I rise today to acknowledge Deputy Chief Mark Saunders, who has been named Toronto’s new Chief of Police. Mr. Saunders is the first Black chief of Jamaican heritage to oversee the Toronto Police Service, one of Canada’s largest police agencies.
As a fellow Jamaican, I believe that Mr. Saunders will make a great chief of police who will be committed to public safety and working with the community to keep the Greater Toronto Area safe and livable.
Over his 32-year policing career, Mr. Saunders has provided fair and equitable police service to all and has contributed greatly to various diversity and community safety initiatives. He is the Co-Chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police Organized Crime Committee; participates as a mentor of the Black Community Consultative Committee; and was chosen by former Toronto Chief of Police William Blair, whom I had the privilege of working with, to be a contributing author to the Police and Community Engagement Review, the PACER report.
His passion for policing is evident through his work on the force as he played an integral role in the creation of an investigative cybercrime unit called C3, which was developed in order to maximize the use of technology in policing.
Mr. Saunders is also a recipient of many awards, including the Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for Outstanding Community Contributions and the Black Canadians Award for Public Service.
I must also acknowledge Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, another Jamaican-Canadian and candidate for the role of Toronto Police Service Chief of Police. Deputy Chief Sloly has made great contributions to the force and the Black community over his 25-year policing career.
Honourable senators, we must continue to shine a light on the men and women from diverse communities who make positive and valuable contributions to the nation. Through my work on the National Youth Strategy, youth anti-violence initiatives and working with the Black community, I want to continue to promote safe communities and find solutions to end youth and gun violence not only in the Greater Toronto Area but also across this great country.
Honourable senators, please join me in congratulating Chief Saunders on his accomplishment and wishing him well in his new role.