My hypothesis on why we need MORE police , not fewer cops .

Meow everyone. There has been alot of discussion of late with respects to the need , or not, of having more police officers patrol our city . Much of this discussion has revolved around the police budget in this city with is at around one billion dollars per year . On the surface, that is indeed an astronomical amount of money …. or, is it ? One of the advocates for the reduction of officers and the police budget is non other than former Deputy Police Chief Peter Sloly.

 

peter-sloly

Deputy Sloly served with the Toronto police Force for about 27 years . He was Deputy Chief of the Toronto Police Service (Divisional Policing Command and Operational Support Command 2009-2016). He rose through the ranks quickly and is one of the leaders of policing new social media presence . He recently retired after a new  Chief was selected . While he never made any public comments with respects to the selection  choice for the new Chief , some suggest that he retired because he was upset at not being selected for this position. I of course have  no facts that support this , I am only relating what I have heard of a short period of time. One thing was not in question were comments he made, shortly before his retirement was a need to reduce the police budget. Once he retired from the force, he took some much needed time off , only to emerge as an executive director at one of Canadas leading firms   :

 

( sourced from here )

 

SELENA ROSS

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016 5:00AM EDT

Last updated Thursday, Apr. 28, 2016 5:00AM EDT

” …. One of Toronto’s best-known police leaders is going to the private sector, three months after announcing his retirement and a year after a controversial management shuffle at the police force.

Peter Sloly, 49, started last Monday as an executive director at professional services firm Deloitte Canada. He will advise client companies, in particular, on how to avoid and respond to cyberattacks and on other types of risk and security management.

“Our focus is working with businesses to recognize the new threat environment,” he said in an interview.

Mr. Sloly, a police reformer who built relationships with Toronto’s minority communities, will also counsel Deloitte and its client companies on diversity.

He was long considered a front-runner to replace former police chief Bill Blair. But last April, the board picked another deputy chief, Mark Saunders, as Mr. Blair’s successor. Mr. Sloly was quickly taken off some of his long-time projects and even moved to a smaller office, moves that rankled many officers.

When Mr. Sloly retired in February, he said he had planned to leave and had only stayed for the ensuing months in order to help smooth the transition. Deloitte’s top management got in touch soon after, he said.

“I’m feeling rejuvenated, I’m feeling rested [and] energized, and in large part because of the types of opportunities that have come my way,” he said.

“I always wanted to have a big career after policing, multiple careers after policing, so this checks a big box for me – an opportunity to work in the private sector for a large, successful company and one where they would leverage my full skill sets, passions and interests.”

Cybercrime was something Mr. Sloly saw up close many times on the police force, where he served for 27 years and as deputy chief for more than six.

Those cases ran the gamut “from the schoolyard bullying that went on online, to significant corporate hack attacks that would cost corporations, and in some cases governments, millions of dollars in lost capacity, if not hard losses,” he said.

“Some people would suggest there isn’t such a thing as cybercrime – it’s just the new cyber-reality where every single crime has a cyber, social [media] or digital element to it.”

He also helped usher in the first social-media strategy at a major Canadian police force and will be helping Deloitte clients improve their use of social media.

Mr. Sloly has been getting to know his new company’s cybersecurity facility in Vaughan, and this week he attended a conference in the field in Washington.

He will often work around the globe in the “incredibly fast-growing” field of cybersecurity, said Ryan Brain, regional managing partner for Deloitte in Toronto.

“The nature of the attacks are getting more sophisticated, so to have someone with Peter’s experience and background is something we’re very excited about,” he said. “The nature of this work truly knows no boundaries.”

Mr. Brain and Mr. Sloly had both served on the board of the Toronto YMCA.

“The timing was very sort of serendipitous when he decided to retire from the police force, and given that decision and how hot the market is right now for services such as cybersecurity, we came together very naturally,” said Mr. Brain.

Mr. Sloly, a familiar face at many Toronto non-profits and community groups, said he will keep serving on all of them. But he’s giving the police force a wide berth except when asked.

“I’m always open and available; in fact I’ve had the odd phone call from former colleagues and members of the board just seeking a quick opinion from me on issues,” he said. “But equally, I’m not reaching out. I want to make sure there’s plenty of space for the current folks to do what they think they need to do without any unnecessary distractions.”

