By Ewart Walters
Ottawa – August 26, 2019 – Ottawa’s new Police Chief is former Toronto Deputy Chief Peter Sloly, 55, it was announced by the Ottawa Police Services Board at Ottawa City Hall on Monday August 26. Chief Sloly’s appointment is effective in October, 2019.
Sloly came to Canada from Jamaica when he was 10. He resigned from policing in Toronto three years ago after a 27 year career, following an unsuccessful bid for the city’s top police job. At the time, Toronto was in the grip of a blazing debate over “carding.” Pushed by the Black community, the Police Board had developed an anti-carding policy, but the Mayor and the police union were dead set against it, claiming that this procedure was a useful tool. The job was given to another Black officer of Jamaican extraction, Mark Saunders, instead.
Sloly went to work in risk advisory practice with accounting firm Deloitte Touche, as a partner and National Security and Justice Leader. There, he specialized in building leading edge cyber-security capacity, modernizing organisations for success in the digital age, and implementing successful diversity and inclusion/human capital strategies. But policing never left his heart and when the call reached him from Black Agenda Noir to consider the vacancy in Ottawa, he responded. He has cited the need for advancements in how cops work and serve their communities, changes to how they equip themselves to go to work and changes to police financing.
Chief Sloly who has stated that policing needs to change, is coming to lead a police service that has for some time been talking about the need for “a culture change,” although the talk has not gone much further. Only in the last two years can the capital city boast seven Black Police Inspectors, three of them female. There is also, for the first time, a Deputy Chief who is a visible minority.
The OPS has also consigned a Diversity Audit to consultants Graybridge Malkam. But the push towards diversity and culture change has not yet reached either the tipping point or the ranks of Superintendent.
In the meantime, Ottawa has seen several significant Black appointments in the last two years. First there was the first Black Justice of the Peace Paul Harris, then the first Black Director of Education Camille Williams-Taylor, and more recently, the election of the first Black city councillor after 163 years, Rawlson King.
Sloly was a command officer during two tours of duty with the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo in 2001 and 2002.
Born in Jamaica he moved to Canada at age 10. He is an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces, has received the United Nations Peacekeeping medal, the Canadian Peacekeeping Medal, the Police Exemplary Service Medal and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for public service.
He is also a former Canadian national soccer player, has a master’s degree in business administration and is married with two children.
About the writer
Ewart Walters is a journalist, author and former diplomat. Former Publisher and Editor of the defunct Black newspaper “The Spectrum”, he is a recipient of numerous awards including the Order of Ottawa