Our Monthly Story

John “Jack” Wesley Ackroyd

Section 8, Lot 401
Prospect Cemetery

Jack Ackroyd was a lover of fine wine, a scuba diver and equally comfortable chatting to the chief executive officer of a prestigious firm as he was with the cop on the beat. A tough-talking cop, himself, Ackroyd was Metropolitan Toronto’s chief of police from 1980 to 1984. Ackroyd was 16 years old when he joined the Toronto police department as a police clerk (the equivalent of today’s cadet) in 1941. During his rise through the ranks, he found time to study psychology, sociology and computer technology. A colourful and controversial individual, when he walked into the chief’s office almost forty years later, the changes he started implementing sent shudders down the spines of some of the forces old-time officers. He demanded openness and honesty above all else. While always ready to support and defend his force, he never failed to admit its shortcomings. When somebody screwed up and a police officer was charged with something, Jack Ackroyd was the one who sent out press releases. Under Ackroyd’s leadership, the force underwent extensive internal reorganization following the controversial 1982 Hickling-Johnson Ltd. consultants’ report which emphasized community needs, foot patrol and police accountability. Described as a strong-willed man, very good at reading character, Ackroyd also had a great sense of humour. Once, while touring refugee camps in Hong Kong, the people there started pointing their fingers at the balding man who greatly resembled a police detective they had seen on television, and shouted “Kojak!  Kojak!”  Ackroyd roared with laughter. Following a lengthy battle with a rare blood disorder, Jack Ackroyd died on September 30, 1992.


 

» Story Archives