Acting superintendent Mark Saunders is a new deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service. The announcement was recently made by the Toronto Police Services Board and his appointment became effective on November 20.
Saunders will be assigned to Specialized Operations Command of the Toronto Police Service, replacing Deputy Chief Tony Warr who retired in 2011.
He was most recently the unit commander of the 12 Division where he combined a powerful uniformed enforcement presence with a strong investigative component and a clear emphasis on community investment and customer service.
Prior to this, he was the staff inspector of the Homicide Squad. In this role, he successfully carried out a significant restructuring of the operational model of the unit.
The new deputy chief has considerable experience in the detective and special operations areas, where his assignments included the Risk Management Unit of Professional Standards, with responsibility for investigating sworn and unsworn service members.
He has also been the officer in charge of numerous, large-scale investigations ranging from international drug cases to homicides. “The Board is extremely pleased with the appointment of Mark Saunders as the newest deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service.
This is a tremendously positive step forward for our organization. He is an accomplished police leader, with exceptional investigative skills and law enforcement experience.
At the same time, he is innovative and progressive, with a keen awareness of the need to ensure that the police engage and respond to the community in an inclusive, unbiased and collaborative manner, using a variety of outreach and education initiatives.
He understands the critical importance of a positive relationship between the police and the public, and is personally committed to fostering and enhancing this relationship,” said Alok Mukherjee, Chair of the Board.
”Acting Superintendent Saunders also brings to the position a fresh vision for the organization, a clear understanding of the multiple challenges we face today and a focus on change management.
A long-time resident of the city, Mark knows Toronto well and deeply cares for its well-being and safety. The Board looks forward to working with Mark Saunders as part of the Service’s outstanding Command team.
”As acting superintendent of the 12 Division, he led a department consisting of 233 members with an operating budget of $25M. Saunders was unit commander of the Homicide Squad from 2010 to 2012, where he oversaw 77 members and instituted major structural changes that have resulted in improvements to the “solve rates” in death investigations.
He was an incident commander who successfully led police responses during several recent large-scale events, including the 2009 Tamil protests and the 2012 May Day Occupy Toronto protests, which involved carefully balancing community safety concerns with the right to peaceful protest.
As section head of the Urban Gang Unit in Intelligence Operations, he was responsible for restructuring how the service gathers, processes and distributes street gang intelligence.
The former co-chair of the Black Community Consultative Committee worked with members of the community to identify, prioritize, and develop solutions to local policing issues using a proactive and prevention-based community mobilization approach.
He has significant community involvement and is the recipient of numerous commendations and awards.