After an illustrious 34-year career marked by the investigation of high-profile serial killer cases, Hank Idsinga, the commander of the Toronto Police Service’s homicide unit, has officially announced his retirement.
Dedication Beyond the Call
For Idsinga, the commitment to his role often meant abrupt early morning wake-up calls. “My alarm doesn’t go off at 4:15 in the morning,” he recently reflected to CP24.com. However, the journey to his leave of absence, which started a few weeks ago, was bittersweet. “It’s hard to walk away,” Idsinga admitted, “It’s a lifestyle change for me and for my family too.”
A Storied Career
Beginning his tenure with the force, Idsinga initially served as an officer in the 14th Division for a decade, later transferring to the 51st Division for five years. His expertise led him to the homicide unit in 2005. Notably, his first partner was none other than former police chief Mark Saunders.
The pinnacle of Idsinga’s career, however, was his investigation into serial killer Bruce McArthur. “McArthur is certainly the most high-profile case I’ve ever been involved in,” Idsinga shared. McArthur’s case in 2018 was so extensive that it became Idsinga’s full-time job, requiring him to work closely with both the public and the media.
Notable Cases and Their Impact
By 2019, Bruce McArthur pleaded guilty to the murder and dismemberment of eight men over a span of seven years. Idsinga described the McArthur investigation as a “career-defining” case. In a touching gesture, a friend of Andrew Kinsman, McArthur’s last victim, reached out to Idsinga after learning about his retirement. The message thanked him and the investigative team for their relentless pursuit of justice.
Beyond the McArthur case, Idsinga’s experience in the unit had him investigate another serial killer, Mark Moore, in 2010. Moore, an aspiring rapper, murdered four people in a 75-day killing spree. Idsinga noted the rarity of such investigations, stating, “I don’t think anyone starts their law enforcement career, or even their homicide career, thinking they’ll ever be involved in something like this. And I ended up being involved in two cases like that.”
Legacy and Moving Forward
Idsinga’s dedication to his field transcends his retirement. He continues to give presentations on lessons from the McArthur investigation to other police services in Ontario. Additionally, he plans to teach at Humber College, imparting knowledge in both the forensic identification and police foundations programs.
Reflecting on the performance of the homicide unit under his leadership, Idsinga mentioned that they achieved their highest case resolution rate in over two decades in 2022, exceeding 80%. He expressed optimism about future investigative methods, particularly the growing utilization of genetic genealogy, a technique credited with solving decades-old cases.
While the 4 a.m. alarms might not be missed, Idsinga did express a sentiment of nostalgia for the camaraderie. “I will definitely miss the people I work with. I use this term “working with” very specifically. I’m not a big advocate of the hierarchical structure,” he mentioned.
As he turns the page on this chapter, Idsinga, an ardent road cyclist, looks forward to charity bike rides, teaching opportunities, and overdue home renovations. “I’m going to enjoy my retirement,” he remarked with a smile, “I neglected renovations around the house for 20 years.”