Toronto’s 50 Most Influential: #23, Mark Saunders

Toronto's 50 Most Influential: #23, Mark Saunders
(Image: Getty Images)

Mark Saunders

Toronto Police Service

23 He heads up the country’s largest municipal police force, wields a budget of $1 billion (a quarter of the city’s property tax revenue) and implements policies that have profound effects on the lives of Torontonians. He’s also our first black police chief, appointed at a time of simmering racial tensions. Saunders barely had time to hang his nameplate before he was asked to weigh in on the issue of carding. From day one, he has been a supporter of so-called street checks, claiming that they’re an essential tool for crime solving. The unpopular position hasn’t won him a lot of friends, and it has taken the shine off other accomplishments, such as new policies regarding the use of lethal force and the treatment of mentally ill offenders.

Side Project: He graduated in June from the University of Guelph-Humber, where he was enrolled part-time in the justice studies program.

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