By Gerald V. Paul
Mayor John Tory urged the latest police college graduates to be accessible and act professionally, even in high-pressure situations.
“Fair or unfair, people like us – you as police officers and me as an elected leader – our honesty and integrity are under constant scrutiny because we have been given such extraordinary responsibilities,” Tory said last Thursday at the Toronto Police College graduation ceremony.
Noting that 70% of new Toronto police officers have post-secondary education, Tory said it takes months and years to build a solid reputation, “which you have as individuals and which the Toronto Police Service has, (and) it takes one minute, sometimes, to lose that reputation.”
Tory told the 88 recruits to think before they act, to consider what their parents would think of their actions and what would happen if their actions were exposed to public scrutiny.
Chief Bill Blair suggested that the Toronto Police force’s reputation has been tarnished by recent events in the U.S., many involving the killing by police of Black men, most of who were unarmed.
“As we have seen, this relationship of trust isn’t immune to events far from our city, involving behaviours that are inconsistent with our values but by which public perception is altered to cynicism and distrust,” Blair told the graduates.
“You can only maintain that trust if you truly respect the people that we are sworn to serve and protect,” he added.
“I do not suggest to you this will always be easy.”