Toronto Police Service
|Toronto Police Service|
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1834 creation to 1859 reforms
The Toronto Police Service was founded in 1834 when the city of Toronto was first created from the town of York. (Prior to that, local able-bodied male citizens were required to report for night duty as special constables for a fixed number of nights a year on the pain of fine or imprisonment in a system known as "watch and ward".)
The Toronto Police is one of the English-speaking world’s oldest modern municipal police departments; older than, for example, the New York City Police Department which was formed in 1845 or the Boston Police Department which was established in 1839. The London Metropolitan Police of 1829 is generally recognized as the first modern municipal department. In 1835, Toronto retained five full-time constables—a ratio of about one officer for every 1,850 citizens. Their daily pay was set at 5 shillings for day duty and 7 shillings, 6 pence, for night duty. In 1837 the constables’ annual pay was fixed at £75 per annum, a lucrative city position when compared to the mayor’s annual pay of £250 at the time.
From 1834 to 1859, the Toronto Police was a corrupt and notoriously political force with its constables loyal to the local aldermen who personally appointed police officers in their own wards for the duration of their incumbency. Toronto constables on numerous occasions suppressed opposition candidate meetings and took sides during bitter sectarian violence between Orange Order and Irish Catholic radical factions in the city. A provincial government report in 1841 described the Toronto Police as "formidable engines of oppression". Although constables were issued uniforms in 1837, one contemporary recalled that the Toronto Police was "without uniformity, except in one respect—they were uniformly slovenly." After an excessive outbreak of street violence involving Toronto Police misconduct, including an episode where constables brawled with Toronto's firemen in one incident, and stood by doing nothing in another incident while enraged firemen burned down a visiting circus when its clowns jumped a lineup at a local brothel, the entire Toronto Police force, along with its chief, were fired in 1859.
1859 to 1900
The new force was removed from Toronto City Council jurisdiction (except for the setting of the annual budget and manpower levels) and placed under the control of a provincially mandated Board of Police Commissioners. Under its new Chief, William Stratton Prince, a former infantry captain, standardized training, hiring practices and new strict rules of discipline and professional conduct were introduced. Today's Toronto Police Service directly traces its ethos, constitutional lineage and Police Commission regulatory structure to the 1859 reforms.
In the 19th century, the Toronto Police mostly focused on the suppression of rebellion in the city—particularly during the Fenian threats of 1860 to 1870. The Toronto Police were probably Canada's first security intelligence agency when they established a network of spies and informants throughout Canada West in 1864 to combat US Army recruiting agents attempting to induce British Army soldiers stationed in Canada to desert to serve in the Union Army in the Civil War. The Toronto Police operatives later turned to spying on the activities of the Fenians and filed reports to the Chief Constable from as far as Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago and New York City. When in December 1864, the Canada West secret frontier police was established under Stipendiary Magistrate Gilbert McMicken, some of the Toronto Police agents were reassigned to this new agency.
In 1863, the Toronto Police were also used as "Indian fighters" during the Manitoulin Island Incident when some fifty natives armed with knives forced the fishery inspector William Gibbard and a fishery operation to withdraw from unceded tribal lands on Lake Huron. Thirteen armed Toronto police officers, along with constables from Barrie, were dispatched to Manitoulin Island to assist the government in retaking the fishery operation, but were forced back when the natives advanced now armed with rifles. The police withdrew but were later reinforced and eventually arrested the entire band but not before William Gibbard was killed by unknown parties.
In the 1870s, as the Fenian threat began to gradually wane and the Victorian moral reform movement gained momentum, Toronto police primarily functioned in the role of "urban missionaries" whose function it was to regulate unruly and immoral behaviour among the "lower classes". They were almost entirely focused on arresting drunks, prostitutes, disorderlies, and violators of Toronto’s ultra-strict Sunday "blue law"
In the days before public social services, the force functioned as a social services mega-agency. Prior the creation of the Toronto Humane Society in 1887 and the Children’s Aid Society in 1891, the police oversaw animal and child welfare, including the enforcement of child support payments. They operated the city's ambulance service and acted as the Board of Health. Police stations at the time were designed with space for the housing of homeless, as no other public agency in Toronto dealt with this problem. Shortly before the Great Depression, in 1925, the Toronto Police housed 16,500 homeless people that year.
The Toronto Police regulated street-level business: cab drivers, street vendors, corner grocers, tradesmen, rag men, junk dealers, laundry operators. Under public order provisions, the Toronto Police was responsible for the licensing and regulation of dance halls, pool halls, theatres, and later movie houses. It was responsible for censoring the content of not only theatrical performances and movies, but of all literature in the city ranging from books and magazines to posters and advertising.
