Montreal police upper level ranks move towards "historic" gender parity

Montreal's interim police chief has recruited from the outside and also appointed two women to the senior ranks who are expected to help in the ongoing restructuring of the force.

Martin Prud'homme has announced that ex-RCMP officer Line Carbonneau will head up internal affairs, the focus of a damning report showing division and conflict within the police department.

Carbonneau is a retired deputy commissioner from the RCMP with 37 years experience.

The other outside appointment is Sylvain Caron, a former SQ assistant director who will now head up criminal investigations.

Simonetta Barth, the first woman to be assistant director of the Montreal police force, will now oversee corporate affairs. 

Dominic Harvey was promoted from assistant director of the unit responsible for major public events and protests to deputy director for the same unit.

Plateau city councillor and chairman of the city's public security commission Alex Norris said appointing people from the outside is a significant move.

"It's one likely to unite the police force and put an end to the rivalries," Norris told CJAD 800 News.

Norris said naming two women to the upper ranks is also a good sign.

"Well, it really is an historic moment for the SPVM. It's the first time we've had gender parity at this very senior rank, the second most senior rank in the force," said Norris.

"Bringing in outsiders and bringing in women, that really represents a big shakeup for the SPVM and one that I think is needed."

The four new deputy directors start work next Monday.