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Toronto selects new police chief; 32-year veteran of the force

Toronto’s new police chief Myron Demkiw is seen in an undated handout photo. The 32-year veteran of the Toronto police was named the city's new police chief Thursday, following an extensive search. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Toronto Police Services Board, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

TORONTO — A 32-year veteran of the Toronto police was named the city's new police chief Thursday, following an extensive search.

Myron Demkiw is currently the acting deputy chief of the specialized operations command and is set to assume his new role on Dec. 19.

He will replace interim chief James Ramer, who took over the post after former police chief Mark Saunders resigned in July 2020 – and later unsuccessfully ran for the Progressive Conservatives in this provincial year's election.

Demkiw said in a statement that he is honoured to be the next chief, but is reserving further comment right now, out of respect for members of the Toronto police as they grieve the loss of Const. Andrew Hong, who was shot and killed Monday.

"I am deeply invested in the city of Toronto and its people, and I am committed to the integrity and success of the Toronto Police Service," he wrote.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said Demkiw is a respected policing expert on gun and gang violence prevention and intervention.

"I know he will bring a focus on confronting gun and gang violence to his new role, along with a determined commitment to keeping our city as one of the safest major cities in the world," Tory said in a statement.

"I also know that Chief Designate Demkiw will continue the work underway on police reform. This is so important – the work to build and rebuild trust cannot stop. We must continue to reform and modernize our police service, and we must ensure that every resident across our city feels respected and protected."

A bio provided by the Toronto Police Services Board said Demkiw is a "key architect" of the service's renewed approach to dealing with gun and gang violence that "deftly and powerfully targets criminal elements, while respecting the communities in which they may be operating."

Demkiw has served as a senior adviser to the police's Black Internal Support Network and has contributed to the city's community safety and well-being plan. He is also the co-chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police's counterterrorism and national security committee and is a member of that association's national working group supporting victims of terrorism and mass violence.

Prior to his current role heading up the specialized command, Demkiw was a staff superintendent, most recently overseeing professional standards and the Toronto Police College, and before that he was in charge of detective services.

Toronto Police Services Board chair Jim Hart said Demkiw has a proven track record of progressive, "solution-focused" approaches to the city's complex needs.

"In Chief Designate Demkiw, the board has found the candidate that possessed what members of communities across the city, along with our stakeholders, asked us for: a dedicated public servant and relationship-builder, committed to building and enhancing trust with the diverse communities we serve," he said in a statement.

The search for a new chief involved a pre-consultation phase of work with community representatives, followed by a series of public consultations that led to the development of criteria for the executive search process.

The search involved international outreach, advertising, a social media campaign and direct outreach to 70 candidates in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 15, 2022.

Allison Jones, The Canadian Press

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