Former Toronto Police Chief Bill McCormack has died at the age of 83 from undisclosed health issues.
Toronto police confirmed McCormack, who was chief of the then-Metropolitan Toronto Police Force from 1989 to 1995, passed away on Thursday afternoon.
Current Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters Thursday that McCormack was among one of the “rock stars” of the homicide unit and will be fondly remembered among officers.
“I had the opportunity of serving under Chief McCormack and it was back in the early days when I was a constable and he was one of those leaders that walks among giants,” Saunders said.
“Some of the things that I know that will carry on throughout the legacy of policing is the fact that he was the chief that implemented the ceremonial unit, which is a unit that proudly represents the Toronto Police Service all over the world, as well as a chief that understood the importance of history and which is why we have a museum which is still ongoing.”
Toronto Police Services Board Chair Andy Pringle said McCormack was committed to the role of chief and to keeping the streets of Toronto safe.
“I know from speaking to his colleagues, many of whom are still here at the service, how incredibly highly regarded Chief McCormack was, how respected he was by the men and women of the Toronto Police Service,” he said.
“His legacy will live on through the strength of our city and indeed also through the work of his children who continue, many of them, with the service today.”
McCormack leaves behind his wife Jean and their children, in addition to his son Mike McCormack who is the current president of the Toronto Police Association.
Pringle said it was a “sad day for the city” and Saunders said a visitation will be held Sunday, with a funeral scheduled for Monday at St. Paul’s church in Toronto. Additional details will be available on the Toronto Police Service’s website.
“[He was] very personable, understood the bigger picture of holding the office of the chief and really was precedent-setting in the chiefs after, because he basically started a chain of events that other chiefs follow,” Saunders said.