When Gord Cobey began his bachelor’s degree at McMaster University, he already had an idea of the career he wanted to pursue.

“I applied to the RCMP a few weeks after starting university and was hired shortly after I completed my degree three years later,” he remembers. “Policing was something I was interested in from a very young age”.

As a youth, many of Cobey’s football and hockey coaches were police officers and he liked the idea of “engaging in an interesting and meaningful career with many opportunities to serve and support the community.”

Upon graduating from the RCMP training academy in 1994, Cobey requested a remote posting in northern Manitoba. He was sent to Gods Lake Narrows, a fly-in community 550 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.Behind the Badge Chief Cobey

Having grown up in eastern Ontario, Cobey had never lived or travelled extensively outside of his home province.  “I thought it would be interesting and a great opportunity to learn.” In fact, the first time he was ever on a plane was when the RCMP flew him to his first posting.

In his time in northern Manitoba, Cobey learned lessons that have served him well throughout his policing career. “When you’re working in very remote communities, or any community, it is important that you build relationships with community members. The greatest lesson I learned was the importance of being kind and treating people with respect.”

After seven years in Manitoba, Cobey and his wife – who were high school sweethearts -- moved their family back to Ontario, settling in Guelph where his wife had attended university. They have three adult children. Cobey continued to work for the RCMP until early 2019, when he was hired to replace retiring Guelph Police Chief Jeff DeRuyter.

“In speaking with former chiefs, I knew this organization was full of truly spectacular people and it was a chance to serve the community in which we had lived for nearly 20 years and where my kids had grown up,” Cobey explains. “It was an opportunity I just couldn’t resist.”

Three years into his tenure with the Guelph Police Service, Cobey has lofty goals.

“I want our community to be the healthiest, safest community in the province,” says Cobey. “I want our Service to lead by example when it comes to supporting our community and our members. We exist to serve the community, but we can’t do that if we don’t have healthy, resilient members.”

That means having supports in place.  But it also means ensuring the Service has adequate resources to meet the needs of a rapidly-growing community.

“We are one of the fastest-growing communities in the country and we need to constantly keep growing and evolving to give the community the service they want and deserve.”

So what does the chief do when he’s not at work?

“I enjoy being physically active and spending time with family. I also spend a lot of time thinking about work,” Cobey laughs. “In this role, it’s hard to compartmentalize your work and home life because they’re so intertwined.”  But, looking back, Cobey says: “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”


Behind the Badge is a regular series of profiles of Guelph Police Service members.