Historicist: Get Draper!
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Historicist: Get Draper!

The scandal-plagued career of Toronto's "most incompetent and clownish" police chief.

Jack MacDonald being arrested at a Communist meeting at Queen’s Park, October 12, 1929. From the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 18363.

Chief Constable Dennis C. Draper was, in the estimation of long-time crime reporter Jocko Thomas, “the most incompetent and clownish chief Toronto ever had.” Whether it was harassing political activists, entrapping a hoodlum for an armed robbery—possibly so waiting officers could execute him in the act—or unilaterally dropping reckless driving charges against the well-connected son of a federal cabinet minister, Draper’s tempestuous time as head of the Toronto police, from 1928 to 1946, was marked by scandal.

Time and again municipal politicians demanded his resignation. But the police chief’s allies branded such criticisms as illegitimate political interference in policing, or as part of an organized conspiracy “to ‘get Draper’ by whatever means.” Enjoying public popularity by keeping crime low and calling on Conservative political connections, Draper proved impervious to criticism or consequence.

D.C. Draper assuming his duties as Chief Constable of the Toronto Police, May 1, 1928. From the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 13378.

In March 1928, Brigadier-General D.C. Draper was hired as Toronto’s new chief constable by the Board of Police Commissioners. Some in the city, including Mayor Sam McBride, who chaired the three-member police commission, wanted a career policeman promoted from within the ranks. Deputy Chief Robert Beatty was the leading candidate.

Others, wanting strict military discipline imposed on the force, contacted the defense department and were referred to Draper, then a businessman with the International Paper Company. Though he had no training or experience in policing, the Quebec native had a sterling service record in the First World War. And, as a one-time Conservative candidate for Parliament, Draper arrived with a character reference from a senator.

McBride was floored when his fellow commissioners, County Court Judge Emerson Coatsworth and Police Magistrate F.M. Morson, voted to select Draper. Calling it “a direct insult,” the mayor claimed he’d been inundated with complaints that an outsider, with no knowledge of police work or the city, had been appointed over a Toronto man. “Discipline is allright [sic] in its place, but we want a man who is familiar with police duties,” McBride explained. “I think it is a big mistake. I am helpless in the matter—the judges decided it for themselves.” Numerous city councillors and newspaper editors echoed the mayor’s disapproval, wryly noting that at 5’9″ the appointee didn’t actually meet the force’s minimum height requirement of 5’10”.

Chief D.C. Draper operating the police signal system, February 1930. From the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 19321.

Draper deserves credit for introducing or broadening the use of technological innovations like two-way communication between scout and patrol cars, and inter-station communications via teletype. He also made merit the sole basis of officer advancement, rather than seniority or fraternal connections. But, Thomas argued, resentment among the rank-and-file soon grew. Officers bristled at the militaristic fervour with which Draper disciplined officers for minor transgressions, like docking one patrolman ten days’ pay for stopping for coffee on a cold night. And officers didn’t appreciate his enthusiasm for joining them in field-work—insisting on being called to the scene of every murder—because he was thoroughly ignorant of police methods.

Draper, who favoured harsh punishment for criminals, once suggested that gamblers be lashed. Although he founded the Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Society, which found job placements for offenders, he also frequently opposed issuing taxi or restaurant licenses—both of which were under the purview of the police commission—to anyone with a criminal record. Draper’s “directness and bluntness…and [his] absence of diplomacy” caused rifts with those at City Hall, yet he showed a charitable nature during the Depression, handing out small sums to any out-of-work veteran who came by his office. “Chief Draper was,” Edward Butts argues in Running With Dillinger (Dundurn, 2008), “a man of great contrasts.”

Police breaking up the crowd at a Communist meeting at College Street and University Avenue, October 12, 1929. From the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 18377.

