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Toronto Police Service Reformation

lenaitch

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Before all of this, I‘d already been pushing for reform of the police, and now is the time to do it. We don’t need cops who are highly trained to deal with violence and who absolutely deserve their high pay for endangering themselves, sitting at construction sites or writing traffic tickets earning $100k/year. We don’t need them interacting with people suffering from homelessness. We don’t need them responding to people in crisis.

Police absolutely need to exist to deal with gangs, homicides, theft and other potentially violent crime. But Parking Enforcement can be expanded into Traffic & Parking Enforcement who dont carry weapons and who are motivated to dealing with actual traffic enforcement and don’t think it’s beneath them. Traffic wardens can manage construction sites just fine. EMS can be expanded and trained to deal with people in mental health crisis. Organizations that deal with homelessness can have their funding increased to better assist with that.

Absolutely, defund the police and redirect that money to appropriate services that have no reason to carry guns.
Just few points:

-you do realize that guarding construction sites, etc. are largely 'paid duties'. I actually think these types of roles could be done by a regulated private industry with a few exceptions.
- perhaps bylaw personnel could deal with homeless persons, but if it involves physical conflict, they'll have to be trained, equipped and no doubt paid more (and probably more if them).
- I'd really like to hear from EMS if they're willing to 'go tactical'; i.e.handle mental distress calls all by their lonesome, ignoring the current lack of authority to treat or transport (take custody) of an unwilling patient.
-I realize this is a urban-centric forum. but unarmed traffic police has been tried. Google New Brunswick Highway Patrol. It all works until somebody gets hurt. If you think it is an isolated incident, I have a couple of names for you.
 

Northern Light

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Body armor is for bullets, not knives, and the rest of you is still exposed, not sure why you'd want to get into a baton fight with a knife, or spray someone (and yourself- not fun btw), your backup might be having to try and stop you from bleeding out,
I've met a bear face to face, it ran the other way, without me hitting it or spraying it; though I could have done either.

When you've been there, call me.
 

Northern Light

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Digression for sure, but I've long argued the amount of gear that is carried. Available - for sure, but you don't need to be equipped like you are on dismounted patrol (infantry term). That's why they wear load bearing vests; they simply ran out of space on the belt and the amount of weight was causing back problems.

There is a lot to recommend the old tech of pen and paper. Never loses charge, no long term data durability problems, really inexpensive, and the simple act of writing slows down down and focuses the thought process. Police notes are first-account evidence and accuracy and completeness are important - two attributes that thumb typing and auto correct don't excel at as we all know. My former service has implemented voice-to-text for incident reports but it is not without problems when used at the institutional level.

Flash light vs cel phone - meh. A flashlight is a focused beam available at the push of a button, as opposed to a flood beam where you have to open the screen, select the function, etc.

Anyway, further digression.


I don't know how realistic things like 24/7 mental health workers and two member patrols are in an isolated town of 16,500 are. Two cars responding perhaps, but then you automatically double the call load if you send two to every call. As always, investigative details will evolve. Tasers and spray, perhaps, but they have limited range and don't always work on everybody, particularly those on drugs or suffering mental illness, and you often don't have time for Plan B if they don't work. Anybody that tries to go hands-on with somebody wielding an edged weapon is, in my opinion, a fool.
I trust your experience and your conscience

But I have to believe there is a way to achieve less worse outcomes.

Too many officers either by way of aggressive impulse, or panic, fail to make life-saving decisions.

If that's the best offer police can muster.......time to re-think.

I'm not one for police abolition. Strikes me as entirely unrealistic.

But we must find a better path.
 

Northern Light

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Article from Globe and Mail Health Reporter Andre Picard on how police handle people having mental health crisis. Good piece.

 

tiffer24

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Changes to policing are not only a moral imperative...

In 2018, New York City taxpayers spent a whopping $230 million settling cases against the NYPD for excessive force, false arrests, etc.

How much did Toronto police payout in settlements last year? Don't know. It's a secret.
 

W. K. Lis

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Article from Globe and Mail Health Reporter Andre Picard on how police handle people having mental health crisis. Good piece.

The police should be in the background, for support. Actual mental health professionals should be handling people with mental health problems.
 

W. K. Lis

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It's the Canadian numbers in this article that peaked my interest. Spillage from the US, unfortunately.

Not just “a few bad apples”: U.S. police kill civilians at much higher rates than other countries

From link.

There is no question that the number of police killings of civilians in the U.S. – who are disproportionately Black and other people of color – are the result of policies and practices that enable and even encourage police violence. Compared to police in other wealthy democracies, American police kill civilians at incredibly high rates:


The chart above compares the annual rates of police killings in each country, accounting for differences in population size. This is the most apples-to-apples comparison we can make. But the total number of deaths at the hands of police is also worth seeing in comparison with other countries:
 

W. K. Lis

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Do not use US policing as a model for Canadian policing.

A Brief History of Slavery and the Origins of American Policing

From link.

