Aquilini hires former VPD chief Chu

Jim Chu will be point person in developer's First Nations files

So Jim Chu is not going into politics, after all.

At least for now.

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After speculation that Chu would trade in his duties as the city’s police chief for a run in this fall’s federal election, the 55-year-old retired leader of the Vancouver Police Department has taken a job in the business world.

Aquilini Investment Group announced in a press release Friday that Chu, who relinquished his duties as chief in May to Adam Palmer, has joined the company as vice-president of special projects and partnerships.

In his new role, the 36-year veteran of the VPD, who holds a bachelor of business administration degree from Simon Fraser University and an MBA from the University of B.C., will be a point person for the company’s developments related to First Nations.

“His proven leadership, experience, prominence in the community and business acumen make him an ideal candidate for the job,” said David Negrin, president of Aquilini Development and Construction Inc. Negrin was unavailable for an interview Friday.

Chu’s connection to First Nations is an area he continued to develop in his seven-and-a-half year run as police chief. In one of his last send-offs as chief, Chu was feted in May with words, songs and dance in a ceremony at the Aboriginal Friendship Centre. Chinese and aboriginal leaders honoured Chu, saying his leadership helped improve relations with their communities and make the city a safer place.

In an interview with the Courier at the ceremony, Jerry Adams, a longtime Vancouver aboriginal leader who was a member of the police board that promoted Chu to chief in 2007, said he was “very fond of what chief Chu did for our aboriginal community.”

He noted Chu’s help to develop an after-hours program for aboriginal youth, create the Sisterwatch program in the Downtown Eastside to reduce violence against women, his continued support of the aboriginal cadet program, his public luncheons at the Carnegie Centre and being the first chief in the VPD’s history to participate in the annual Women’s Memorial March.

Adams said he knew the police board made the right decision to hire Chu when one of his first overtures to the aboriginal community was to participate in a sweat lodge ceremony. It showed his commitment to improve relations between police and the aboriginal community, a relationship that has had its historical challenges, he said.

“So that was a real good beginning for us,” Adams said.

The Courier made a request via the Aquilini Group to speak to Chu but he wasn’t immediately available. Chu, a longtime hockey fan and recreational hockey player, joins a company that owns the Vancouver Canucks.

Update: The Courier has since conducted an interview with Chu. Read here

mhowell@vancourier.com

@Howellings

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