Deputy Chief James Ramer has been appointed as Interim Chief of Police by the Toronto Police Services Board.
According to the Board, Ramer is a noted leader in the policing community and will step into the position on August 1 and serve until a new chief is appointed.
Ramer has been a member of the Toronto Police Service since 1980. He is currently the Deputy Chief of Specialized Operations Command. The Specialized Operations Command is responsible for investigative squads and a variety of uniform specialized units.
John Tory welcomed Ramer into the position by saying, “I am confident that Deputy Ramer will provide the leadership our police service needs over the coming months. He is committed to the police service and our city. I know that his vast policing experience will serve him well in this role, that he will continue the modernization which is underway, and that he is dedicated to keeping our city safe.”
This designation comes after the current Chief of Police, Mark Saunders, announced that he will be retiring on July 31, 2020.
“The Board wants to thank Chief Saunders for his decades of extraordinary commitment to our organization, and to the residents of Toronto,” Chair Jim Hart said on behalf of the Board, including Mayor Tory. “His renowned policing expertise, steadfast professionalism, and ability to steer the Service through a challenging period of significant transformation have undoubtedly enhanced policing in our City.
“We wish Chief Saunders well in his retirement.”
There are intentions made by the board to recognize Saunders “more fully, and pay tribute to his many years of excellent and dedicated service” closer to the date of his retirement.
The Chair, Jim Hart, also said that “throughout his career, Deputy Ramer has demonstrated a stellar law enforcement leadership record, balanced with a demonstrated commitment to working with communities to foster meaningful partnerships and effective, sustained mobilization. The Board is confident in his ability to provide professional, capable and compassionate leadership during this period.”
The Board said that Ramer has “championed” the development of gang prevention strategy. This strategy focuses on “proactive engagement” with young people who may be in conflict with the law. It also includes community outreach and engagement with partners in communities that are the most impacted by crime.
Ramer is also a member of many national and international law enforcement bodies. He has “expertise” in counter-terrorism, national security and organized crime, according to the Board.
He was invested as a Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces by the Governor General of Canada in 2019.
Although he will be serving as the Interim Chief of Police, he has notified the Board that he will not be applying as a candidate to fill the role permanently.
“I am honoured to be named Interim Chief by the Board and to lead the Toronto Police Service during this interim and important period,” said Ramer on his appointment. “I will continue the vital work of modernizing and transforming our organization, in meaningful partnership with our Members and the communities we serve. Each day, I will make it my singular priority to build public trust and confidence in the Toronto Police Service, and the dedicated men and women who serve us bravely.”
The Board has decided that a “comprehensive procurement process” will commence selecting a firm that will help to conduct the search process for the next Chief of Police.
“It is always critical that this search process be independent, robust, and wide-ranging. Especially in a time of heightened engagement around important policing issues, the Board will also require the firm that is ultimately selected to demonstrate its ability to undertake a comprehensive public consultation process that will effectively engage the diverse voices of Toronto in identifying the qualities and priorities for the next Chief of Police,” the Board said in a statement.
“The Board recognizes that the selection of chief is one of the most important decisions it makes, and looks forward to meaningful public engagement in this selection process.”