Deeply suspicious of anyone he perceived to be a Communist, Draper organized a billy club-wielding “Red Squad,” which regularly used force to break up political meetings. To give a typical example of Draper’s tactics, in mid-August 1929 a crowd of “ordinary and harmless, not remotely dangerous” men, women and children gathered at Queen’s Park in mid-August 1929 to hear a Communist Party speech. An “overpowering and shocking” number of policemen on horseback and on motorcycles stormed the scene. Yelling “Get back to Russia,” the officers indiscriminately kicked and beat members of the crowd with batons.

The Star urged Draper “to demobilize,” reminding the police chief “that the war is over and that he is back in Canada.” There was, however, no public outcry against Draper’s heavy-handedness towards leftists. Although the police commission supported Draper’s efforts to stifle freedom of speech in principle, Mayor William J. Stewart balked at the aggressive tactics he employed. As chairman of the police commission, Stewart moved that Draper give “orders to constables to restrain their use of batons,” but Draper flatly refused, and Stewart’s motion was defeated by his fellow commissioners.

Draper was not always impartial in his enforcement of the law. He did little, for example, to stop the Christie Pits riot in 1933, which he derisively summarized as: “Hebrew people arrived and caused trouble.” And, to quote a departmental annual report, Draper linked gambling dens with “foreigners, who, if they are not vicious criminals, can be classified as racketeers whose unlawful activities promote crime in the community.”

Police making an arrest at a Communist meeting at College Street and University Avenue, October 12, 1929. From the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 18380.

One of the police commission’s first efforts to restrain Draper’s power came in the summer of 1931 not long after County Court Judge James Parker was appointed to replace Morson. Parker moved that the police board appoint a new secretary. For decades, the chief constable had acted as the commission’s secretary, with duties that included receiving public complaints and vetting which were brought to the attention of commissioners. Parker and Mayor Stewart intended the change as a matter of policy—not discipline—to free up Draper for actual police work.

The chief constable, however, was aggrieved at any curtailment of his authority. Going further, Coatsworth penned a furious letter to Stewart. In it, he questioned Parker’s impartiality to act as both a commissioner and a trustee of the Telegram (though without any active role in the newspaper’s day-to-day operations). And Coatsworth accused Parker and Stewart of deliberately delaying approval of Draper’s requests for officer promotions and leave to attend a policing conference in Paris that summer.

Globe (September 1, 1931)

Globe (September 1, 1931)

Draper, Coatsworth argued, was being “subjected to…persecution” and “harassed to the point of humiliation” by second-guessing police commissioners. Coatsworth expressed hope that a public investigation was drawing near “in which quite a few highly placed men will have to go into the witness-box and explain why they have improperly interfered with police matters and endeavoured to stampede the Chief.”

The tenor of the letter, which many interpreted as a threat intended to result in restoring Draper as secretary, proved embarrassing for Coatsworth when Stewart leaked it to the press. The Star castigated Coatsworth for withholding potentially damaging information in order to gain leverage over colleagues instead of reporting it for full investigation.

The episode may have unnerved Stewart because he offered an unprompted statement that he was not under the influence of the Orange Order—of which both he and Coatsworth were prominent members—or any other fraternal organization. But Stewart and Parker cleverly put an end to controversy by forwarding Coatsworth’s letter to Attorney-General W.H. Price to decide if an investigation was warranted. The province quickly announced they wanted nothing to do with it.

Cobourg, W  T  R  Preston and Frank Regan    April 16, 1928

(Right: Frank Regan, April 1928. From the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 13162.)

A much more serious situation—which snowballed into one of the largest scandals in Toronto’s history—came to light in the fall of 1932, when the mother of Albert Dorland, a young hoodlum serving five years at Kingston Penitentiary, convinced lawyer Frank Regan to look into her son’s conviction. When he started asking questions, Regan uncovered a scandal that went to the top of the Toronto Police Department. A common criminal regularly arrested for car thefts and burglaries, Dorland had tried to go straight a few years earlier but was turned down for a taxi license because of his criminal record. In the spring of 1930, he met William Toohey, who’d also served time at Kingston, and the two began planning to hold up the Royal Bank branch at Church and Wellesley.

