After a turbulent relationship with the outgoing head of Ontario's police watchdog, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says he expects an "excellent working relationship" with the agency's incoming director.
Next month, veteran Crown attorney Tony Loparco, who currently runs the Crown office in Scarborough, will step into the role of head of Ontario's Special Investigations Unit.
"He's a very experienced Crown, well-known by my officers, and very respected," Chief Blair said in an interview with The Globe and Mail Monday.
"I have every confidence of Mr. Loparco's background – he'll bring his experience, and he'll have our full support to do the important work he has to do."
Mr. Loparco takes over the SIU during a particularly tumultuous time for the agency and its relationship with the Toronto Police. Ian Scott, whose five-year term ends next month, was an outspoken critic of Toronto's force. Just last month, he singled out Chief Blair, accusing the chief of not co-operating with the SIU.
"He doesn't answer my letters, and I think if he bought into the concept [of public confidence in civilian oversight], there would be a freer discourse and dialogue between the two of us," Mr. Scott told The Globe and Mail last month.
In response at the time, Mark Pugash, the spokesman for the Toronto Police, called Mr. Scott's comments "totally wrong," and referred to a 2011 report by former Ontario chief justice Patrick LeSage saying that police chiefs must report to police boards, and not to the SIU.
When asked whether he has any regrets on the way the situation was handled, Chief Blair said "not at all. I didn't engage with Mr. Scott on the matter."
He said that his responsibility is to ensure that officers co-operate with the SIU in investigations, and that all SIU directors – including Mr. Scott – have received this co-operation.
"Mr. Scott's free to make whatever comments, and he's made them. I'm not going to debate the law with Mr. Scott," he said. "I do, however, look forward to working collaboratively with his successor."