Toronto police union holding non confidence vote on Chief Mark Saunders
TORONTO — The Toronto police union has launched an online vote of “non-confidence” to give voice to members who have lost faith in the leadership of Chief Mark Saunders.
The Toronto Police Association said it is putting Saunders “on notice” with the vote, primarily over a lack in hiring of officers and 911 operators, union president Mike McCormack said last week.
Staffing shortages have resulted in some people having to wait hours for police to respond to an emergency call, he added.
“It lets the chief know where he stands with our membership,” McCormack said. “There has to be change one way or the other, and if the chief doesn’t make that change and get the members to support him, then how can he continue to transform (the police service)?”
Toronto police did not respond to requests for comment.
Only the Toronto Police Services Board, a civilian oversight body that includes Mayor John Tory and six other members appointed by the city and the province, has the power to hire and fire chiefs of police, a spokeswoman for the board said.
Tory told reporters Friday that he has “total confidence” in Saunders.
“We are going through a necessary period of modernization of policing and the police service and any time you bring about change, it causes anxieties,” Tory said.
Toronto police are in the process of hiring more than 80 new officers and a “significant” number of 911 operators, Tory added.
But those new hires will not plug the growing number of staffing holes, McCormack said.
“Last year alone we lost 232 officers and this year (already) 81 have gone,” he added.
The Toronto Police Association vote will remain open until Feb. 21.
- Peter Goffin
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