Nunziata supports Tory’s changes to policing

In her most recent email circular, Frances Nunziata says she supports Mayor Tory’s proposed changes to policing in Toronto. The changes

The changes are in three categories:

  1. Creating “alternative service delivery models for community safety response, particularly for individuals experiencing mental health crises, which would not involve police officers attending the scene”
  2. Managing a “fundamental re-alignment of the City’s budget priorities that focuses on the most marginalized in our community, to ensure they have the supports they require to address the root causes of crime”.
  3. Implementing “in full” recommendations to “stamp out discrimination in policing and improve response to people in crises” and review the police budget line-by-line with the Auditor General.

Tory also wants the police to wear body cameras by January 1, 2021.

Nunziata said that she supports the mayor’s recommendations. “They provide a comprehensive framework for a calculated approach to reallocating police funding toward community-led crisis intervention programs, and propose to re-align the City’s budget priorities to put an even greater focus on a robust system of social supports and services, including ongoing investments in Black, Indigenous and marginalized communities.”

She also sits on the Toronto Police Services Board.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.

8 thoughts on “Nunziata supports Tory’s changes to policing”

  1. This is not news. If Nunziata didn’t support the Mayor that would be news. If Tory says jump Nunziata says how high.

  2. Some important facts, for context:
    – Tory has called Covid “one of the greatest financial challenges the City has ever faced” – it’s a crisis that may end up costing the city nearly $3 billion in lost revenue
    – It has proved politically impossible to appreciably raise property taxes in this City, & the increase required to offset the aforeset cost of Covid would be absolutely massive
    – It looks as though violent (and specifically gun) crime may attain record levels this year, exceeding 2019 figures, despite our being under a virtual curfew for two months
    – Toronto police numbers, per capita, have been steadily falling for a decade more or less and are typically around 1/3 to 1/4 of similarly sized US cities (albeit with much higher crime rates)
    – The police are already demoralized and in nearly a work to rule situation since the cancellation of TAVIS and carding (for better or worse) as tools to manage said violent crime.

    All of which suggest that effectively decriminalizing much low-level property crime and turning a blind eye to anti-social behaviour may be a rather convenient move for a struggling City administration, with few options to get the violent crime situation under control.

    Unfortunately, redefining the police’s role a sort of violent crime reaction force is bound only to intensify its paramilitary character. Less public interaction over small, seemingly insignificant things will only increase its estrangement with the community it is charged with protecting.

    It is false – in fact the opposite of the truth – to say that non-violent crime is not part of the policing role. The traditional Peelian principle of policing was to prevent crime rather than simply react to it.

    Unfortunately, there’s a tendency to look at the massive, decades-long, systemic failure in mental health care, and blame the police for their (mis)handling of a role which they were thrust into and didn’t want. This problem should not be conflated with policing generally.

    As one citizen, householder, and tax-payer, I am disturbed by the direction things are going. We should wonder: if we have suffered a break-in or see someone stealing our car, what will our options be? Speak to a City public safety bureaucrat? Call 411? Fill out a form on Toronto.ca?

  3. Call 311

    (Sorry, just wanted to add to your facetious list.
    Appreciate the thoughts, though.)

  4. No, my apologies for making light of your omission, Eric. It’s a very much understood & appreciated essay.

    What might our intrepid reporter, Mr. Murray say,
    “..just taking the piss out of..” ?

    As healthy as it my be to express one’s anger – and we’re seeing a very thoughtful & measured form of anger around the world for all the right and obvious reasons – “humour” is one of the great ways to help properly manage one’s anger, right?

    (For a good reference, see the Mayo Clinic’s excellent list on dealing with anger management. Easy to find.)

    Frankly, Eric your piece and Roy’s endorsement & encouraging suggestion for all to review Sir Robert Peel’s principles of “policing by consent” has reinforced my thoughts on what kind of anarchy could eventually reign if the innumerable and rightfully, angered people succeed in abolishing our public police force – flawed as it may be, and as we’re witnessing by the day.

    Sir “Bobby” put it plainly, and in order to keep military, paramilitary or private security forces at a distance when he noted in his proposal that for this to work, “the police is the public and the public is the police.”

    Thoughtful, important points & distinctions in his “9 Principles” toward maintaining a sense of law & order when it comes to the welfare of a community – whether small town local or a greater community like with his proposal for a very unruly, London, U.K.

    Without the concept of, “the police is the public and the public is the police” we would eventually be attended to and looked after by “local bandits” protecting us from other “roving bandits”.

    (Need a good example of this, see “the Sicilian Mafia” – and all those others who were inspired and followed their lead similarly, around the world.)

    In addition and in support of such very “public” notion of proper policing, I’ll reiterate an earlier thought & posting – noting, that from what I’ve read, the “first responder” types who earn a salary & benefits from the municipality of New York City must now reside in the community which they serve (and protect).

    No more would they be allowed to work & earn a living and then, escape to the relative safety of the suburbs.

    Ultimately, you’re in or you’re out.
    (Not a bad stipulation, is it?)

    So now, in fairness to all the honourable & hard working “first responders” who work for the City of Toronto – how many actual “civil servants” do you know who choose to live outside the “416”???

