Chief Mark Saunders became Canada’s first police leader to partner with Twitter Canada on a question-and-answer session October 12.
Using the hashtag #AskChiefSaunders, the virtual discussion touched on the modernization of the Service using Twitter to directly communicate with the public.
“We have done extensive community consultations for the Transformational Task Force,” said Chief Saunders. “But we know we’re not reaching everyone. I hope this opportunity from Twitter will help us hear from everyone on the modernization of policing in Toronto."
Questions were asked on topics ranging from the weapons officers carry, body-worn cameras, new police scout cars as well as community engagement.
“One of the things we have specific to community engagement is that we are teaching our officers what their roles and involvement are in the community,” Chief Saunders said, in one of a series of video responses. “It’s just not enforcement, but developing relationships. So the more officers that have an understanding of the importance of developing relationships as well as all other aspects of policing, the better our chances of being successful and our chances of building stronger communities.”
Saunders also addressed a question posed by a Twitter user about how the modernized police service will serve the Hispanic community among others.
“We need to ensure that we reach out to all communities and that includes the Hispanic community,” he said. “We also need to make sure we hire to reflect our diversity. It’s important we have a firm understanding of the cultural nuances that exist and what can we do to help better police our city of Toronto. We hope we continue to do our part in keeping Toronto safe.”
Twitter Canada Managing Director Rory Capern said Chief Saunders is among the Canadian leaders speaking directly to those they serve.
“We’re watching a number of important, prominent Canadians using Twitter to speak directly to those interested in communicating with them in a very, very efficient format. This is the best of Twitter,” Capern said.