Unknown to Dorland, however, Toohey had turned police informant as soon as their plans were hatched, and met with Chief Constable Draper and Inspector of Detectives Alex J. Murray numerous times. Yet, instead of arresting Dorland for conspiracy, the senior officers enabled the crime to proceed, providing money so Toohey could acquire the necessary guns and ammunition. After warning the branch manager of the impending robbery, on the appointed day of April 7 Draper posted five armed men inside the bank—their weapons trained on the door—and more men in the neighbourhood, ready to swoop in at a moment’s notice.

When the bandits arrived at the bank door, however, Dorland hesitated. For days, Toohey had been acting strangely. Now, Dorland noticed two men watching from an apartment window and another pretending to read a newspaper outside a nearby drugstore. “Come on, let’s get out of here! It’s a plant!” Dorland cried, as he rushed back to their car. “The coppers are all around the place!” The ensuing car chase culminated in Dorland and Toohey crashing into a police cruiser, and policemen firing 15 or 20 rounds at the would-be stick-up men, who ducked for cover on the floor of their car. Dorland and Toohey didn’t fire, or even raise, their weapons—and, it turned out, the gun Toohey had given Dorland had a broken firing pin and couldn’t fire. The officers were seemingly unaware that no bank robbery had actually taken place, or even that Toohey was an informant.

Faced with the prospect of being charged with conspiracy to rob a bank, Dorland accepted an offer from Draper to plead guilty to a lesser charge of carrying a concealed weapon on the promise of the minimum one-year reformatory sentence. In court, though the charge had been changed to carrying an offensive weapon, Dorland still pled guilty as agreed. Nobody seemed to have informed Police Magistrate Coatsworth of any pre-arranged deal, however, and he sentenced Dorland to the maximum sentence of five years in the penitentiary. Toohey, by prior arrangement with authorities, had only a brief stint at a reformatory.

Star (September 18, 1933)

Star (September 18, 1933)

At the time of Dorland’s arrest and conviction, Toronto newspapers hailed Draper for having foiled the attempted robbery. But when the back-room deal with Toohey was uncovered by Regan two years later, the press turned on Draper. Newspaper editors questioned why Draper would place the public in unnecessary danger with “Wild West police methods” when they could have laid conspiracy charges at any time. Moreover, the police were criticized for giving Toohey money, which was viewed as encouraging criminal activity, and for riddling the criminals’ car with bullets without provocation. The case attracted national newspaper attention.

Amid a chorus of city councillors demanding an investigation, the police commission, presided over by Mayor Stewart, conducted its own in late 1932 and early 1933. Although Draper moved freely about the room listening to testimony and chatting with others present at the commission’s closed door sessions, Regan and reporters had to fight for permission to participate. Evidence presented showed that officers had been ordered to “make a good job of it” if they opened fire on Dorland, and that information had been suppressed by falsifying documents, and Draper ordering his men’s silence. In giving testimony, Draper performed poorly. He got caught in contradictions, claiming he couldn’t remember fine details after three years, and, true to his character, he branded Dorland a Communist. Nevertheless, the police chief emerged unscathed.

Murray, an officer with over 30 years of service and an impeccable reputation for clearing major crimes, was made the fall guy, convinced to resign in late March 1933 through fear of losing his pension. Two senior-ranking detectives, both of whom had over 20 years of service, were demoted. Later, several officers faced, but were exonerated of charges of “shooting with intent to do grievous bodily harm.”

(Right: Inspector of Detectives Alex J. Murray, February 1930. From the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 19219.)

As the police commission’s investigation wound down, the provincial government appointed Justice A.C. Kingstone to lead a royal commission into the Dorland case. At hearings beginning in early April, Kingstone heard much of the same evidence. And his August 1933 report contained damning findings. Kingstone believed that Toohey, not Dorland, initiated the crime; that the police department planned to shoot Dorland had he entered the bank; and that Draper and the police department tried to protect themselves afterward by concealing facts, falsifying documents, and being less than forthcoming in testimony. Most distressing were Kingstone’s assertions that Draper had “contributed to crime” by providing money for the guns, and “[t]hat Chief Draper could have, and should have, arrested Dorland much earlier,” as Butts put it.

