Deputy Chief James Ramer named interim chief of police in Toronto
The Toronto Police Services Board has announced Deputy Chief James Ramer as interim chief of police in Ontario’s capital in the wake of Chief Mark Saunders’ retirement news.
“The board wants to thank Chief Saunders for his decades of extraordinary commitment to our organization, and to the residents of Toronto,” said TPSB chair Jim Hart, on behalf of the board, including Mayor John Tory. “His renowned policing expertise, steadfast professionalism and ability to steer the service through a challenging period of significant transformation have undoubtedly enhanced policing in our city. We wish Chief Saunders well in his retirement.”
The board said it intends to recognize Chief Saunders more fully and pay tribute to his service closer to his date of retirement.
The board has now made the decision to appoint Deputy Chief Ramer as interim chief of police, effective August 1, 2020, and until such time as a new chief of police is appointed.
Ramer has been a member of the Toronto Police Service since 1980 and is currently a deputy chief of specialized operations command, which is responsible for the service’s various investigative squads and a variety of uniform specialized units.
Ramer has a long history of community engagement, which has included leading the service’s Community Partnerships & Engagement Unit (formerly the Community Mobilization Unit) and co-chairing the chief’s Black Consultative Committee for five years. Ramer has also overseen the expansion of initiatives to respond to persons in crisis, including mental health crisis, more effectively and compassionately.
Additionally, Ramer has championed the development of a gang prevention strategy which focuses on proactive engagement with young people who may be in conflict with the law, and includes community outreach and engagement with partners in communities most impacted by crime. He is also a member of many national and international law enforcement bodies, with particular expertise in counter-terrorism, national security and organized crime.
In 2019, he was invested as a member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by the Governor General of Canada.
Ramer has also confirmed for the board that he will not be applying as a candidate to become the next chief of police for the service.
“Throughout his career, Deputy Ramer has demonstrated a stellar law enforcement leadership record, balanced with a demonstrated commitment to working with communities to foster meaningful partnerships and effective, sustained mobilization,” Hart continued. “The board is confident in his ability to provide professional, capable and compassionate leadership during this period.”
Ramer said he is honoured to be named interim chief.
“I will continue the vital work of modernizing and transforming our organization, in meaningful partnership with our members and the communities we serve,” he said. “Each day, I will make it my singular priority to build public trust and confidence in the Toronto Police Service, and the dedicated men and women who serve us bravely.”
The board has also decided to “commence a comprehensive procurement process to select a firm that will help conduct the search process for next chief.”