Hail to the Chief!

Chief Saunders’ promise: One people

By Gerald V. Paul

New Police Chief Mark Saunders and son Graham, who wants to follow in Dad’s footsteps.  Photo by Gerald V. Paul.
New Police Chief Mark Saunders and son Graham, who wants to follow in Dad’s footsteps.
Photo by Gerald V. Paul.

When The Caribbean Camera asked newly minted Police Chief Mark Saunders – British-born of Jamaican heritage – how he felt, he cited Jamaica’s motto: Out of Many, One People.

Saunders was sworn in yesterday at Police Headquarters, Toronto’s first Black chief.

His acceptance speech was a tribute to his mother’s motto which he grew up admiring as a child: “I will. I can and I shall.”

As he told the audience, policing is not just about the force but it’s a city issue. “We all have something to contribute.”

The force’s motto Protect and Serve also encompasses personal beliefs and ideals, Saunders said.

He said the motto is an abridged version of a moral code for individuals and the force, a simplified way to express your beliefs and the concepts of what you stand for and accept from others.

Saunders’ son Graham, 10, told this newspaper he admires his Dad and would love to follow in his footsteps.

Mayor John Tory (according to Saunders, “He’s as close as you can get to be a Jamaican.”) stressed love, honesty, a safe city and values.

Dewitt Lee, Canadian born of Caribbean heritage and a former mayoral candidate said, “Today’s moment is a collection of achievements, successes, struggles and sacrifices of Afro-Caribbean’s here in Toronto.

“To have the distinct privilege to see our reflection when we look at our new chief is an honour and a responsibility.”

Gerald V. Paul
Gerald V. Paul