Facing Emergencies Together

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 1:50 p.m. November 16, 2016

Emergency management is a shared responsibility, Chief Mark Saunders told delegates at the opening of the ninth annual Toronto Emergency Management Symposium at the police college on November 16.

A man in TPS uniform at a podium
Chief Mark Saunders underlined the importance of community policing as part of emergency management

“What I like, when I look around the room, is that there is a multitude of agencies all combined for a common cause and that is about keeping our communities safe,” said Saunders, in his welcome address to the professionals charged with responding in emergency scenarios, whether natural disaster or terrorist attack. “If we co-ordinate our assets and have a firm understanding of what we can all bring to the table, we have a better grasp of maximizing what we are assigned to do.”

Chief Saunders said community policing is now a cornerstone of emergency management.

“The ability of developing those relationships, and having an understanding of the roles that they play and the importance that we let our officers know how vital that is if we are going to keep our communities safe, is critical,” the Chief said.

“As we learn to develop more trust and, more importantly, when we get the opportunity of meeting each other before a critical incident then, when something happens, we are not introducing ourselves with business cards because relationships are already forged. We know outcomes have a better chance of successful conclusions.”

The TPS and the Toronto Association of Police & Privacy Security (TAPPS) co-sponsored the event.

This year’s event attracted delegates from around Canada and the United States, including New York Police Department Deputy Chief Paul Ciorra and Calgary Fire Department Assistant Deputy Chief Ken McMullen.

A man in TPS uniform at a podium
Superintendent Bill Neadles speaks at the 2016 Emergency Management Symposium
TPS crest watermark