Head of Toronto's police union announces retirement
TORONTO -- The head of Toronto’s police union will be stepping down from his role this summer.
A spokesperson for Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack confirmed Tuesday night that he plans to step down from his post on Aug. 1.
McCormack has been head of the association for the past 11 years, nearly four full terms.
His retirement will come just a day after Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders steps down from his post.
It also comes amid a wave of calls for reforming how police services function.
Not shy to speak out, McCormack has often found himself at odds with higher ups in the Toronto Police Service, as well as critics of Toronto police.
He has pushed back against efforts to limit the role of police and the number of officers on the street.
While his role has sometimes brought him into conflict with Chief Mark Saunders, he recently told CP24 that the two nonetheless respect each other.
“By nature of the relationship, you’re going to have conflicts, which we did. When we didn’t like what the chief was doing, we made sure we stood up and made our voices heard, but that’s the nature of the business,” McCormack told CP24.
The son of former Toronto police chief William McCormack, Mike McCormack was a Toronto police officer for 24 years prior to heading up the TPA.
An unabashed advocate for police officers, McCormack offered a blunt assessment of the stresses of the job in a 2016 interview with CP24.com on the mental health struggles faced by some officers.
“You’re walking on the train tracks because somebody’s jumped in front of a train or throwing body parts on a stretcher, you walk into a place where people are dead or people have been shot and you’re holding people’s heads together and everything else.
“And then you’re supposed to go ‘ok, just another day at the office.’”
While his advocacy made him popular with the TPA membership, his retirement from the post comes at a time when police services everywhere are facing loud calls for changes in the face of renewed awareness about systemic and anti-Black racism.
Toronto City Council recently voted for a raft of changes to the police service that includes body-worn cameras, changing the process for how police respond to people in crisis and other measures aimed at combatting systemic racism. Council declined, however, a call by some protesters to defund the police service.
McCormack was not available for interviews on Tuesday evening. However he is expected to talk about his retirement Wednesday morning on CP24.