The Toronto Police Sevices Board has announced an interim police chief for the city, following the announcement by Chief Mark Saunders that he is stepping down ahead of schedule this July.
Deputy Chief James Ramer will step in on Aug. 1 when Saunders retires, the board says.
“The board wants to thank Chief Saunders for his decades of extraordinary commitment to our organization, and to the residents of Toronto,” board chair Jim Hart said in a news release Monday.
Ramer has been with the force since 1980 and is currently in charge of investigative squads and a variety of specialized units, the release said. It also says Ramer oversaw the expansion of various initiatives to respond to people in crisis, as well as leading the development of a gang-prevention strategy focused on “proactive engagement with young people,” and has an expertise in counter-terrorism.
Ramer says he will not be applying for the job permanently.
The board also announced in a release that it is beginning the process to search for the next chief saying the search process be independent, robust and wide-ranging.
The force has come under intense scrutiny over its track-record on the handling of incidents involving people in crisis, with allegations of racism playing a role in a string of deaths including most recently, that of Regis-Korchinski Paquet.
It’s also facing mounting calls for its budget to be reduced, with some calling for a partial reallocation of funds toward community services, transit and public health — and others calling for an outright abolition of the force.