Wednesday, December 1, 1999

Chris Eby

p. A20.

Fantino denies deal made with police union

Police chief-designate Julian Fantino is furious over a published report that he was hired because of a deal made with the police union.

The current York Region chief dismissed the story, which appeared in the Toronto Sun yesterday, that he would have pressured Deputy Chief Robert Kerr to resign once he took office early next year. He called the story a "falsehood" and labelled it "mischief on the part of someone."

The Sun quoted sources who said there was an understanding between Craig Bromell, president of the Toronto Police Association, and Chief Fantino.

'I don't know what to make of it," Deputy Chief Kerr said in an interview yesterday. "I find it hard to believe, but I would like to know if my name came up in any of those meetings."

Deputy Chief Kerr drew the ire of the police union in 1994 when he suggested that the officers responsible for the botched takedown of Citytv assignment Dwight Drummond, two years earlier, be put before a board of inquiry.

Repeated investigations into the officers' actions and Deputy Chief Kerr's suggestion, sparked a wildcat strike at 51 Division in regent Park on Jan. 26, 1995, led by Mr. Bromell, a little known constable at the time.

A candidate for chief in 1994, and the pick of Susan Eng, then the chair of the Police Services Board, Deputy Chief Kerr said he feels the 7,000-member police union is becoming far too powerful, and described the hardline tactics of Mr. Bromell and his executive as "disgusting."

He said he felt like he "needed to take a shower" after watching a recent profile of Mr. Bromell on the CBC's the fifth estate.

When asked if the police union is in a position to broker deals with candidates for the job of chief, Norm Gardner, chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, replied, "Absolutely not."

"There couldn't have been any deals, because the union doesn't have the power to make any deals," he said.

For his part, Mr. Bromell has denied any such deal was struck, but said he and Chief Fantino met, but only to discuss such issues as law and order, the police association and crime legislation.

Meantime, Deputy Chief Kerr confirmed rumours yesterday that he plans to retire in the spring.

"I haven't done the paperwork yet," he said. "People in this organization don't consider you gone until you're physically out of the door."

Toronto Police clippings… [Fiona Stewart]

Created: October 8, 2000
Last modified: October 8, 2000
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