Of Toronto’s four daily newspapers—each claiming to represent public opinion—three condemned Draper’s conduct. Only the Globe remained his cheerleader. “It is apparent…that General Draper has been unlucky enough to come into disfavor with certain high-hats at the City Hall,” read one typical letter to the Globe, “who are using the Dorland case—and anything else lying around handy—as a club to ‘get Draper.'” For his part, Stewart complained publicly about a lobby of citizens “attempting to influence him to retain General Draper as Chief of Police,” and threatened to make their names of these individuals known. There wasn’t much public sympathy for Dorland, the victim of Draper’s frame-up. Less than a year after being released on August 31, 1933, Dorland participated in an armed bank robbery, and by the 1940s moved onto drug trafficking.

Nevertheless, the royal commission prompted immediate changes on the police commission. Kingstone had questioned the membership of an active police magistrate. So Premier George S. Henry replaced Coatsworth—who’d thought the whole Dorland affair to be blown out of proportion—with J.R.L. Starr, a Conservative and lawyer who also needed to be appointed a special police magistrate without pay or duties in order to respect requirements of the governing legislation.

Mayor William J. Stewart with a clydesdale horse, ca. 1926. From the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 2332.

Next, at a police board meeting on September 12, Stewart, Starr, and Parker unanimously passed a series of reforms addressing some of Kingstone’s specific recommendations. Aiming to put an end to the police force’s muzzling of free speech, a new rule was introduced that no speech-maker could be arrested until he actually broke the law. The commission closed the police training school Draper had established, which was said by newspapers “to be the cause of police militarism.” They reorganized the reporting structure for the force’s detectives, and implemented new rules to prevent the tampering with police records, withholding information from the Crown Attorney, or withdrawing charges unless directed by a magistrate.

Further discussion of the Kingstone Report and what to do with Draper was tabled for a future meeting because the commissioners had to move on to addressing the latest Draper scandal splashed across the front pages: the chief’s unilateral decision to drop charges against a Conservative cabinet minister’s son.

Bloor Street looking west from Avenue Road, near where Rene Duranleau was pulled over, as it appeared in April 1929. From the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 6777.

On the night of September 3, Constable Robert Kerr, patrolling eastbound on Bloor Street near Spadina, trailed a vehicle weaving from lane to lane at over 45 miles per hour. “Why are you driving so fast?” Kerr asked when he pulled the vehicle over at Bay Street. The driver, Rene Duranleau, was returning to Montreal from the United States via Detroit and Toronto with his law partner, Jules Dupre, and the latter’s parents. Duranleau began to explain that he was lost and looking for the King Edward Hotel. “I’m sure you’re not permitted to go at that speed in Detroit or Montreal,” Kerr ended the brief conversation and instructed the driver to follow him to the police station on Belmont Street. There, Sergeant W.E. Wallis, who recorded a charge of reckless driving in his ledger, let Duranleau go on $35 bail—instead of the usual $50—because that’s all the Montreal lawyer had on him.

The next morning, Duranleau and his travelling companions called upon Chief Draper at the police headquarters on College Street. The young lawyer denied that he’d been driving recklessly and registered “a very strong complaint of incivility” against Kerr, Wallis, and other officers. (Testifying before the police commission, Kerr vehemently denied the accusation, stating that he’d used “in the same tone of voice as I would speak to my father or my mother.” In fact, another officer present suggested, the lawyer was the one being rude by loudly proclaiming to Wallis and Kerr that he was the son of the federal Minister of Marine and Fisheries.)

That same afternoon Draper summoned Inspectors Charles Greenwood and Robert Anderson, Kerr’s supervisor and the officer in charge of Belmont Station respectively, to his office. Draper clearly believed that because the visitors were “reputable Montreal citizens” his men should have let Duranleau off with a warning. He was eager to let them leave for Montreal, but, because it was the Labour Day holiday, no police magistrate was available to dispose of the case. At some point, Inspector Anderson responded to a question that “the information had not yet been sworn,” which Draper took to mean that charges had not yet been laid. So the chief ordered them withdrawn—over Anderson’s warning that only a Magistrate could do so—and instructed Anderson to refund Duranleau’s bail money.

