Duty: The Life of a Cop.


320 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 978-1-55263-874-3
DDC 363.2092





Reviewed by Gordon Turner

Gordon Turner is the author of Empress of Britain: Canadian Pacific’s
Greatest Ship and the editor of SeaFare, a quarterly newsletter on sea


No Ontario police officer has achieved as high a profile as Julian Fantino. A long-time member of the Metropolitan Toronto Police, he eventually became police chief in London and later in York Region before returning to Toronto as chief. After his contract with Toronto expired, he became Ontario’s Commissioner of Emergency Management and shortly thereafter Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.


The Italian-born immigrant came to Canada at the age of 11. As a young man he found a job as a security guard in a department store. The next step in has career was to become a policeman in Toronto but this did not happen until his application had been turned down on three occasions.


It is no coincidence that his autobiography is titled Duty. Julian Fantino is a man with a strong sense of duty, someone who makes a sharp distinction between right and wrong. As a result, he has frequently attracted controversy, particularly from left-leaning lawyers, politicians, media members, and pressure groups. The book includes accounts of some of Fantino’s major cases as a front-line cop. He has seen the worst crimes and the vilest criminals close up. Bike gangs, he says, are more dangerous than the Mafia. As a police chief, his battles have often been with those who wield power and influence. He points out the weaknesses of Canada’s justice system and he does not hesitate to provide the names of judges, trial lawyers, politicians, and media members whose efforts, deliberately or by default, have made Canada uncommonly vulnerable to crime.


Fantino offers solutions to the most serious problems. But getting politicians to act is, he claims, difficult to the point of being nearly impossible. His autobiography offers an intriguing insight into the work of a policeman from his early years as a constable on the beat to his rise through the ranks and his command of four major police forces.


Fantino, Julian, with Jerry Amernic., “Duty: The Life of a Cop.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/28877.