Top cop sets up shop

Mark Saunders sworn in as Toronto's new police chief

Toronto’s new chief of police, Mark Saunders, was sworn in at a change-of-command ceremony in the lobby of police headquarters today. 

“We have seen recently events involving policing in other countries that have caused a great anger and damage,” said Saunders from the podium. “If we take comfort because we believe it cannot happen here, we have missed the point.”

Saunders acknowledged the need to improve police-community relations and “minimize the social cost of investigative efforts” while at the same time equipping police to meet “the escalating nature of cybercrime and the fundamental challenges presented by new technology, highly mobile populations, the relaxation of many border points, radicalization, and terrorism.”

Addressing the challenges to policing in the city, police board chair Alok Mukherjee said, “There is no room or tolerance for discrimination based on all the grounds protected under the Human Rights Code, and there is full respect for everyone’s Charter and civil rights,” to which the crowd hesitantly and quietly applauded. 

Mayor John Tory praised outgoing chief Bill Blair and expressed confidence in Saunders. “An important part of his success will come with a reduction in the number of people who feel themselves isolated or marginalized in our city.”

Blair reminded Saunders to look up at the people watching from the balconies above: “Mark, these are your people they are the means by which you will serve the people of Toronto and get an important job done. Take care of them, may godspeed.”

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