The Toronto Police Services Board is looking for the city's next top cop—and they want the public's help in their search.
On election night, Toronto showed that it is ready for a fresh start. But a new mayor is not the only major change coming to the city—by February, Toronto will have a new chief of police, too.
The Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB)—the seven-member civilian body responsible for hiring the city’s next top cop—is currently seeking out potential candidates. The person they choose could alter significantly the way policing is done in Toronto.
“This is a time for change,” says TPSB chair Alok Mukherjee, “in the way we provide services, and in the way we run this organization.”
That desire for change informed the board’s decision in June to reject current Chief Bill Blair’s request for a two-year contract extension. The TPSB cited the need for “organizational renewal” in rebuffing Blair, who has held his position for nearly 10 years—although Mukherjee says the decision is “absolutely no reflection on the leadership that Chief Blair has provided.”
But the Toronto Police Service has received a great deal of criticism in recent years—including on the subjects of police carding, use of force, and how officers deal with emotionally disturbed people—which the board is hoping to overcome with a new chief at the helm.
Mukherjee says the TPSB is also looking for someone with strong financial management skills, owing to the nearly $1-billion police budget, which constitutes the City’s biggest annual expense.
“Between carding, mental health, organizational change, financial cost,” he says, “the new chief will have to come in and figure out how he or she is going to manage those.”
Those issues and more will be on the table at a series of public consultations happening this week and next across the city. The board’s aim is to get the public’s input on how the selection process should run. Residents can also share their views on the subject in an online survey available on the TPSB website.
Once the consultations are complete and the survey results tallied, the board will create a shortlist of candidates, before making its final decision by January or February 2015.
Public consultations will take place at:
55 John Street
Wednesday, October 29
Etobicoke Civic Centre
399 The West Mall
Meeting rooms 1, 2, and 3
Thursday, October 30
North York Civic Centre
5100 Yonge Street
Monday, November 3
Toronto Police Headquarters (youth consultation only)
40 College Street
Thursday, November 6