A letter from the Toronto Police Association to its members from president Mike McCormack may have been written in code.
But the words in it were not minced.
Among the advice detailed throughout the letter:
-Take a lunch whenever you are able in order to de-stress.
-Take a short period away from the centre of the storm, as it is beneficial to your overall well-being since you are no good to yourselves or the public if you’re too overwhelmed.
- Be aware of the time constraints that the current level of chronic understaffing is creating, but guard against rushing things.
- Be careful how you use your personal cell phone.
The words were carefully crafted but police, politicians and the public know exactly what they mean.
Work to rule.
“Officers are burning out and walking away,” says McCormack. “Frontline members are in a reactive policing mode - bouncing from call to call, which is dangerous for victims of crime and Toronto police officers themselves.”
McCormack adds “TPA members (95 this year) are resigning in record numbers as they leave for police services that are appropriately staffed and where citizens’ needs and officer health and wellness are priorities.”
He says there are “too few officers on the front lines” and in July 2017 TPS “employs around 5,100 police officers, almost 500 officers less than in 2010 with 400 more to go, which will bring us down to 4,766 officers by 2019 - a 20 per cent decrease to 2010.”
McCormack said many divisions can’t staff half the police vehicles required, meaning “a severe backlog of radio calls.”
The TPA says now is the time to take a stand.
“We are living in extraordinary times. Never before in the history of the Toronto Police Service have front-line members been asked to do so much with so few resources and so little support from management,” said a letter signed by McCormack and the TPA board of directors.
A job-action war is underway between the rank-and-file and their commanders - but especially to the politically-correct overseers pushing this no-carding, identify politics policing narrative.
It’s been brewing for a while, but perhaps felt long overdue by police officers.
But the rain-barrel effect seems to have kicked in.
“The implementation of the Transformational Task Force is having a profoundly negative impact on members’ health and morale, and a very distressing part of all this is that neither Command nor the Police Services Board seems to care,” said McCormack.
However, Chief Mark Saunders begs to differ on many of these points - taking to an internal video Monday to follow up visiting every division personally to explain the new approach and highlight both the success and the challenges.
“He won’t stand for any risk to public safety,” said police spokesman Mark Pugash on both risks in lower deployments or any job action taken by his men and women.
“He understands there is confusion and frustration with change,” said Pugash. “But like many businesses, policing is changing.
McCormack said, however, changing policing should not be putting officers or the public they protect in danger and he won’t sit silent while it does.