Minutes before signing off on his last shift, Deputy Chief Rick Stubbings was at his desk signing documents and working as usual.
“I still feel engaged and as committed as the first day I joined the Service and this is how I wanted to leave,” he said on June 30.
Chief Mark Saunders joined the Toronto Police Service a few months after Stubbings and both assigned to 11 Division.
“Rick makes people feel very comfortable,” said Saunders. “On my first day on the job, I felt like I was a member of the team. Anyone that has worked with him understands that he makes everyone feel like they are equally important and that goes for both uniformed and civilian members. That’s a fantastic quality to have because it is necessary to be an effective leader in today’s environment.”
Stubbings joined the Service in 1982 after serving as a cadet and spent seven years at 11 Division.
Stubbings said the high points of his career were the Chief asking him to be Deputy Chief and the combined seven years he spent with the Emergency Task Force (ETF).
“When the Chief asks you to do something like that, it’s quite an honour,” he said. “Even back in those days when I was an ETF member, de-escalation was so important and keeping our frontline officers, members of the community and even the persons we were dealing with safe. That was an extraordinary job.”
Stubbings is leaving as Deputy Chief of the Operational Support Command.
“He brought so much value to our organization,” said Chief Mark Saunders. “That command is one of the toughest to look after, so I wanted to make sure that I had the best candidate.”
I love the job and the people I have met along the line, but there comes a point when you have to know when to pass the torch. That time has come for me. It was a hard decision to leave, but it’s the right one
For his part, Stubbings will spend more time with his family. His wife of 33 years, Heidi, their son, Evan, who works with the Service, and the family dog, Cassie, were by his side as he was piped out of headquarters.
“This is an exciting day, but I am about to embark on a new chapter that I am looking forward to,” said Stubbings.
The family is relocating to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
“For me, that’s kind of like the Florida of Canada and we are looking forward to living there and doing some travelling,” he said, noting his son has been accepted to the London School of Economics, where they will visit him. “The good thing about retirement is not having a schedule and enjoying the normal passions.”
An avid car enthusiast, Stubbings also plans to become involved in volunteer activities in his new community.
Doing work related to policing isn’t on his radar.
“If opportunities come, you have to consider them,” he said. “I love the job and the people I have met along the line, but there comes a point when you have to know when to pass the torch. That time has come for me. It was a hard decision to leave, but it’s the right one.”