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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tom Kaye a national figure in policing circles

See also Police chief wants tasers for all frontline officers

February 9, 2011
The Sun Times, Owen Sound

Outgoing Owen Sound Police Chief Tom Kaye is well known in policing circles provincially and nationally from his work, and sometimes controversial opinions, as an executive with both the Ontario and Canadian associations of chiefs of police.

Kaye was vice president of the CACP and the spokesperson on the issue when the organization released a policy paper in February 2009 backing the use of Tasers. He argued then that "to date there is no evidence, either scientific or medical, that a conducted energy weapon, has been the direct cause of death, anywhere, at any time, on any person."

Kaye was asked to chair the CACP committee on use of Tasers after "a major meeting in Orillia" that looked at the issue after the widely reported death of Robert Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant who died in October 2007 after RCMP officers Tasered him several times at the Vancouver airport, and several other deaths in Canada.

"Because of his knowledge on it, his interest in the subject, that's why he was appointed as chair of the special purpose committee in order to guide and direct all policing across Canada," Peter Cuthbert, the executive director of the CACP, said Wednesday.

"He's been very, very active and well respected on the board. I mean he's not an individual who comes to the table and stays quiet and mute, I'll tell you that," Cuthbert added.

Kaye said in January he looked forward to the day when every front-line police officer would carry a Taser.

During his time on the executive of the OACP, "Chief Kaye dealt with a lot of really important issues," said Jim Couto, the director of government relations and communications with the Ontario association.

"For instance, issues of diversity and the issue of racial profiling in policing, those were issues I know during his time were very prominent and he played a really key role in developing policing to a position where we acknowledge the unfortunate existence of that particular issue, racial profiling, and working with communities to move forward," he said.

"This is going to become a growth industry," Kaye was quoted as saying in 2001 about accusations of racial profiling by police. "That's what we've seen in the United States. It's become a multimillion-dollar business for consultants to come in and try and rid your organization of racism."

He was also quoted as saying that racism in police services is "certainly not something that we're that concerned about, because we don't believe it exists."

"Chief Kaye has always been very passionate about policing and what it can do in terms of community building and the role it plays in communities, in everyday lives of people," Couto said.

"Coming from a middle-sized service like Owen Sound, Chief Kaye had a really unique impact on OACP and certainly policing in the province. He was very well respected and his work at the CACP has been phenomenal . . . He's not a guy who shies away from tackling tough issues. I think he's done a fantastic job representing us not only in Ontario but across Canada."

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