The Toronto Police also suppressed labour movements which were perceived as anarchist threats. The establishment of the mounted unit is directly related to the four-month Toronto streetcar strike of 1886, when authorities called on the Governor General's Horse Guard Regiment to assist in suppressing the strike.
As for serious criminal investigations, the Toronto Police frequently (but not always) contracted with private investigators from the Pinkerton’s Detective Agency until the 20th century when it developed its own internal investigation and intelligence capacity.
During the 1930s and 1940s, the Toronto Police under Chief Constable Dennis "Deny" Draper, a retired Brigadier General and former Conservative candidate, returned to its function as an agency to suppress political dissent. Its notorious "Red Squad" brutally dispersed demonstrations by labour unions and by unemployed and homeless people during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Suspicious of "foreigners", the police lobbied the city of Toronto to pass legislation banning public speeches in languages other than English, curtailing union organization among Toronto's vast immigrant populations working in sweat shops.
After several scandals, including a call by Chief Draper to have reporters "shot" and his being arrested driving drunk, the city appointed in 1948 a new Police Chief from its own ranks for the first time in the department's history: John Chisholm, a very able senior police inspector. In 1955, the Metropolitan Toronto Board of Police Commissioners was formed in preparation for the amalgamation of the 13 police forces in the municipality, Metropolitan Toronto, into a unified police force with Chisholm as chief of the unified force. Unfortunately, Chisholm was not up to the politics of the Chief's office, especially in facing off with Fred "Big Daddy" Gardiner, who engineered almost single-handedly the formation of Metropolitan Toronto in the 1950s.
On January 1, 1957, the Toronto Police merged with the other municipal forces in the metropolitan area to form the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force:
With amalgamation, the force grew in size and complexity, and Chisholm found himself unable to manage the huge agency and its Byzantine politics. In 1958, after a number of conflicts with Gardiner and members of the newly expanded Metropolitan Toronto Board of Police Commissioners, Chief Chisholm drove to High Park on the city's west end, parked his car and committed suicide with his service revolver. The late Staff Superintendent Jack Webster, one of the officers who arrived at the scene of the Chief's death and who would upon his retirement in the 1990s become the Force Historian at the Toronto Police Museum, would later write, "Suicide is a constant partner in every police car."
In 1990, the Board of Police Commissioners was renamed as the The Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Police Services Board, and, upon the creation of the amalgamated City of Toronto in 1998, it became the Toronto Police Services Board, administering the Toronto Police Force.
Today, the Toronto Police Service is responsible for overall local police service in Toronto and works with the other emergency services (Toronto EMS (TEMS) and Toronto Fire Services (TFS)) and other police forces in the GTA including:
For most of 2005, the police union and the Toronto Police Services Board (the civilian governing body) were involved in lengthy contract negotiations. The rank and file had been without a contract since the end of 2004, and conducted a work-to-rule campaign in the fall of 2005. The police force is an essential public service and are legally prohibited from striking. The Toronto Police Service launched their social media strategy on July 27, 2011 and "has the most active Twitter accounts listed under a single police force in Canada"
Controversies and allegations of misconduct
In 1988, Toronto Police were under scrutiny for the fatal shooting of schizophrenic Lester Donaldson. The shooting was the first of eight over the next four years, in which mostly unarmed Black Canadians were victims. Three days after his death, the Black Action Defence Committee, a group of local activists, was formed. The group made headlines when they introduced the issue of race in the coroner's inquest into Donaldson's killing. In 1990, Toronto police officer David Deviney was charged with manslaughter in connection with the killing, though he was later acquitted.
On May 4, 1992, tension between Toronto Police and the city's Black community reached its peak. After the fourth police killing of a young Black man, in as many years, a peaceful protest on Yonge Street later turned into a riot. 30 people were arrested and 37 police officers were injured in the riot.
A mandatory Coroner's Inquest took place into the police killing of 17-year-old Jeffrey Reodica. Although accounts differ, it is generally accepted that Reodica was part of a group of Filipino teenagers pursuing a group of white teenagers on May 21, 2004, following altercations between the two groups. Plainclothes Toronto police officer Det.-Const. Dan Belanger and his partner Det. Allen Love were in the process of arresting Reodica when he was shot by the officers, the teen died in hospital three days later. Belanger and his partner, Det. Allen Love, were eventually cleared by the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) who after investigating the matter found that there were no reasonable grounds to lay a charge.
