Monday, June 8, 2009

Police Out of Control?

The litany of reports of police misbehaviour demands serious investigation into police training and attitudes. The efficacy of the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) is also in question. 

--- The Canadian Association of Police Chiefs (CAPC) accepts $100,000 from Taser International Inc. as conference sponsor. A CAPC researcher accepts stock options from Taser international.

--- Families of 22 people shot by various Ontario police forces in the past five years are still waiting for an explanation.

--- After five years, Toronto police union past-president Bill McCormack continues to be on paid suspension pending investigation of improper conduct charges. The case will not be heard for two more years. Cost so far: Over $500,000.

--- A Toronto trial judge finds that "we have police officers who clearly lied while under oath."

--- Toronto police are blamed for drug probe delays.

--- A special investigation claimed there's a pattern of thefts by the Toronto police drug squad.

--- Toronto police party with the money received from the sale of stolen bicycles.

--- Toronto police enjoy higher salaries than their New York counterparts. By the judicious arrangement of their court appearances on minor traffic charges, some constables earn up to $160,000 a year. That's not counting the $60-$70 per hour they get for drinking coffee at construction sites.

--- As it approaches its first $1 billion budget, Toronto police refuse to disclose the cost of maintaining 28 horses and 43 equestrian officers. This, from The Globe and Mail. In fact, the amount ($7 million) is (not clearly) disclosed in the annual budget.

All these items are from newspapers. How much more is there that the media have not uncovered? Citizens are entitled to effective control over police activity. Clearly, we are not getting it.

A copy of this post was e-mailed to TPSB on May 20, 2009. Reply received June 8.

Dear Mr. Peringer,

Thank you for your email dated May 20, 2009.

The Toronto Police Service Board is actively engaged in fulfilling its mandate to provide adequate and effective police service in a manner that is both accountable and respectful.

You may wish to link to Chair Mukherjee's blog, agendas and minutes of the TPSB at and view the live web casts of the TPSB meetings to get a more accurate sense of the rigor which is inherent in police oversight in Toronto.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write to the TPSB.

Alok Mukherjee
Toronto Police Service Board

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