Ron Taverner has requested that his name be withdrawn from consideration for commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.
“This decision is not an easy one for me to make,” Taverner wrote in a letter to Community Safety Minister Sylvia Jones. “I believe the OPP requires new leadership and a change in culture at its most senior levels.”
Taverner was controversially named by Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government to become the next chief of the OPP in late November.
Taverner later requested that the appointment be delayed, and the government said it would “respect” the request while the province’s integrity commissioner reviews the circumstances of his selection.
Taverner, a longtime family friend of Premier Doug Ford, did not meet the original requirements for the job posting. The government said it lowered the job qualifications to attract a wider field of candidates. He was later approved as the next OPP commissioner by the Ontario cabinet.
Ford has repeatedly denied any involvement in Taverner’s appointment, and said the decision was made by a hiring panel.
Taverner — a 51-year veteran of Toronto police who leads the force’s Etobicoke divisions — said he decided to withdraw to protect the integrity of rank-and-file police officers, given the controversy surrounding his appointment.
Taverner’s decision comes two days after the dismissal of OPP deputy commissioner Brad Blair.
Blair was dismissed Monday for allegedly revealing confidential OPP information, which the Ford government has called a breach of his oath as an officer.