LISTEN: The Chief's highlights and low points of 2013

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair says people with mental health problems need help before they get to point of dealing with the police

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair
Photo: CP24

To say the very least, 2013 has been an eventful year for Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair.

He's had to deal with the political hot potato of an investigation into the Mayor's links to criminals and a video of Toronto's top official that seems to show him smoking from a crack pipe.

Blair has also had to answer for several high-profile incidents that have thrust police tactics under the public microscope, including the morning in July that police opened fire on 18-year old Sammy Yatim while he wielded a knife aboard an empty streetcar.

The Chief says he's proud of the fact that Toronto's rates of police-reported major crime have dropped over the course of the year (by 7 percent, according to Statistics Canada).  He says that is due to both the hard work of his officers and the contributions from people in the community. 

On the other hand, Blair calls the death of Cst. John Zivcic in a violent crash in November a low point. 

Blair adds that there were a number of 'challenging events' for the police in 2013 and says that the public deserves full transparency and accountability for how Toronto's police officers do their job. 

The Chief stands by saying he is 'disappointed' in the video detectives seized that appears to show Mayor Rob Ford smoking from a crack pipe. 

When it comes to looking ahead to 2014, Blair says that Toronto has work to improve safety on the roads. 

There was an increase in traffic deaths this year and Blair wants to work on countering that.

The Chief adds that making progress on a pressing issue that emerged in 2013 will take more than just the police to solve.

Blair says as a society, more needs to be done to help people with mental health problems.  He says those people need to get the assistance they need before they get to the point where they have an encounter with the police.

Listen to Chief Blair's full interview with NEWSTALK 1010 reporter Justine Lewkowicz...

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