors also lauded acting Chief Chris McCord who held down the fort with distinction and energy following the retirement of Chief Jennifer Evans. The classy McCord has agreed to stay on as deputy and help out the new chief.

They have worked together before since Duraiappah has worked with Peel in undercover operations and joint projects.

In a few weeks he will be adding Peel Police chief to that resume.



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