Cop back where career began

[attach]1614[/attach]After 37 years with the Toronto Police Service, Robert Clarke is now right back where he started.

Clarke began his career pounding the pavement as a rookie constable in 32 Division and nearly four decades later was named the division’s new top cop.

Coming full circle gives Clarke an advantage in his new post, he said.

“You never really do get to know a division better than being a constable and out on the road.” said Clarke. “When we talk about particular issues and particular neighbourhoods and issues associated with those locations, I know them all.”

But the area has also changed since he patrolled the beat.

“Every alley I walked as a constable is gone and is now a condominium building,” Clarke said. “With (growth) comes a great population and terrible traffic woes.”

On the top of his list of goals for the division is improving traffic safety and to reduce drunk driving through well-placed RIDE checks and additional training for his officers.

“Impaired driving is a very technical charge,” he said. “Unfortunately, some people shy away from it because it’s a tough charge to prove in court.”

A month into his new job, Clarke said the division is an effective and productive one, and the area is in good hands.

“People in 32 Division are from every walk of life and ethnic background within close quarters,” Clarke said “But it seems to work and it’s a safe division and I’d certainly like to promote that and keep it that way.”

Clarke said he is happy about coming back to the division where he started and says it may also be where he ends his career.

“It’s a wonderful place to work,” he said. “Although I have no plans for retirement, I’m quite confident that I will retire here.”