News of Draper’s questionable actions became known because of a letter of unknown authorship—written on Royal York Hotel letterhead and signed by an alias, James DeGonaker—was sent to the police commission, and subsequently leaked to the press. Faced with criticism before the police board, Draper blamed it all on Anderson who, he claimed, recommended dropping the charge. Anderson and Greenwood strongly objected to that claim, and noted that the chief had called them into his office no fewer than four times to convince them of his version of events prior to appearing at the commission. “He almost made me believe I was responsible for it,” Anderson recounted, the 23-year police veteran clearly upset.

(Left: Globe [September 16, 1933].)

For Stewart, who led the attack on Draper’s violation of due process at the meeting, it was a question of the chief’s judgment, or lack thereof, and his attempt to evade responsibility for his actions afteward. Given that Draper had based his decision on a misunderstanding of not only what Anderson had said but also what powers a chief constable possessed, at least part of the issue was Draper’s consistent incompetence in policing. It was a common complaint of those under his command and reporters who interviewed him.

The next day, newspapers were full of Draper coverage. Numerous aldermen rehashed all their previous criticisms and called for his resignation. Among them, Ralph Day argued that, despite the recent Dorland inquiries, Draper’s “latest action proves he still thinks he is a law unto himself.” Author and CCF campaigner Donat M. LeBourdais argued in the Star that Draper “by training and temperament [was] unsuited to his position.”

Contacted in Montreal, Duranleau expressed “surprise” that Draper was being criticized for treating “the strangers from a sister Province with kindness and courtesy.” He and Dupre submitted affidavits confirming Draper’s claim Anderson had recommended withdrawing the charges, but the commissioners dismissed accepting these as evidence because it was composed after the scandal had been widely reported across the country. Alfred Duranleau, the Montrealer’s cabinet minister father, didn’t want to discuss the controversy when questioned by Ottawa reporters.

The Globe, which thought Duranleau’s affidavit cleared Draper and put the whole issue to rest, reprinted Draper-friendly comments from prominent citizens and editorials from papers around the province. The standard defense of Draper was that the war hero had made Toronto streets safer by turning the police into an efficient, disciplined force, and public criticism was akin to political interference that undermined his authority and emboldened criminals. His opponents, Draper’s allies believed, actively sought petty shortcomings to exploit as part of a politically-motivated conspiracy “to undermine the Chief’s influence and authority.” The campaign dated to the 1931 municipal election, this thinking went, but now even the Attorney General department’s recent restructuring of the police commission was made in service of conspirators wanting to oust Draper. In numerous editorials, the Globe argued that Draper was “being found guilty [in the court of public opinion] without semblance of a fair trial” where the reasonableness of the charges and evidence would be judged.

2015 09 05 G 18Sep1933 358

(Right: Globe [September 18, 1933].)

Much of the Globe‘s criticism for the coming weeks focused on unmasking the author of the DeGonaker letter, which, the paper reasoned, could only have been one of Duranleau, Draper, Anderson, or Greenwood. Although both Anderson and Greenwood stringently denied any involvement, it’s plausible that one of them wrote the letter—or provided the information necessary to produce it. The enmity towards Draper among senior officers, Thomas recounted, was such “that they looked for opportunities to tip off the newspapers when Draper blundered.” Resentment of Draper among the rank-and-file was such by the 1940s that chants of “Chisholm for Chief!” reportedly broke out at Toronto Police Association meetings in reference to the deputy chief.

In an extended statement to the press about Duranleau coverage, Stewart responded to those who sought “to turn a martinet into a martyr,” denying that he was “wantonly out to get Draper.” He thought Duranleau’s affidavit was all-too-convenient. “His grievance,” Stewart said of Duranleau, “seems to be that the police did not care who he was. That is the best tribute that could be paid to the policemen. Apparently it was only the Chief who was impressed with who Mr. Duranleau was.”

