The head of Toronto’s homicide squad said it should come as no surprise that his long time colleague, Supt. Ronald Taverner has been appointed commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.
Taverner is unit commander at 23, 12 and 31 Divisions.
Taverner is a longtime friend of the Ford family. His north Etobicoke police division borders the Ford’s home. He attended Rob Ford’s 2016 funeral, where he was welcomed by family matriarch Diane Ford.
Acting Insp. Hank Idsinga echoed sentiments shared by the police community and leaders of various community agencies, as cited by the police, lauding Taverner as an advocate for building relationships with marginalized communities.
“It’s a big loss for us, but he’s put in a lot of years,” Idsinga said of Taverner’s departure after five decades serving in various divisions and units, including intelligence, organized crime enforcement, outlaw motorcycle gangs and community policing. “He has definitely made things better for us. He’s going to be an asset for the OPP.
Taverner’s appointment was announced Thursday by Sylvia Jones, Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. He will assume his role as Ontario’s top cop, Dec. 17. He replaces Vince Hawkes, who recently retired after over four years at the helm.
“With over 50 years’ experience, Ron brings (with him) the support of front-line officers, community leaders and our respected law enforcement professionals,” said Jones. “We will be well served by an officer who has dedicated his life to making our communities a safer place to live.”
“I’ve known Taverner for 30 years,” Idsinga said Thursday. “He was staff sergeant at 14 division when I started there.”
Idsinga said Taverner’s leadership skills fit him for the task of managing the big challenge of leading the OPP, which consists of more than 6,000 uniformed officers and nearly 3,000 civilian members.
“I don’t think his appointment comes as a surprise at all,” Idsinga said. “Toronto produces some of the best police leaders.”
The careers of both lawmen have intertwined over the years, with Taverner serving as a mentor and senior officer throughout various junctures in Idsinga’s own move up the ranks.
“He was the unit commander of 51 Division, when I first got promoted to sergeant, and he brought me to 51 Division,” Idsinga said.
Idsinga recalls Taverner answering the call for support on many occasions during murder investigations in 23 Division, where Taverner serves as unit commander.
“Almost every time we go there, no matter when, the first person you end up seeing is Ron,” Idsinga said. “He’ll bend over backwards to get the job done and get you whatever you need. He literally will run around moving furniture for us.”
Taverner received the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, in 2009.
The government announcement mentions Taverner’s involvement with numerous community agencies, such as Albion Neighbourhood Services and Truth 15 Community Support.
He was praised by Althea Martin Risden, director, health promotion, Rexdale Community Health Centre (RCHC), one of the community agencies Taverner supported during his tenure.
“Superintendent Ron Taverner has been a great partner and leader in the Rexdale Community,” Martin Risden said. “He has given of his time to many initiatives one such being the Healthy Kids Community Challenge Rexdale, a program of RCHC, as a community champion, and specifically supported the development of Hockey in Rexdale, which was an initiative to teach kids to skate.”
Jason Miller is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Reach him on email: email@example.com