Incoming regional police chief not ruling out a station in Malton
Photos by Mansoor Tanweer and Joel Wittnebel

Incoming regional police chief not ruling out a station in Malton

Incoming Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah isn’t ruling out the idea of reopening a police station in Malton, a community roiled by a mass shooting that left a 17-year-old bystander dead and five others wounded, less than two years after the community station was closed.

“I think if the public feels that they need a presence, it’s our job to figure out how to get that to them — whether it’s in a mechanism of added uniform presence, higher visibility, whether it’s a facility that people can use. I think all those options need to be considered,” Duraiappah told The Pointer on Thursday. The former deputy chief in Halton Region takes the helm of the third largest police service in Ontario on Oct. 1, replacing acting chief Chris McCord. 

But he didn’t definitively state that Peel police would establish a station in the community. “I think it would be too presumptuous to say,” he said. “I think, ultimately, that’s the board’s decision to do so. But I think my role, when I land on Tuesday, will be to get the full team together and get the full assessment.” 

Duraiappah has a lot on his plate, particularly in a region that is seeing increased violent crime. Homicides rose 62.5 percent from 2016 to 2017 and by 63 percent from 2017 to 2018.


The past couple of years have been bloody ones for Mississauga and Brampton, the cities patrolled by Peel Regional Police, as both shooting and stabbing incidents increased, by 33 percent and 55 percent respectively, from 2017 to 2018. 

“Statistical significance is something that we often look at, and needs to be looked at, at a broader scale. I think we all believe the gravity in some of these incidents that have happened in the last two weeks have been so rare — they don’t happen at this frequency,” he said. Where things are headed across the GTA, where crime knows no boundaries, is “of concern, of course, to every chief. We are intending to find ways, not in isolation, to deal with it.” 

New Peel police Chief Nishan (Nish) Duraiappah

On Saturday, Sept. 14, Jonathan Davis was killed in a shootout at a parkette and parking lot behind 7230 Darcel Ave. in Malton, where roughly 100 rounds were discharged. On the following Monday, there was a gangland-style ambush in north Brampton and one in central Mississauga. A Mississauga man was injured in a targeted shooting as he got into his Mercedes Benz, three days after Davis was killed. That was the fourth shooting incident in mere days.   

Last Friday, the Liberal Party of Canada announced that, if re-elected, they would ban assault weapons and reinforce gun control measures. The party said in a press release that they would build on Bill C-71, “An Act to Amend certain Acts and Regulations in relation to firearms.” They pledged to ban “all military-style assault rifles,” like the AR-15, work with provinces and territories to give municipalities the ability to further restrict or ban handguns and make it more difficult for legal weapons to fall into the hands of criminals, by strengthening safe-storage laws. 

Duraiappah said that such legislation isn’t the cure-all for what is currently ailing the region when it comes to crime. “It’s not a panacea,” he said. “I think if we’re looking for opportunities to mitigate risk, that might be one avenue, which I think, one of the things we need to say is, ‘lawful gun-owners, for the most part, are really quite diligent.’ But if we navigate and we remove some little risk, I think it’s a big opportunity.” 

The Davis murder cuts a little deeper, though. Up until Feb. 28, 2018, a Malton community police station was located a few blocks away from where Davis was shot. Mississauga Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish fought hard to save that station, but in the end, Peel Regional Police and the Peel Police Services Board closed it. 

Former chief Jennifer Evans, who left the job in January, cited high rent as one of the justifications for closing the Malton station. In 2018, it cost $15,430 monthly, whereas a community station at Square One cost $3,500 and one at Cassie Campbell Community Centre was $661. 

Former chief Jennifer Evans

Parrish tends to agree with Duraiappah’s response that it is, ultimately, up to the Police Services Board as to whether or not a station and local detachment will be established in Malton. “It is up to the PSB (Police Services Board) to make the ultimate decision on funding a full division for Malton,” Parrish said in an email. “I’m very optimistic that he feels it’s the job of the Police to serve the wishes and needs of the public they serve.” 

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie weighed in on the issue as well. “My concern, of course, is that Malton isn’t served in a timely manner because of its isolation and distance to the closest station,” she said. “It was helpful when we had a community station, but Malton is a high priority area … we want to ensure that they have the same policing standards as everywhere else in Mississauga and Brampton.” 

Duraiappah takes over from McCord on Tuesday, the day before McCord retires. Duraiappah said his transition has been “remarkable” and doesn’t feel like he has been left hanging. “We’ve been at it for weeks — literally, every day, on the phone and had lots of conversations, so I don’t come in cold. There’s some things that, clearly, I’m going to have to immerse myself with.” 

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Twitter: @dancalabrett

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