The mayor hinted that there were other instances of Draper overstepping his legitimate authority—though he refrained “from going into details of what did happen and what might have happened.” And Stewart casually mentioned “inner discontent” and disharmony on the police force. Stewart felt empowered to make such overtly critical statements in a public forum—treading close to being unprofessional—because he had secured Parker’s vote to get rid of Draper.

Over the course of a two-hour meeting on September 22, Stewart introduced a motion demanding Draper’s resignation. The commissioners unanimously consented to the motion’s preamble, outlining their criticisms of Draper’s actions and poor judgement, being recorded into the minutes (though not released to the media). But, on the question of Draper’s resignation, Parker abandoned Stewart, and joined Starr in defeating the mayor’s motion. Furthermore, the two voted, with Stewart dissenting, to take no further action on the Kingstone report, Dorland affair, and the Duranleau incident.

After the meeting, Stewart and Draper made conciliatory statements about moving beyond their differences. But Stewart was visibly upset. Heading into the meeting, Parker had assured him of his support for demanding Draper’s resignation, then abandoned him. Newspapermen, according to Thomas’ memoirs, were tipped off in advance. And the Star had even begun preparing the story and page layout complete with banner headline. Word leaked to Draper, and he phoned allies in the local business community, who then called their friends in Ottawa. Eventually, in Thomas’ telling, Parker “got a call, telling him that if he wanted to stay in good with the people who counted, he was to stay with Draper.” It was the nearest Draper would come to losing his job.

Globe (September 23, 1933)

Globe (September 23, 1933)

While the Globe‘s editors gloated, the Star was relieved the outcome drew to a close “the long disturbance which has existed in this city between an ineffectual Board of Police Commissioners and a Chief Constable who knows no law but martial law.” Most perceptively, “The Observer,” a columnist for the Star, saw the police commission succumbing “to the quiet and unostentatious pressure of the wealthy element in Toronto society” willing to overlook all of Draper’s failings because they believed only his ruthlessness protected them from “rioting mobs [and] Soviet revolutions.” In his memoirs decades later, Thomas agreed with the assessment that Draper’s friends in the business community and his Conservative allies kept him in office. (It’s a quirk of Toronto’s political scene that both Draper and his sturdiest foe, Stewart, were members of the same broad party.)

For the next few years Stewart and Draper shifted between being friends and enemies. They were thrust together as allies in the summer of 1934 when the newly elected Liberal government took exception to the police commission’s refusal to permit the Ontario Hunger-Marchers Committee to parade through city streets to Queen’s Park. In response to their closing “the gates of Toronto against a delegation of our own citizens coming to the city,” Premier Mitch Hepburn issued an order-in-council to unceremoniously dump Starr and Parker from the commission. The attorney general hinted that the same fate would have befallen Stewart and Draper, who’d both also supported the hunger march ban, if it had been in the province’s power.

2015 09 05 Star 31Aug1933 248

(Left: Star [August 31, 1933].)

In 1936, the police commission, chaired by Sam McBride, who’d returned to the mayoralty, was investigating allegations made by William Miller, a former inspector, that Draper had tried to influence the 1931 municipal election. And Stewart, then gearing up to run for leadership of the provincial Conservative Party, weighed in from the sidelines. Miller’s allegation that Draper had told senior officers that Stewart’s election as mayor “was not in the best interests of the Toronto police department,” was deemed unfounded when only two officers—including Robert Anderson—out of more than a dozen interviewed by the commission concurred with Miller’s account.