The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities. For example, New England settlers appointed Indian Constables to police Native Americans (National Constable Association, 1995), the St. Louis police were founded to protect residents from Native Americans in that frontier city, and many southern police departments began as slave patrols. In 1704, the colony of Carolina developed the nation's first slave patrol. Slave patrols helped to maintain the economic order and to assist the wealthy landowners in recovering and punishing slaves who essentially were considered property.

Policing was not the only social institution enmeshed in slavery. Slavery was fully institutionalized in the American economic and legal order with laws being enacted at both the state and national divisions of government. Virginia, for example, enacted more than 130 slave statutes between 1689 and 1865. Slavery and the abuse of people of color, however, was not merely a southern affair as many have been taught to believe. Connecticut, New York and other colonies enacted laws to criminalize and control slaves. Congress also passed fugitive Slave Laws, laws allowing the detention and return of escaped slaves, in 1793 and 1850. As Turner, Giacopassi and Vandiver (2006:186) remark, “the literature clearly establishes that a legally sanctioned law enforcement system existed in America before the Civil War for the express purpose of controlling the slave population and protecting the interests of slave owners. The similarities between the slave patrols and modern American policing are too salient to dismiss or ignore. Hence, the slave patrol should be considered a forerunner of modern American law enforcement.”

The legacy of slavery and racism did not end after the Civil War. In fact it can be argued that extreme violence against people of color became even worse with the rise of vigilante groups who resisted Reconstruction. Because vigilantes, by definition, have no external restraints, lynch mobs had a justified reputation for hanging minorities first and asking questions later. Because of its tradition of slavery, which rested on the racist rationalization that Blacks were sub-human, America had a long and shameful history of mistreating people of color, long after the end of the Civil War. Perhaps the most infamous American vigilante group, the Ku Klux Klan started in the 1860s, was notorious for assaulting and lynching Black men for transgressions that would not be considered crimes at all, had a White man committed them. Lynching occurred across the entire county not just in the South. Finally, in 1871 Congress passed the Ku Klux Klan Act, which prohibited state actors from violating the Civil Rights of all citizens in part because of law enforcements’ involvement with the infamous group. This legislation, however, did not stem the tide of racial or ethnic abuse that persisted well into the 1960s.

Though having white skin did not prevent discrimination in America, being White undoubtedly made it easier for ethnic minorities to assimilate into the mainstream of America. The additional burden of racism has made that transition much more difficult for those whose skin is black, brown, red, or yellow. In no small part because of the tradition of slavery, Blacks have long been targets of abuse. The use of patrols to capture runaway slaves was one of the precursors of formal police forces, especially in the South. This disastrous legacy persisted as an element of the police role even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In some cases, police harassment simply meant people of African descent were more likely to be stopped and questioned by the police, while at the other extreme, they have suffered beatings, and even murder, at the hands of White police. Questions still arise today about the disproportionately high numbers of people of African descent killed, beaten, and arrested by police in major urban cities of America.


Victor E. Kappeler, Ph.D.
Associate Dean and Foundation Professor
School of Justice Studies
Eastern Kentucky University
 

Northern Light

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lenaitch

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Not to dispute the numbers but, like all data, it often needs to be further unpacked. Their data source for Canada is a CBC News article 'Deadly Force: Fatal encounters with police 2000-2017'. Of the total of 36 for 2017, 33 were classified as 'armed'. There is a brief profile for each individual and I went into a couple. One died of a heart attack after a struggle. Fun with numbers!
 

Northern Light

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Not to dispute the numbers but, like all data, it often needs to be further unpacked. Their data source for Canada is a CBC News article 'Deadly Force: Fatal encounters with police 2000-2017'. Of the total of 36 for 2017, 33 were classified as 'armed'. There is a brief profile for each individual and I went into a couple. One died of a heart attack after a struggle. Fun with numbers!
That would be a compelling argument for standardized statistical reporting on police-involved fatalities.

As it stands, a great deal of that info must be pieced together by media who don't even have enough info to do credible requests for information.

We would also, ideally, be able to compare those international stats on any apples-to-apples basis.

But I'm not sure we have the clarity to do so.

That said, if Canada's numbers were 1/3 lower, I still think they'd be too high.
 

Projection

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Not to dispute the numbers but, like all data, it often needs to be further unpacked. Their data source for Canada is a CBC News article 'Deadly Force: Fatal encounters with police 2000-2017'. Of the total of 36 for 2017, 33 were classified as 'armed'. There is a brief profile for each individual and I went into a couple. One died of a heart attack after a struggle. Fun with numbers!
I'd challenge the presumption police shootings are a problem at all.

US in 2019 had 9 fatal shootings of blacks, 19 whites, 40 where the person was unarmed. Odds were 1 in 10 million

Tucker Carlson recently described each case, in most the victim was extremely violent. There were over 300 million police interactions.

Toronto: About 2 fatal shootings by police per year, black & white - usually armed.

If someone asked me to guess how many people police would need to shoot each year when 5 million humans are jammed together in a confined area. I'd have guessed about 500. Heck, I see about 4 people every day I'd like to shoot.

We do not have a police problem. Neither does the US. Its all a fake fact when you look at data.
 

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