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Toronto Police Service Reformation

Admiral Beez

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I'd like to start a thread on the current state and necessary reformation of the TPS. Those that have known me for a while know this is a bit a sea-change for me, but with one attempted murder conviction and five officers charged this week, plus costs per officers skyrocketing, I believe a reformation is needed. A few topics....

1) Creation of a Traffic Enforcement unit, very similar to Vancouver's traffic authority http://vancouver.ca/police/recruiting/traffic-authority/ Costing half that of a TPS constible, a TTA (Toronto Traffic Authority) officer could cover speeding, auto and bicycle use enforcement. At an equal budget, we could have a lot more of them. They could have equal powers to that of the current Parking Enforcement officers, or be fully armed and sworn officers like the traffic department of the NYPD.

2) Tasers and de-escalation training for all officers.
 
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kbdid

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May I add a few:

Mental health teams available to all divisions (to attend scenes with police where required).

In addition to tasers, other non-lethal weaponry (bean bag guns?)

Assessment and training - I have no idea what kind of psychological screening or treatment (if any) the force carries out/provides for its members but maybe it needs ramping up along with training in de escalation/mental health issues.
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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Above all, I think there needs to be a tighter focus on high quality recruitment, training and anti-corruption efforts in the force. It seems like they have a long-standing discipline problem at their hands - which frankly not only undermines the work of the police, but the ability of the police to govern themselves.

Paying the police well is the right thing to do - but there should be higher expectations and standards attached to that.

AoD
 

Admiral Beez

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All good points and ideas. What about changing the rules for paid duty jobs at construction sites? Jurisdictions around the country and continent make due to traffic cones or auxiliary police staff.
 

Admiral Beez

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Above all, I think there needs to be a tighter focus on high quality recruitment, training and anti-corruption efforts in the force.
Agreed 100%. A person should be joining the police for the same reason someone becomes a nurse, paramedic or social worker; a personal calling to help the community. No, it's not all tambourines, and you're going to have to sometimes face some of society's nastiest and most violent people, but the paramilitarization of policing needs to stop. Why the black uniforms, why keep your officers in their cars, why not return to beat cops walking their neighbourhoods?
 

riffraff

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Mental health support teams actually have a precedent. I think it was in the 80s that the city tried to link female social workers with some cops responding to domestic violence calls. A friend of mine was on these kinds of calls, and the strategy was to get her into the home to calm and de-escalate the situation, and if necessary to get the victim out of the home for medical help and psychological support as needed. The police would then stay with the suspect to do an initial assessment and decide how to proceed.

This was a trial program and I don't remember if it was ever formalized. My friend's perceptions were that the cops weren't really committed to the process and she felt that she had been used as a pawn by the officers who really just wanted to go in and make an arrest presuming that it would never get to court. The safety of the officers was their first concern, and the safety of the victim (usually the woman) or the abuser was secondary. I don't know how long the strategy was tried. The cops weren't happy "doing social work".

After Yatim, does anybody know what's happening about Andrew Loku? Was there security video in the building? I don't recall seeing anything in this case. Another situation where police body cams would have been helpful.

I like a lot of the suggestions that are being made, but for me the key is better transparency and civilian accountability - more than just holding the purse strings is needed. It will be interesting to see the Police Act changes the province comes up with.
 

riffraff

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Just to say thanks Admiral for starting this thread. I lost all confidence in the police after the G20 and I have been trying to keep an eye on the situation in US cities because I think we have been following some similar trends in spite of our different situations.
 

the lemur

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AlvinofDiaspar

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This was a trial program and I don't remember if it was ever formalized. My friend's perceptions were that the cops weren't really committed to the process and she felt that she had been used as a pawn by the officers who really just wanted to go in and make an arrest presuming that it would never get to court. The safety of the officers was their first concern, and the safety of the victim (usually the woman) or the abuser was secondary. I don't know how long the strategy was tried. The cops weren't happy "doing social work".
Police forces have difficulties in handling the blue of wall silence around domestic abuse in general.

AoD
 

AlvinofDiaspar

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No, it's not all tambourines, and you're going to have to sometimes face some of society's nastiest and most violent people, but the paramilitarization of policing needs to stop. Why the black uniforms, why keep your officers in their cars, why not return to beat cops walking their neighbourhoods?
You can thank Fantino for that.

AoD
 

Admiral Beez

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After Yatim, does anybody know what's happening about Andrew Loku? Was there security video in the building? I don't recall seeing anything in this case. Another situation where police body cams would have been helpful.
IMO that was a stupid escalation by the police arriving on the scene. The guy's holding a small hammer while standing around with his neighbours, and then he's shot dead.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/the-life-and-bloody-death-of-andrew-loku
 

Skeezix

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All good points and ideas. What about changing the rules for paid duty jobs at construction sites? Jurisdictions around the country and continent make due to traffic cones or auxiliary police staff.
City Council changed the rules for paid duty officers in 2011, mostly in an effort to save the city money (but also responding to business and resident complaints that paid duty officers were expensive and often unnecessary). IIRC, the reform wasn't as comprehensive or as ambitious as some hoped, due both to police pushback and various other complications.

Based on this recent item, it appears that the 2011 reforms did not result in much savings for the city, and that further/more extensive reforms are on hold while TPS studies the issue.
 

Armour

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Not an important issue, but does anyone else miss the old navy blue and white cruisers? They looked so much classier than the current vehicles (which were implemented in the mid 90s, I believe).
 

riffraff

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IMO that was a stupid escalation by the police arriving on the scene. The guy's holding a small hammer while standing around with his neighbours, and then he's shot dead.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/the-life-and-bloody-death-of-andrew-loku
That's just it - immediately reminded me of the Yatim case. Cops show up, make no attempt to determine what's going on before blasting him, only this time it wasn't in public where there could have been a "risk to bystanders". It was in his assisted living home with a neighbor who obviously had no fear of him. And, noting, both victims were immigrants.

Thanks for the referral to the Post article. So its with the SIU.
 
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