Andy Pringle admits he was a bit of critic of police when he joined the Toronto Police Service Services Board (TPSB).
Eight years later on his way out as Chair, he’s a huge fan and supporter of the men and women that work for Canada’s largest municipal police service.
“Working with these people has been the most satisfying moment of my time here,” said Pringle, on his last day on the job on September 30. “We ask them to do an extraordinarily difficult job day in and day out and they do it brilliantly. That’s the overriding positive that I am walking away with.”
Working with Chief Mark Saunders, said Pringle, was also another highlight of his time with the organization.
They co-chaired the Transformational Task Force (TTF) that consulted the public and searched for best practices in creating The Way Forward Action Plan, which outlines modernization for the Service.
“Mark has a real heart and, in embracing transformational change, he has showed that he really wants to make a difference,” Pringle said. “It was never a budget exercise. It was really about identifying the jobs that the Service should be doing and how we can leverage technology. It is about increasing productivity and giving support to the men and women. Mark has been very committed to that and he has done an extraordinary job.”
A Board Member since 2011 and elected Vice-Chair in January 2015, Pringle was the TPSB Chair since July 2015. He is being replaced on the Board by City Council citizen representative Jim Hart and a new Chair will be selected at the next public TPSB meeting on October 22.
He noted he is leaving the Board at a time when it’s working proactively with the Service to set an agenda for excellence under the leadership of TPSB Executive Director Ryan Teschner.
I knew in coming to the Toronto Police Services Board that Andy Pringle would do what he does which is bring an incredible moderation, sensitivity, empathy and ability to listen to people
Chief Saunders said he’s relished his time working with Pringle.
“The thing that I like is when I look around the room and I see so many different layers of people that surround you, it really is a testament of who you are and how you played the role so fantastically as Chair, not just making sure that we are doing it right, but making sure we are treating people with dignity and respect,” the Chief told the outgoing Chair.
Mayor John Tory, who is also a TPSB member, said Pringle’s people-oriented skills served him well on the Board.
“I knew in coming to the Toronto Police Services Board that Andy Pringle would do what he does which is bring an incredible moderation, sensitivity, empathy and ability to listen to people,” he said. “I know in this job he has sat with people and rightly listened to what they had to say.”
Tory added that Pringle laid the foundation for some of the trust that had dissipated in the police.
“The leadership that he has shown in making sure that he had a much bigger sensitivity to the problems of trust that had arisen between different communities in the city and the police dealing with some of the issues where we were not approaching those who were afflicted by mental illness and how their relationship was evolving with the police were incredibly important things that he took leadership on,” the Mayor said. “He had an ability to understand how fast you can bring that change about.”
Vice-Chair Marie Moliner, who was appointed to the Board by the province in 2012, presented a plaque to Pringle on behalf of Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford.
“There’s no pleasure greater than to honour someone you have grown to admire, love and respect,” she said. “It’s rarely what you do that you remember. It is how you make people feel and I have to say you have done a remarkable job. You have done a lot. You have professionalized the police service, you have built relationships of trust that frankly didn’t exist prior to your role in this position and you have made the women and men of the Service feel that your care deeply about what goes on.”
Toronto Police Association Chair Mike McCormack and Supt. Peter Code, representing the Senior Police Officers, also made presentations to Pringle, who was later piped out of Headquarters on his last day. Transformational Task Force member and Civic Action CEO Sevaun Palvetzian and Police and Community Engagement Review Advisory Committee Co-Chair Audrey Campbell also recognized Pringle’s work.