Toronto’s next top cop may very well hail from that city’s toughest neighbourhood: Regent Park.
Former Ottawa Police Insp. and current Cobourg Police Chief Kai Liu is being scouted by the Toronto Police Services Board, the Sun has learned.
Outgoing Police Chief Bill Blair’s contract expires next year and will not be extended.
Liu, Ontario’s first visible minority police chief, is out of the country and couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.
Sources tell the Sun he is an ideal choice.
“I think the Toronto PSB is determined to take this opportunity to make a bold change,” said a source who cannot be named.
“It’s unheard of to not renew a chief’s contract.”
Former Ottawa Police Chief and Senator Vern White told the Sun Tuesday he isn’t ruling out the possibility of throwing his hat in the ring to replace Blair, making Liu the second cop with Ottawa ties to be linked to the Toronto gig.
Born in Taiwan, Liu’s family relocated to Toronto and Montreal.
He became Ottawa’s first Asian police officer in 1986, spending 22 years in the capital.
Liu worked his way up to Inspector, building a reputation as an innovator and champion for diversity in the workplace – and his stance on tackling violence against women earned accolades from women’s groups – before leaving for the top job in Gananoque four years ago.
White, in a 2008 media report, was quoted saying Liu “changed the perception when it comes to recruiting,” noting Ottawa had the highest percentage of female officers.
Liu became interested in policing while living in Regent Park, Canada’s first and largest public housing community, which is currently undergoing redevelopment.
In a 2012 Liu told QMI Agency he was eight-years-old when a friend in Toronto went missing.
Being asked to help locate his friend planted the seed that “the police were there to help,” Liu said.
LIU’S CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
2003: First male recipient of the Ottawa Immigrant Women’s Services Award
May 2007: Asian of the Year Award
2008: National Enriching My Canada & Yours Lifetime Achievement Award.
Aug. 2008 to Sept. 2012: Chief of Gananoque Police
Sept. 2012 to present: Cobourg’s Chief of Police
2013: Received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
Invited by the United Nations and CIDA to lecture globally on domestic violence and violence against women
Police Exemplary Service Medal