The York Region Taxpayers Coalition has been engaged with members of the York Regional Police and other front line police officers from other jurisdictions in Ontario regarding the controversy of Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, who marched in Sunday’s Canadian Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Service Parade in Ottawa.
The 39th Annual Canadian Police and Peace Officers’ Memorial Service was held in Ottawa on Sunday, September 25th. York Regional Police sent 30 senior officers and 50 front line officers, as well as 50 Auxiliary Unit members to participate in this solemn event. In recent years, York Regional Police lost two officers in the line of duty. York Regional Police officers continue to mourn the June 28, 2011 passing of Constable Garret Styles and the August 2, 2007 passing of Detective Constable Rob Plunkett.
Although he is appointed Chair of the York Regional Police Services Board, as a civilian, Mayor Scarpitti’s participation in the parade demonstrated a lack of respect for the men and women who put themselves at physical peril while performing their duties as police officers. Scarpitti’s proper place was on the sidelines along with the other dignitaries and members of the public, as our beloved York Regional Police officers honoured their fallen colleagues.
We’ve been told that the organizers of the Memorial Service had arranged a place for dignitaries to view the ceremonies.
The York Region Taxpayers Coalition supports civilian oversight as an important part of our democracy. The York Region Police Services Board, with its appointed members, represent the civilian community in governing policing affairs. Members of the civilian York Region Police Services Board are not police officers and should never represent themselves at official events as such. Mayor Scarpitti would be wise to remember his place, as a civilian, at future official York Regional Police events.