Centennial Journalism students Bria John, Supt. Heinz Kuck, Eric Pember, Stephanie Bacchus and Ben Rappaport during interview at the Story Arts Centre in March, 2015.

Supt. Kuck says ‘No’ to chief’s job, but ‘Yes’ to policing

11 Division head concentrating on community policing in Toronto

Spt. Heinz Kuck told Centennial College students on Friday that he’s not interested in filling Chief Bill Blair’s shoes.

“It would be an amazing experience but my energy, my focus, the rest of my career is going to be dedicated towards victims’ advocacy, charity work and volunteerism,” Kuck said.

The 37-year veteran officer said he’s sad to see Blair go but working as the police chief in Canada’s largest city, and the kind of work he wants to do, are incompatible.

“If I were Chief of Police, I could not do [victim advocacy]. It would be a different calling, at a different level,” he said.

To Kuck, victim advocacy is a way to serve victims so they don’t feel afraid anymore and make the community feel safer.

Kuck is an avid fundraiser for Victim Services Toronto. The agency, started in 1979 by Toronto Police Services and local community agencies, provides crisis support for victims of crime. He’s personally raised about $55,000 for them over the years.

He recently came back from a dog-sledding adventure to James Bay that raised almost $11,000 for the charity. The 10-day, 19-dog expedition was twice the scope of his expedition last year. Every year he’s been trumping himself in his efforts to raise money. But according to Kuck, hardship is necessary to appeal to the hearts and minds of donors.

“I have to look at the victims that they deal with and how I can, myself, endure a little bit of that empathetic, sympathetic pain myself, through the hardship,” he told the students at the Story Arts Centre.

Kuck said setting tough goals is important to grow. Over the last three and half decades as a cop, he says he’s matured.

“Thirty seven years ago the whole focus for me was ‘Get the bad guys, get arrests.’ It was all about protecting society through enforcement and arrests. As I go through the maturation process, that part diminishes. And what increases is victim’s advocacy because that’s where you see the greatest yield,” he said.

This year he started “Coffee with the Cop” in his division. All his officers will go out to different coffee shops across the division to converse with residents, once or twice a month. It’s an effort to communicate with community members who don’t report crime. He hopes to sit down with residents and talk candidly about their experiences.

“It’s gives them a voice which previously would have been unheard about emerging crime trends, to which I can now react,” he said.

So the glory and power of chief is not what he’s looking for.

“The currency I want paid is hearts and minds and making a difference,” he said.

Follow Kuck as he prepares for his next fundraising challenge: the Yorkdale Run.