Toronto police and politicians would like to get guns off the streets. Quite correctly, the thinking is that reducing the number of guns in the city will reduce crime.
In response to this, Toronto Police are currently operating a gun buy-back program that will continue until May 17. The idea is to pay cash ($200 – $350) for guns so that they can’t be used in criminal acts. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. Could such a program reduce the number of guns in criminal hands? Sadly, not the way Toronto’s doing it.
Residents wishing to participate are asked to call police to come to their residence and pick up a surplus weapon(s). Criminals having second thoughts about a life of crime are not likely to do this. Since the program is targeting legally held guns, the only people likely to participate are collectors and owners who want to make a bit of extra cash.
Sadly, the vast number of guns in the wrong hands will remain where they are, untouched by the program.
If the City and Toronto Police are serious about getting guns out of criminal hands, they need to hold a gun amnesty. Other police forces have done this; there’s no need to re-invent the wheel.
As it stands, the current buy-back plan is laughable.
The police have arrested a woman for a non-fatal stabbing at Weston and Lawrence.
The victim was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Distressingly, CityNews says that the victim and perpetrator were not known to each other. The alleged perpetrator appears to have been arrested almost immediately.
Stabbing: Weston Rd / Lawrence Ave
– patient transported to hospital#GO311874@tps12div
Toronto police arrested Bevon McDermott, 57, for a dangerous convenience store robbery in Weston and two bank robberies.
McDermott is alleged to have robbed a convenience store near Chuch and Weston Road on February 11. Wearing a mask and carrying a handgun he
made a verbal demand for cash, lottery tickets and cigarettes and ordered the store employee to place the items inside a gym bag he had brought with him
McDermott is also alleged to have robbed a bank near Wincott and Eglinton and a bank near St Clair and Jane, both on February 15. In at least one of those cases, he is alleged to have held a gun to a teller’s head.
After a storm of controversy, Ron Taverner has rescinded his resignation from the Toronto Police Service and is back on the job as north west district commander (Divisions 12, 23 and 31) that he left on Friday. On Saturday, Mr Taverner asked that his appointment as OPP Commissioner be put on hold pending the results of an inquiry (requested by the NDP) by the Integrity Commissioner.
Two days after the OPP Commissioner’s job was posted, the requirements (deputy police chief or higher) were lowered thus allowing Superintendent Taverner to apply and his selection, according to the Ontario Newsroom site, was the, “unanimous recommendation of a selection committee comprised exclusively of members of the Ontario Public Service and supported by Odgers Berndtson, an executive search firm.”. Apparently 23 out of the 27 candidates for the job met the original requirements so lowering them was probably not merited on the basis of a shortage of candidates.
Acting OPP Commissioner (and fellow candidate for the job) Brad Blair cried foul on Taverner’s appointment and has since been demoted.
Many pundits have claimed that the fix was in and that Taverner’s friendship with Premier Ford was the reason for his appointment. Superintendent Taverner may well have been the best candidate to lead the OPP. Unfortunately, perceptions of the Premier’s large thumb on the scale have tainted his appointment and there is likely no going back regardless of the Integrity Commissioner’s report.
As controversy builds around the appointment of local police Superintendent Ron Taverner (and friend of the Premier) as head of the OPP, the Toronto Star (via the paywall free ourwindsor.ca) has found that Mr Taverner purchased a home in Weston in July 2017. The deal was private with $550,000 changing hands for the home near Church and George.
The problem? The seller, Simone Daniels worked for the Ford family business, Deco Labels, and is currently employed as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Premier.
In related news, the Globe and Mail reports that when Doug Ford was a Toronto councillor, he suggested to former Police Services Board Chair, Alok Mukherjee that his longtime friend would make a good Toronto Deputy Police Chief (Taverner did not apply for the job and was not appointed).
Rightly or wrongly, this steady drip of negative stories adds to the perception of strong connections between Doug Ford and Ron Taverner and a possible conflict of interest.
It will take great deal of determination to stare down this kind of pressure. My guess is that Mr Taverner (who has not commented publicly on the current brouhaha) may decide that the job isn’t worth the bother, plus, he’ll probably not want to begin his new job under a cloud that will likely persist during his term of office.
Update: We’ve removed the picture, because that seems like the right thing to do.
Toronto Police Superintendent Ron Taverner, currently in charge of 12, 23 and 31 Divisions (the north-west corner of the city that includes Weston and Mount Dennis) is heading for a new job on December 17. He has been appointed Commissioner of the 9000 member Ontario Provincial Police. According to Ontario’s Newsroom site, his appointment is “based on the unanimous recommendation of a selection committee comprised exclusively of members of the Ontario Public Service and supported by Odgers Berndtson, an executive search firm.”.
Superintendent Taverner’s career with Toronto Police began in 1967 and there are many supportive and glowing testimonials in reaction to his appointment. Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders and Police Association President Mike McCormack (among others) welcomed the news and think that the appointment is a good one.
There is at least one dissenting voice. Former OPP Commissioner (2010 – 2014), Chris Lewis says he is shocked. In an interview with CTV News, Lewis says says things like, “The appointment is a real kick to the OPP – someone from the outside with very limited experience.”, “The fix was in from the outset.” (Taverner is a friend of the Ford family).
Who will replace Taverner? Let’s hope it’s someone who can solve some of the problems that have frustrated the current incumbent and stubbornly resisted a solution over the past few years.