    Quite a few, I bet.
    (And, justifiably so, I would imagine. Just ask them.)

    But, they don’t really live amongst us, do they. The very “public” that they actually serve, daily.

    And so, rightly or wrongly their allegiance or commitment to this community may be questionable.

    Fair?
    (Unfair?)

    Wouldn’t it be more helpful if they all were fully invested in making our “416” a better place to live, work, play and, raise a family?

    I’m sure that the Mayor and council have no appetite for more change on their collective plates.

    But, it could be a helpful, positive change.

    And, maybe with talks of “reallocation” will come some additional thoughtful reviews & concepts like those “Peelian Principles” – policing by consent, or the police are public and the public is the police.

    Hey, and get this:
    One of those “9 principles” encouraged using a certain amount of “humour” where appropriate – to help build better relationships with the public they served.

    How wacky is that?!?
    (Seriously, did he write for Monty Python?)

    Sadly, there’s been a real shortage of humour employed by some very nervous, incompetent and inhumane law enforcement types in our fair city, province, country and world – taking away from much of the good work performed by many our finest and honest women & men in uniform.

    (See: the Yonge Street van killer story.)

    I trust/hope, that the justifiably angry 3.4%’ers don’t get to tear it all down in livid frustration, immediately.

    It appears to be a “careful what you wish for” moment. (And then, who’s offering to secure your community’s needs instead?)

    I vote for “democracy”..
    flawed as it may be, presently.

    Thx, Eric & Roy.

    1. More excellent points although you do need help with the expression, ‘to take the piss’!

      De-funding the police is a non-starter and fortunately council voted against that today.
      How about the province restoring the money that was once spent on mental illness? Nobody seems to mention that.

      Yes, the vast majority of Toronto cops (about 75%) live outside the city. Here’s a map of where they lived in 2019:
      Map of where Toronto police were living in 2019.
      Why do Toronto police live elsewhere? Who knows but housing costs and perhaps the need for anonymity may be factors.
      Yes, our policing model has strayed hugely from that of Sir Robert Peel and nowadays top brass look to the U.S. for their inspiration when it comes to training and methodology. The assumption that every member of the public poses a potentially lethal threat is unfortunate and poisons many interactions.
      I trained to become a teacher in the 20th Century and when I emerged blinking into a classroom three years later, I knew next to nothing about teaching. Toronto cops get double the training that other municipalities provide; which is a measly 3 months. That’s not enough for such an important job.
      Excellent points about the mafia – all societies pay to keep law and order one way or another and I suspect most if us would rather pay for it through our taxes.
      Also, I suspect that many of our cops are in an older demographic (what with hiring down over the past few years) and possibly burned out. Their every move is scrutinized and many interactions with the public are negative; especially since the government stopped spending money on mental hospitals and moved to a mainly drug-based treatment model (thanks Big Pharma).
      Most cops do an excellent job. If a significant number of encounters with the public are negative, it’s going to affect performance and morale. Add talk of de-funding the police and you have a recipe for a disheartened force.

      I attended every day of the inquest of Andrew Loku who was shot after an altercation with police. Unknown to many, Mr. Loku had two separate interactions with police in the hours before he died. The first occurred when his electric scooter broke down on the Don Valley Parkway. It’s illegal to ride those things on the DVP and an officer stopped Mr. Loku because of the danger he posed to (mainly) himself and arranged a ride home for him (Eglinton and Keele). The officer (no doubt sensing a vulnerability) also arranged with a towing company to bring the scooter (at no charge) to Mr. Loku’s residence. Mr. Loku was not issued a ticket. When he was dropped off at his apartment building, anxiety over when his scooter would arrive and a noisy sound system in a neighbouring apartment led to him banging a hammer on the neighbour’s door and the police being called. The hammer was in Mr. Loku’s hand when he had his fatal interaction with a second officer. The responding officer did everything he had been trained to do when confronted with a ‘weapon’. Mr. Loku was a black man.
      The jury returned a verdict of homicide and made almost 40 recommendations, most of which await implementation.
      Why has police leadership been so slow to react to many such inquest recommendations? Probably because of the attitude that everything new is an add-on needing a pilot project and extra officers / money rather than a sensible re-distribution of resources. The opportunity exists for the new chief to focus money and personnel on areas that produce positive results.
      The Toronto Police Association will also need to be on board but now I’m straying into the realm of fantasy so better to end it here.

  5. Thanks, for the additional insights & reading, Roy.

    It’s no wonder so many of us have trouble sorting through & grappling with important nuanced details like this – that’s quite a list of recommendations.
    And, I bet it’s no easy walk in the park for high flying mental health care professionals, either.

    To say that it’s overwhelming would be an understatement, really.

    Plus, you’re right – I didn’t know about the relative kindness shown Mr. Loku prior to his arrival home that fateful night (in 2015).

    And, it wasn’t that easy to find additional reports supporting yours – except a couple of brief notes from a CBC reporter and a piece written in The Star, by Mike McCormack.

    Poor old soul, he almost had a happy ending to his misadventurous night ride on the Don Valley parkway – no where close to his home!

    With all the noise in his head & neighbouring apartments, could he have been calmed down and reassured by a mental health pro, that night?

    I want to believe, yes.

    But, no guarantees.

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