Former Hamilton police chief dies

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Published July 20, 2021 at 3:37 am

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Brian Mullan, who was Hamilton’s police chief for six years in the 2000s, has died.

Hamilton Police Service announced Mullan’s death on their Twitter account late on Monday night (July 19). The cause of death was not given, but HPS said that Mullan, who was in his late 60s, died while surrounded by loved ones.

Mullan served as the city’s top officer from 2003 to ’09. He spent his entire 35-year career as a police officer with HPS after joining in 1974.

As chief, one of his biggest accomplishments was launching a multi-pronged assault on the crack cocaine epidemic in the city. The strategy included stronger enforcement, the creation of a special court and improved liaising with social services. Mullan also stationed more officers downtown, while adding bike and foot patrols.

Under his command, there was also an effort to hire more racialized officers. Mullan was the Founder of the Hamilton Employment Equity Network, according to his bio on the Mohawk College website.

A 2009 article in the Hamilton Spectator published at the time of Mullan’s retirement detailed two major crises under his command.

In 2003, Michael Dixon, a Hamilton man who is Black, was arrested at gunpoint by three officers for a crime that he did not commit. There was a lengthy investigation. Eight years later, a judge awarded Dixon $46,000.

There was also an incident during Mullan’s reign where sexual harassment charges against a male HPS officer, brought forth by 11 female offiicers and a civilian employee, were tossed by a police tribunal because they had not been filed on time.

Prior to becoming Hamilton’s police chief, Mullan earned the Ontario Police Exemplary Service Medal. In 2007, he was appointed to the Order of Merit for Police Services.

Following his retirement from policing, Mullan served on the Parole Board of Canada and and worked as as a citizen representative on the Ontario Attorney General’s Judicial Appointment Advisory Committee.

Mohawk College in Hamilton also recognized him with its Alumni of Distinction award. Mullan earned a diploma in business administration and a certificate in police science from Mohawk, and also completed training at FBI national academy in Quantico, Va.

He also held high-ranking positions with the Hamilton Community Care Access Centre,  the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, the Hamilton-Wentworth District Health Council, and the Ancaster Lions Club. 

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