TORONTO - They can call it transformational policing but they should really call it what it actually is.
Politically correct policing and budget cutting.
“In this model, all officers will not only be protectors and guardians of public safety, but also facilitators, problem solvers, and collaborative partners,” the new transformational report released Thursday says. “They will be known, valued and trusted as members of the community. They will have the skills, knowledge, experience, and emotional intelligence to build strong relationships and facilitate local strategies to keep individuals and communities safe.”
Are they cops or camp counsellors? Did the political activists write this?
It gets better. Worse.
“Through an investment in mobile smart technology, officers will work in their assigned neighbourhoods every day, sometimes in cars, but also on foot and bikes. They will deliver services more flexibly from appropriate locations — a school, a community centre, or even on a park bench with a person in need and will be accessible by phone, email, text messages, social media, and an enhanced Toronto Police Service mobile application,” the report reads.
Should they hand out pillows and toothbrushes too? What the hell are they talking about?
It’s kumbaya. It’s as stupid as it is insulting. One look at the Toronto Police major incidents file from any night and it’s obvious there will be no time for park bench policing or texting.
On any night you have shootings, stabbings, sexual assaults, missing children, medical calls, and armed robberies — and the already-reduced number of officers are bouncing from call to call and hardly are going to have time to hang out and make pals at a community centre.
Police services board chair Andy Pringle and Chief Mark Saunders should know that.
“It’s so bad now there have been times on a night shift where there are two cars on the road for the entire division,” said one copper. “One call for something like a domestic and there are no cars available.”
Imagine what it will be like when officers are tied up in their park bench policing. Or 450 officers are eliminated.
All the beautiful social worker plans that police reform activists would like a cop to do during his or her shift go out the window when a nightclub or condo is shot up or soldiers are stabbed or a pregnant mother shot.
The disbanding of TAVIS is basically the next phase of banning carding — labelling the police as racially intolerant when it really was nothing more than a quota put on officers that had them street checking more people than they should have to meet targets.
Drop the quota and problem solved. Instead the politicians buckled and they are doing it again.
“There have also been challenges and mistakes, including programs such as the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) which, when implemented improperly, impacted relationships and trust with a number of communities, as well as the service’s reputation on a larger scale,” the report states.
Of course there was no mention of all the lives then chief Bill Blair’s TAVIS squad saved — particularly after the deadly Summer of the Gun.
“What a bunch of crap,” one former TAVIS cop told my Sun colleague Chris Doucette. “Command loved the work we were doing.”
There may have been mistakes made at times in their aggressiveness but they were trying to save the community from the evil shooters who seem to escape criticism.
“The TAVIS idea was working but we were being pushed to do more and more carding,” said the officer. “They (commanders) loved the intelligence. Now they’re backpedalling and washing their hands of it. I’m shocked and disappointed.”
They feel they have been thrown under the bus.
“For years, they put us in the troubled neighbourhoods and other services from around the world have come to learn from us,” said the copper. “But that was a mistake? I don’t think so.”
I think the real mistake is this report. Sure there are some good things in it and some big, modern dreams, but mostly it’s unrealistic, impractical, politically-motivated garbage and that’s exactly where it should be filed.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REPORT
The Transformational Task Force unveiled its interim report Thursday on changing the way cops do their jobs in Toronto.
The report — The Way Forward: Modernizing Community Safety in Toronto — is ambitious in its sweeping suggestions.
Among the highlights:
1) Better connected officers
2) Improved capabilities using data and analysis
3) Disbanding TAVIS
4) Risk assessment for priority response
5) Alternative reporting and follow-up for non-emergencies
6) Improved public safety response
7) Better scheduling
8) Better deployment of cruisers
9) Risk-based response to special events
10) Outsourcing and using special constables at malls
11) Disband Transit Patrol
12) Shift responsibility of the lifeguard program
13) Shift responsibility of school crossing guard program
14) Use traffic enforcement cameras in high-collision areas
15) Overhauling paid duty
16) Redesign of divisional structure
17) More transparency in information and services
18) Hiring and promotion moratorium
19) Assess IT requirements
20) Seek alternative to court services
21) Seek better alternatives to parking enforcement
22) Outsource background screenings
23) Invest in 911
24) Change the Toronto Police Service’s culture
SHOWING US THE MONEY:
- $100 million — The amount of “reductions and savings” to the Toronto Police budget identified by the task force over the next three years.
- $60 million — The amount of those savings that will come from a three-year hiring and promotion freeze.
- $30 million — In savings through alternative service delivery or shared services over the next three years.
- $10 million — The police board pledges to find additional savings of at least $10 million over the next three years.
- $72 million — Beyond the $100-million figure, the report estimates the buildings and land returned to the city through some of the recommendations could have potential value to the city of up to $72 million.
SAMPLING OF SAVINGS:
- Lifeguard Program: $1.1 million
- School Crossing Guard Program: $6.8 million
- Retail response: Saving 5,500 hours of services
- Compiled by Brad Hunter