But the discussion came on the heels of another royal commission into the department—specifically investigating a group of policemen, “the 100 Per Cent Gang,” who’d been stealing from businesses and warehouses since the mid-1920s—and there were renewed calls for Draper’s resignation. And, after the current commission declined to revisit the Dorland and Duranleau cases while discussing current circumstances, Stewart joined the debate, perhaps sensing an opportunity for headlines and settling old scores. He offered city council a copy of the minutes from the September 22, 1933, including the never-publicly-released motion preamble Stewart thought to be a most damning indictment of the chief’s career on the force. Aldermen debated the ethics of accepting Stewart’s offer over the objections of the current police commissioners, and the furor eventually died down.

During the Second World War, Draper seemed distracted in his duties. Volunteering to support Canada’s war effort in any capacity, the sexagenarian went overseas for months at a time on unpaid leave. The rumour was he was organizing home defense efforts in England, but he never talked about his work during the war. When he was in the office, he was more eager to discuss war strategy, moving pushpins on a large map of the war fronts on his wall whenever reporters stopped by for comment on a police matter.

Draper’s final high-profile brush with scandal came through his involvement in a serious traffic accident while returning home to Toronto from Montreal on September 28, 1941. Near Newtonville, he tried to pass a car on a curve and crashed into an oncoming vehicle. Draper was injured, but not as seriously as the driver of the other car and his three passengers. In Jocko Thomas’ telling—which differs slightly from newspaper reports—police arrived on the scene to find Draper, liquor on his breath, directing traffic (after having assisted with the injured).

2015 09 05 GM 19Jan1946 400

(Right: Globe and Mail [January 19, 1946].)

Facing charges of reckless driving, Draper’s trial in Cobourg attracted swarms of Toronto media. Draper was evasive on the stand, blaming fatigue for the accident and suggesting that everything would’ve been fine if the other car had pulled to the shoulder. There was no evidence of skid-marks on the asphalt to indicate he had braked. The judge ruled that, even if tired, Draper bore responsibility for operating his vehicle safely. He found the chief guilty and fined him $300. This, Thomas adds, made for some awkward moments at police commission meetings when Draper continued to oppose restaurant and taxi licenses for people with criminal records.

Mayor Fred Conboy hastily convened the police commission to discuss temporarily relieving Draper of his duties. Conboy was overruled by the commission’s judicial members, Frank Denton and A.E. Kirkpatrick. A few months later, after Draper’s appeal was denied, Conboy’s colleagues wouldn’t even discuss the idea of disciplining or suspending Draper. Kirkpatrick did not believe the conviction impaired Draper’s ability to do his job because a motor vehicle infraction didn’t carry any “question of moral turpitude.”

Rumours started in late 1945 that Draper, who’d already passed the standard retirement age, was contemplating leaving the department. The only snag was that Draper wasn’t eligible for a pension because he’d never been a front-line officer, and would have to rely on a meagre army annuity. Recognizing an opportunity, Mayor Robert H. Saunders arranged for the department to retain Draper as a special consultant at a salary of $2,000 for at least five years once the police board accepted his resignation in January 1946. “Of course,” Thomas recalled, “no one expected him to advise anybody on anything, and he was never again seen at police headquarters after his departure.” Deputy Chief John Chisholm, a career policeman, was the board’s unanimous choice as the new chief constable.

Sources consulted: Helen Boritch and John Hagan, “Crime and the Changing Forms of Class Control: Policing Public Order in ‘Toronto the Good,’ 1859-1955,” in Social Forces Vol. 66, No. 2 (December 1987); Edward Butts, Running With Dillinger: The Story of Red Hamilton and Other Forgotten Canadian Outlaws (Dundurn, 2008); Allan Levine, Toronto: Biography of a City (Douglas & McIntyre, 2014); Greg Marquis, “Working Men in Uniform: The Early Twentieth-Century Toronto Police,” in Histoire sociale – Social History (November 1987); Jocko Thomas, From Police Headquarters: True Tales from the Big City Crime Beat (Stoddart, 1990); and articles from the Globe, the Globe and Mail, and the Star.

CORRECTION: September 7, 2:34 PM This article incorrectly stated that Rene Duranleau’s car was speeding at 45 kilometres per hour. This has been corrected to 45 miles per hour. Thanks to Jim Clarke for spotting the error.

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