 

Recently, Deputy Sloly wrote an article  for the Globe and Mail newspaper :

 

crime prevention
There is a problem with our policing

PETER SLOLY

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Jul. 23, 2016 9:06AM EDT

Last updated Saturday, Jul. 23, 2016 10:55AM EDT

 

Peter Sloly is a former deputy chief of police with the Toronto Police Service and is now an executive director with Deloitte.

It has been a horrible summer for police-community relations with too many funerals and shattered families. We must end these heart-wrenching conflicts between police and the communities they serve. And we can, if we make a fundamental change in our approach to policing across the continent.

There is a significant imbalance in the common policing model, with far too much emphasis on law enforcement and not nearly enough on crime prevention.

Police services have a predisposition for enforcement – a “catch the bad guys” culture. Police management strategies mainly reward outputs (traffic tickets, street checks, arrests, etc.) instead of outcomes (crime reduction, community satisfaction, cost savings, etc.). The traditional path to promotion in policing has been through the enforcement squads (homicide, hold up and drugs) and not through crime prevention assignments.

But police officers are not meant to be primarily “law enforcers.” The Ontario Police Services Act lists the core police services as: crime prevention, public order maintenance, emergency response, assistance to victims and law enforcement. Crime prevention is wisely listed first because an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of enforcement. Yes, officers put themselves at risk every day, responding to crimes and taking criminals out of circulation on behalf of the community. The police would be even more appreciated if they could do more to prevent the crimes from happening in the first place.

The enforcement-dominant policing model is the most expensive and most likely to put officers and members of the public in conflict. Despite the legal requirement for police to deliver community-oriented policing, approximately 90 per cent of police resources are used for reactive enforcement activities.

Every act of enforcement increases costs to tax payers from the investigation, prosecution, and incarceration stages, and, increasingly, civil litigation.

Then there are the social costs. Enforcement exposes police officers to increased harm and media backlash. Courts become overwhelmed with unmanageable caseloads. Jails have become overcrowded (disproportionately with Aboriginals and minorities) and are increasingly filled with people suffering from mental health issues and addictions. The enforcement-focused model often results in over-policing and excessive use of force, which mainly impacts society’s most marginalized, victimized, and racialized members.

The Police Services Act promotes adequate, effective, and inclusive policing by requiring police services to ensure the safety and security of all persons and property, safeguard our fundamental Charter and Human Rights Code, work in cooperation with the communities they serve, show respect for victims of crime while being reflective of and sensitive to the pluralistic, multiracial, and multicultural character of Ontario.

As currently practiced, policing is not doing that. Our outdated, unbalanced police model does not meet the needs of police officers, the justice system, tax payers, or community members.

But it could. There are many proven, evidenced-based programs underway in policing that work better. Some of them were piloted and mainstreamed right here in Canada. For example, we know that embedding professional, empathetic, tech-savvy officers in neighborhoods for at least two years, with a mandate to build relationships, can reduce crime and facilitate community-focused problem solving.

These officers still enforce the laws but use discretion, common sense, and constant efforts to become trusted, respected community partners. The officers are the best sources of community intelligence, virtually eliminating any need to engage in the controversial practices of “street checks/carding.” This approach is working in the UK’s “Neighborhood Policing” strategy, Ontario’s “Mobilization & Engagement Model,” and Saskatchewan’s “Hub & COR Model.”

There will always be some criminals who must be arrested to protect our communities. But we can still create a harm-reduction approach to mitigate the negative aspects of the enforcement model. For example, the federal government can work with provincial, municipal, and First Nations governments to fund and support police, justice, and community leaders to implement programs such as “pre/post charge diversion” to keep people out of the justice system. Aboriginal restorative justice can better reintegrate people into their communities once they leave the justice system, reducing recidivism and breaking revolving-door justice cycles.

Police need to implement diversity and inclusion strategies to recruit, hire, promote, and retain a greater percentage of educated, talented, and diverse employees. Training and development programs must enable officers to manage conscious/unconscious bias. Such programs are working well in communities from Milwaukee to Melbourne to Manchester. They will work in Canada.

These operational changes require less investment in bricks and mortar and more investment in enabling technologies. Operation centres must be developed to make police services more secure, vigilant, and resilient to both physical and cyber threats while also enabling officers to be more available in their communities, connected physically, and online.

Police budgets must also be re-balanced and right-sized to achieve positive community outcomes, while cutting costs and increasing social value. Fortunately, the prevention-focused model will save money that can be reinvested into crime prevention and community development programs.

