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Police Board Announces They Won’t Renew Bill Blair’s Contract

The Toronto police chief's tenure will come to an end next April.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair.

The Toronto Police Services Board today announced that it will not be renewing Police Chief Bill Blair’s contract, which expires next year. Blair’s tenure began in 2005, and has been marked by a number of controversies, including the behaviour of his officers during the 2010 G20 summit and the shooting death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim last summer. He has, by contrast, also been widely viewed as a more engaged and more community-oriented chief than his predecessor, Julian Fantino, and praised in many quarters for his calm handling of the ongoing investigation into Mayor Rob Ford.

In its statement, the board did not confirm whether Blair had actually been seeking another term—he had until a few days ago to express any interest in continuing in the post. A few minutes after the statement was released, however, Blair said, through a spokesperson: “I want to thank the board for their consideration,” which does seem to indicate that he was seeking another term.

The full text of the statement from the Toronto Police Services Board:

July 30, 2014

Earlier, the Board had announced that Chief William Blair would convey his intention regarding the renewal of his appointment to the Board by July 25, 2014 and that the Board would make a public statement as soon as it had something substantive to say, recognizing the public interest in this matter.

After considerable discussion related to the Toronto Police Service’s continuing need for organizational renewal the Board has decided not to renew the employment agreement of Chief Blair. Chief Blair will complete his term of office on April 25, 2015.

Chief Blair has had a long and distinguished policing career with the Toronto Police Service. He is widely viewed as a champion of community policing and a leader in law enforcement around the world.

He has demonstrated his commitment to issues of human rights, diversity and integrity, among many others, and has served Toronto admirably and tirelessly.

There will be an opportunity in the months to come to offer Chief Blair a fitting tribute for his years of dedicated and honourable service to our community. At this time, on behalf of all Torontonians, the Board extends to Chief Blair our sincere gratitude for his outstanding record of public service and inspiring leadership.

The Board will now begin to take the necessary steps as we embark on the open search for the next Chief of Police for the City of Toronto.

Torontonians will be kept informed as those steps are finalized. Today is a day to say “thank you” to Chief Blair.

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