Excellence in Law: Mark Saunders


Deputy Chief Mark Saunders -- LawIn a community often mistrusting of the police, there are members of that community working from within the Police Service to bridge the gap of understanding between the two groups.

As Deputy Chief of Specialized Operations Command, Mark Saunders oversees 1,258 police officers, 164 civilian members, and manages a budget of $175 million.  Specialized Operations Command is comprised of various investigative squads, and some of the Toronto Police Service’s most critically important units, which support Divisional Policing Command and work hand-in-hand with municipal, provincial, and federal agencies.

In addition to frontline uniform policing, Saunders has extensive experience in a variety of specialized policing roles, including the Professional Standards Unit, Urban Street Gang Unit, Intelligence, Drug Squad, and the Emergency Task Force.

He has also served as the Unit Commander of the Homicide Squad, which is the largest of its kind in Canada.

The Jamaican native holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Justice Studies from Guelph-Humber University, a diploma from Humber College, an Incident Command System Certificate from the Justice Institute of British Columbia, and is a Canadian Police College certified Chief Hostage Negotiator.

He has also completed the Leadership in Counter Terrorism Course (LinCT) which involved study in Scotland and Ireland.

Saunders is described as, “An accomplished police leader with exceptional investigative skills and law enforcement experience. At the same time, he is innovative and progressive with a keen awareness of the need to ensure that the police engage and respond to the community in an inclusive, unbiased and collaborative manner, using a variety of outreach and education initiatives.”

It is noted that he “understands the critical importance of a positive relationship between the police and the public and is personally committed to fostering and enhancing this relationship.”

Co-chair of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) Organized Crime Committee, the man committed to community service, is also a United Way Leadership Member.

His many awards include: the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for Outstanding Community Contributions; the Police Exemplary Service Medal; and the Black History Month Community Award.

The highly sought after public speaker is a resident of Toronto where he is proudly raising his family.

Deputy Chief Saunders continues his personal commitment to provide inclusive, unbiased policing in order to foster and enhance the critically important relationship between the Toronto Police Service and the communities he serves.