But the biggest change needed is to police culture. We need officers who see themselves as servers who can become protectors when needed rather than as law-enforcers. We need the institution of policing to evolve from a thin blue line that separates police from community to a thin blue thread that is interwoven within the fabric of society. It’s a change that must happen quickly to have any hope of keeping pace with near-constant social change and digital disruptions.

Police officers and community members are increasingly frustrated because they know the old enforcement model isn’t good enough for the new normal. Cops and the community want real change now!

We can’t tolerate the frightening divisions and tragic deaths we have seen this summer. You can’t wage a war on crime without first winning peace with the community. That’s why we must have a new policing model that enables cops and the community to work in tandem, co-producing public safety and winning the peace together.

Peter Sloly is a former deputy chief of police with the Toronto Police Service and is now an executive director with Deloitte.

 

When I learned of this article , I did commincate with him via Twitter where I disagreed with some of his arguments .  Since Twitter only allows for very minimal  content , I indicated to him that I would write a much more detailed article here on why I disagree with  some of his points . Let me point out that he does make some very valid points , as well , I have no knowledge of policing or it budget allocations, so my opinions here are exactly, opinions with some observations attached to validate my hypothesis .

 

One area that was discussed was the merging of some police divisions into one larger one . One example of such a merge was the merging of  51 and 52 division . The attached map outlines police divisions in the city of Toronto .

 

map

 

 By looking at this map, we see clearly that 51 and 52 division appear to be, geographically , the two smallest division with the city of Toronto . It might appear, on the surface, that joining two geographically small divisions would make sense. However, I disagree. Within each police division, there are smaller ” districts ” , as depicted in this map :

 

TPS district map

The vast majority of citizens may not be aware of these smaller geographical zones, however, they see this every day, right on front of them through the individual police cars . In the depicted police car as shown below,  We see this clearly . This car number is 5131 . This means that  this car is from  51 division . The number 3 represents the district within 51 division to which the car is primarily assigned to . Last, the 1 the follows the number 3 represents the car number from 3 district, from 51 division. 

 

police-car

 

 There are of course many other individual units with the police service , many of them highly specialized units such at ETF ( emergency task force , Traffic services ,  Marine  unit , Canine unit, Transit  patrol , CRU ( or more commonly known as the bicycle cops )

 

But back to 51 and 52 division ….. I postulate that  merging these two divisions  would be a flawed decision because these two divisions are vastly different in their make up . 51 division has a high residential population, an area with a very high number of persons living with mental health issues and other  addictions. It is a very diverse area . 52 division, on the other hand, patrols the Toronto islands, the financial district, the entertainment district , china town , 52 division is a highly transient district ( yes, of course there are many residences there as well ) . These two small by but highly condensed areas will easily be populated with several hundred thousand people  over the course of a single day … with each division have its own  very unique needs and issues that arise.

 

Merging these two divisions, would place a significant strain on one single police station that would be housing these now merged officers . 51 division has a relatively new station  and 52 division has a station  that is about 20 years old right now . Neither are large enough to house what would amount to close to 500 officers . So, a new station would have to be constructed , at significant expense . ( so then what would happen to the existing stations  ???  )

 

Another proposed station merge is one between 41 and 42 division. These are two of the largest geographical areas covered by our police service. Now, imagine for a second, a  serious call , usually referred to over the police radio as a ” hot shot ” . Now, this is the most serious call over an officers radio and these calls usually involve potential life and death situations … VERY LITERALLY . Now, if these two stations were to merge, this could, potentially , leave one end of the proposed now division un-patrolled while officer race to the opposite end to possibly save a life. This is absolutely unacceptable. 

 

In law enforcement as in all emergency services, seconds can make the difference between a life save and a life lost due to delays . A delay, for example, can mean the capture of a serious and violent criminal, as opposed to catching  them at the scene of a crime. An escape criminal means MORE costs in investigations, more officers needing to devote dedicated time and resources to this one crime, detectives, surveilance , court ordered warrants , and possible high risk arrests …. ALL THESE COST MORE , and put officers at significantly greater risk as a result of forcibly taking down a violent and dangerous criminal  More officers would not totally eliminate this of course , however, it would greatly reduce the number of instances to which these highly specialized resources would have to be activated.

