By TOM GODFREY
The sudden resignation last week of Deputy Police Chief Peter Sloly after 27 years of service on the Toronto police force has left many in the community shaking their heads.
An upbeat Sloly, 49, walked out of Toronto Police headquarters for the last time saying he enjoyed his time on the force and had no regrets about leaving.
“The time had come and there are many opportunities out there that are available to me,” he told friends and the media. “I have a long list of national and international contacts that I have made over the years.”
He said he doesn’t have a job lined up and will spend more time with his young family as he makes plans for the future.
“I have nothing bad or negative to say about the Toronto police,” he said. “The force has given me a lot for which I am thankful and grateful.”
Tension had been high at the 40 College St. police headquarters since Mark Saunders won the chief’s job that Sloly was also seeking. The two highest-ranking Toronto police officers barely spoke to each other and Sloly was moved to another office and given new responsibilities that took him away from the public, a move some saw as a demotion.
Saunders thanked Sloly for his many contributions to the force, including his trailblazing work in improving the force’s social media platforms.
Some insiders claim the bad blood between Sloly and Saunders eventually led to him leaving the force. Sloly was also criticized several weeks ago for saying money can be shaved from the police $1 billion-plus budget through the use of technology.
Members of the Black community were quick to applaud Sloly for his opposition to carding and his tireless work in the community for decades.
“He is a good man who carries a lot of respect in the community,” said Kingsley Gilliam of the Black Action Defense Committee. “He has always been fair with the community and treated us with respect and dignity.”
He said the former officer had integrity and stood up for what he believed.
“Sloly is well-known and well-liked in the community that he has served long and hard over the years,” said Gilliam. “He has helped to build many bridges over time.”
Toronto lawyer Selwyn Pieters said Sloly dedicated his life to policing and to the betterment of this city and fostering public confidence in Toronto Police.
“I found him to be very strategic, level-headed and a person who looks at the big picture,” Pieters told Share. “I always consider Peter Sloly a friend and a great ally to have in the Toronto Police Service. His presence will be missed.”
John Sewell, of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, said Sloly had little support from members of his Board or the Toronto Police Association, which was pleased to see him go.
“He wasn’t getting much support and may just have had enough and wanted to do other things,” Sewell suggested.
Sloly has racked up a lengthy list of accolades and accomplishments for his work from his peers and the community.
He was in charge of Operational Support Command which includes the Toronto Police College, Professional Standards and its Support Unit, Legal Services, Communications Services, Court Services, Parking Enforcement Unit and Records Management Services.
His previous Deputy Chief assignments included Community Safety Command and Executive Command.
The Jamaican-born former professional soccer player was against the police carding of Black and brown-skinned youth and belonged to a number of boards and committees in the community.
He has sat on the boards of Spirit of the People, BBPA National Scholarship Foundation, Kids Cops & Computers, Covenant House, Herb Carnegie Future Aces, Ontario Science Centre, Red Cross Canada, Youth Challenge Fund, Greater Toronto Civic Action Alliance, West Park Hospital Foundation, FYI Youth Anti-Violence Taskforce, the Trust 15 Board and the YMCA of Greater Toronto.
Sloly has also won countless awards and medals for his work in the community and for peacekeeping abroad.