Mark Saunders (police officer)

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Mark Saunders

Mark Saunders - African Canadian Summit - 2015 (17289149866) (cropped).jpg
Saunders in 2015
Chief of the Toronto Police Service
Assumed office
April 26, 2015
Preceded byBill Blair
Personal details
Born1962 (age 56–57)
London, England
CitizenshipCanada, United Kingdom
Spouse(s)Stacey Saunders
ResidenceToronto, Ontario, Canada
Alma materUniversity of Guelph
OccupationPolice officer

Mark Saunders OOM (born 1962) is a Canadian law enforcer and the current Chief of Police of the Toronto Police Service. He was chosen on April 17, 2015, to succeed Bill Blair following Blair's retirement the following week.[1] Saunders is the first Black Canadian to lead Toronto's police service and reportedly beat out deputy chief Peter Sloly for the position.[1] He is only the second Black Canadian to head a police force in Canada, having been preceded by Devon Clunis of the Winnipeg Police Service in 2012.

Early life and education[edit]

Saunders was born in England to Jamaican parents.[2] His family moved from England to Quebec, and in 1969, they settled in Milton, Ontario. He was a student council president while attending Milton District High School, and also attended W. I. Dick Middle School, J.M. Denyes School, and Martin Street Middle School.[3] He earned a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in justice studies from the University of Guelph (Guelph-Humber campus).[4]

Toronto Police Service[edit]

Saunders began his policing career after graduating from high school. He has served with the Toronto Police for 35 years,[when?] rising to the position of deputy chief in charge of specialized operations command, before being appointed chief in 2015. He has had assignments with professional standards, urban street gang unit, intelligence division, drug squad, community safety command, and emergency task force, and served as the unit commander of the homicide squad.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Saunders has four children with his wife Stacey; they live in Etobicoke.[5][6]

In October 2017, Saunders had a kidney transplant surgery with his wife as the donor. Saunders was born with only one kidney and underwent nightly kidney dialysis at home for 15 months prior to the surgery. He stated that the family went public about the transplant in order to raise awareness of the organ donation program.[7]


Order of Merit of the Police Forces (Canada) ribbon (OOM).jpg QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Police Exemplary Service Medal Ribbon.png

Ribbon Description Notes
Order of Merit of the Police Forces (Canada) ribbon (OOM).jpg Order of Merit of the Police Forces (OOM)
  • Officer
  • Appointed January 8, 2015[8]
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
  • 2012
  • Canadian version of this medal[9]
Police Exemplary Service Medal Ribbon.png Police Exemplary Service Medal


  1. ^ a b Royson James (April 19, 2015). "Mark Saunders named Toronto's next police chief". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  2. ^ Powell, Betsy; Pagliaro, Jennifer (March 27, 2015). "Two deputies in spotlight in search for a diverse police chief". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  3. ^ Slack, Julie (April 21, 2015). "New Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders a former Milton resident". Inside Halton. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Command Officers' biographies: Mark Saunders, Chief of Police". Toronto Police Service. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  5. ^ Wilson, Codi (October 2, 2017). "Toronto police chief to undergo kidney transplant on Monday". CP24.
  6. ^ Gillis, Wendy (April 20, 2015). "Saunders pledges more community input on carding". Toronto Star.
  7. ^ Katawazi, Miriam (October 6, 2017). "Mark Saunders thanks public for support after kidney transplant". Toronto Star.
  8. ^ "Order of Merit of the Police Forces Mark Saunders, O.O.M." The Governor General of Canada. October 5, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  9. ^ "The Diamond Jubilee Medal: Saunders, Superintendent Mark". The Governor General of Canada. Retrieved July 1, 2017.

External links[edit]