Law enforcement officers celebrated

By RON FANFAIR

Two bright stars in the law enforcement community, who were recently promoted to senior administrative positions, were celebrated by colleagues, friends and family at a community event last Sunday.

David Mitchell, the founding president of the Association of Black Law Enforcers (ABLE), was appointed Superintendent at Mimico medium security facility in Etobicoke while Kenton Chance succeeded Mitchell as Manager of the Correctional Services Security Threat Group Criminal Intelligence Unit (STGCIU).

“They are both outstanding members of the law enforcement and African-Canadian communities who have been elevated to very important positions and we need to recognize this,” said former corrections officer-turned-lawyer, Selwyn Pieters, who organized the event. “They have come a long way and their achievements must be noted.”

Mitchell and Chance joined the Ministry of Safety and Correctional Services in 1990.

Born in England, Mitchell came to Canada with his family in 1969 at the age of three and worked with the former City of North York Parks & Recreation Community Services Division before pursuing a law enforcement career.

After completing his training, he spent 18 months as a general duty officer at the Toronto Jail before being dispatched to the Admitting and Discharge Unit. He was promoted to acting sergeant in 1994 and a few months later he was assigned to the anti-racism unit where he was responsible for assisting in the implementation of recommendations made in the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System report.

He also held the ranks of captain and acting deputy superintendent at the Toronto Jail and deputy superintendent in charge of operations at the Toronto East Detention Centre.

As one of ABLE’s seven co-founders, Mitchell has consistently advocated for positive changes and initiatives in law enforcement that will benefit a multi-cultural and multi-racial society.

Guyanese-born Chance served as operations manager for six months at the Toronto Jail and acting operations manager, deputy superintendent of programs and security manager at the East Detention Centre before being elevated to his new STGCIU position.

The new unit works closely with other law enforcement agencies to help identify, manage and monitor inmates who may pose a threat to the security of the institution. As a result of the unit’s extensive efforts, Ontario is recognized as a leader in the evolution of the Canadian Corrections Criminal Intelligence Network.

Toronto Police Service Deputy Chief Keith Forde recognized Mitchell and Chance’s achievements.

“When I was coming through the ranks, Jay Hope and I supported each other,” he said. “It’s important for me to continue to support and encourage the young people in the profession who are doing well and we should do so in a public way as is the case here today. Too often, we take these things for granted and we don’t express ourselves and let people know that they are doing a good job and we appreciate what they are doing and are proud of them.”

Toronto Police Superintendent Peter Sloly, Ministry of Safety and Correctional Services acting assistant deputy minister, Dr. Ralph Agard and Toronto East Detention Centre scheduling manager, Paul Medeiros, attended the celebration.

Mitchell, Chance and Agard are among a list of Blacks and South Asians appointed to significant management positions since Hope (a former deputy commissioner with the Ontario Provincial Police) assumed the role as the province’s Deputy Minister of Correctional Services 13 months ago.

Ernie Harris was named the Ontario Correctional Service College’s anti-racism co-ordinator, Bose Sukhdeo was elevated to the post of regional director of Adult Community Corrections (Central Region) and ABLE executive member and former assistant parole and probation manager in Brampton, Jennifer Alphonso, was appointed deputy superintendent at Mimico, making her the first Black woman to hold this rank in Ontario.

As a former public housing resident who now chairs the Toronto Housing Corporation’s board of directors, Mitchell is the fourth Black superintendent of an Ontario Correctional Centre.

Edward Francis and Orville Kerlew who are both deceased and Fred Williams who recently retired after serving in the senior position at the Toronto and Mimico facilities, preceded him.

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