 

The next area I suggest the shows that a reduction in officers and the police budget , is a poor decision, is actual crimes . In the below image, we see clearly that serious crime has INCREASED , especially shootings and stabbings :

 

shooting stats

The investigation of a single shooting takes up considerable resources . It can, and often does , take 5 or 6 patrol cars from the affected division right away , for several hours, while officers both secure the area , investigate the crime and of course, look for the offending criminal . This was made very clear and obvious several years ago when there was a very high profile shooting and subsequent  murder at the Toronto Eaton Center . Here, we see cars from EVERY division attending to try and capture the  shooter :

 

assignment three-284

assignment three-297

assignment three-496

The call in question was an ” all available units ” call . This is the most serious call . However, look at the response needed here, and one with even the most minimal knowledge can see that if all the police cars and officers are HERE , that leave only a bare MINIMUM number of officers to cover the rest of the city .

 

The other reason I postulate  that that we need more officers is the simple fact the our population is GROWING. This means that as the population grows, so to, does the increase of  crime . Let me be blunt. We have people coming to Toronto from countries were lawlessness was NORMAL, Places like Somolia, Nigeria and some middle eastern counties have basically no laws and some of the greatest government corruption on the planet. People coming here, from there , bring that with them, thinking that this is normal . Lastly the fact is that terrorism is now, sadly, part and parcel of many cultures and this is migrating to Canada . We need a much greater , dedicated area of policing that deals only with that . I am sure that each police service has their own intelligence unit , however, I am guessing that they are usually overworked and understaffed to handle to increased work load .

 

Police also require new updated equipment . Simple fact is that police are always a step behind the criminals, who are always inventing new way to commit crimes, and of a greater scale . Guns are a HUGE problem in this city and wee dedicated officers who know the streets and criminals who have them. One area that has been talked about as a service to be eliminated is TAVIS . What an enormous mistake this would be , as these cops are the ones who are likely to be the first ones to get these guns off the streets.

 

The city is indeed spending money at a great rate and yes, there are ways to cut that spending…. such as cutting the number of politicians in half, salary freezes for two or three years  are two things that come to mind. Deputy Sloly does make great points in some areas, yes, but I think that  in other areas, in my opinion,  his vision is clouded .  Frankly, as a police service, the chief should be heading to Ottawa as well to remind our prime minister  that if he was able to find billions for so called refugees , while totally ignoring out veterans, our senior citizens , our homeless , our indians , while he found two hundred million to help boost the economy of a terrorist state that Iran is ,  surely, he can find a few hundred million   to serve CANADIANS .

 

Here is a copy of the 2015 Toronto Police services budget to show what  is being spent, and how :

 

backgroundfile-77429

 

Here is what the city of Toronto proposed :

 

backgroundfile-90022

 

Policing is not cheap and is a great responsibility . Cutting officers and services greatly undermines  the  public perception of the police , but more importantly, puts the public confidence towards the police into question. We have an expectation, right or wrong, of our officers to uphold the law, and to ensure a safe environment for us to live and work in and around. This may not be their job alone, but this is, what we are conditioned to expect . In order to to allow our officers to carry out what they are sworn to do, they need the tools, the staffing and the support of the public as well as the command under which they work in to accomplish this. With the greatest of respect Deputy Sloly, cutting officers , services and stations does not inspire the citizens confidence . In fact, what it shows, in  my opinion, is the policing is politically prioritized … Money coming before public safety … political will coming before  fact based needs .

 

What we , the citizens want, is a safe community . we want terrorists caught before they  act out, we want guns off the streets, we want drugs off our streets, we want violent and dangerous criminal behind bars . We want our cops to be cops again, not paper pushers who are afraid to act out of fear of public perception. I want politicians to stay out of policing.

 

Deputy Chief Sloly , I am now speaking from a military  back ground. I am fully aware that as in the military, high ranking command officers are politically appointed , even if not immediately obvious . However, the duty of a command officer is to look after the interests of the men and women under their command , not look after the political interests of the politicians . I don’t envy those in command because that is a job I certainly would not want. I do , however, know that when I served , ( which was many years ago ) my command officers were there to run a military in a safe and efficient  manner , however, the people under their commend had to be their number one priority. I am not  familiar with the inner workings of a large police force , however, I suspect that there are certainly some similarities in the way command and the troops must co -exist to reach a single objective.

 

I hope that as you read this, you will give at least some thought to my post here and please, feel free to reply and offer you comments . As I stated in the onset, you make some great points, however, with great respect, I submit sir that your theory with respects to budgetary and staffing is flawed and short sighted. I ask that  you be a cop, not a politician when addressing the needs of the officers of this city, the finest police force in the world. I recall an old motto , from years ago where there was the saying, ” our cops are tops ” . Dont take that away from our cops .