In response to the recommendations of the Coroner's Inquest jury, Chief Blair recommended that all plainclothes police officers be issued arm bands and raid jackets bearing the word 'Police' in an effort to increase their visibility in critical situations. Unmarked cars, which are already equipped with a plug-in police light, will also be supplied with additional emergency equipment, including a siren package. The proposals will be phased in over three years beginning in 2008. Undercover officers will also have to wear, carry or have access to standard police use-of-force options such as pepper spray and batons.
In 2004, eight people were shot by Toronto Police, six of them fatally. SIU investigations deemed all case actions justified.
In 2005, the police force was faced with a spike in shootings across Toronto and increased concern among residents. Police Chief William Blair and Mayor David Miller asked for additional resources and asked for diligence from residents to contend with this issue. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty promised to work with Toronto to fight crime.
In July 2007, Toronto Police were involved in an international incident in which their members pepper-sprayed, tasered, and handcuffed members of the Chilean national soccer team in an attempt to keep control of crowds after their semi-final match in the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. A police spokesman explained on CBC Radio on the programme Here and Now that police took action against individual members of the Chilean team when they "displayed aggressive behaviour" by vandalizing a bus and arguing with fans. The actions of the police were criticised by the TV and print media in Chile, and initially also in Canada.[which?] FIFA president Sepp Blatter later apologized to the Toronto mayor for the incident, and instigated disciplinary action against the officials and players of the Chilean team.
On July 27, 2013, Sammy Yatim was shot and killed by Toronto Police officer James Forcillo on the 505 Dundas streetcar after threatening other passengers and the police with a knife. On August 19, 2013, Forcillo was charged with second-degree murder. Forcillo's trial starts in 2015.
As a division of the municipal government of Toronto, the Toronto Police Service's annual funding level is established by a vote of the Toronto City Council in favour of the year's proposed budget. Provided below are historical gross and net funding levels of the TPS as a part of the city's operating budgets.
As of 2011, a tentative agreement will make Toronto police the country’s highest-paid officers by increasing wages over 11 per cent over the next four years.
Chiefs of police
The chief of police is the highest-ranking officer of the Toronto Police Service. The position was known as High Constable until 1859 and then as Chief Constable until the 1957 when the Toronto Police Department was amalgamated with 12 other Toronto-area forces to form the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force. Most chiefs have been chosen amongst the ranks of Toronto force and promoted/appointed from the ranks of deputy chief; Fantino was hired away from the York Regional Police, but he had been a career officer with Metro Toronto Police leaving as Acting Staff Superintendent.
Toronto Police Department (1834–1956)
Metropolitan Toronto Police (1957–1995), Metropolitan Toronto Police Service, (1995–1998) and Toronto Police Service (1998–present)
Chiefs of Police
Special Investigations Unit
The actions of the Toronto Police are examined by the Special Investigations Unit, a civilian agency responsible for investigating circumstances involving police and civilians that have resulted in a death, serious injury, or allegations of sexual assault. The SIU is dedicated to maintaining one law, ensuring equal justice before the law among both the police and the public. They assure that the criminal law is applied appropriately to police conduct, as determined through independent investigations, increasing public confidence in the police services. Complaints involving police conduct that do not result in a serious injury or death must be referred to the appropriate police service or to another oversight agency, such as the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services.
Toronto Police Headquarters is on College Street near Bay Street in the downtown area. The former HQ at Jarvis Street was turned into a museum (and since re-located to current HQ). The current site was once home to the Toronto YMCA. The current sign in over the main entrance still reads "Metropolitan Toronto Police Headquarters" and still has the seal of Metropolitan Toronto, and since 2007 has the current Toronto Police Service crest.
Central Field Command
Encompasses the original city of Toronto and former cities of York and East York.
Area Field Command
Encompasses the former cities of North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke.
Note: Public Safety Unit is located at 4610 Finch Avenue East next to the former Charles O. Bick Police College
Support units in the Toronto Police Service consists of:
Specialized Operations Command
Community Mobilization Unit
Policing on most 400-series highways (like King's Highways 401, 400, 427, 404) are in the jurisdiction of the Ontario Provincial Police. Toronto Police Traffic Services is responsible for patrolling on local highways (Allen Road, Don Valley Parkway, F.G. Gardiner Expressway and the Toronto section of Highway 409).
The Toronto Police Service has approximately 5,400 uniformed officers/under cover officers and 2,500 civilian employees. Its officers are among the best paid in Canada. In October 2008, the Toronto Police Service was named one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers by Mediacorp Canada Inc., which was announced by the Toronto Star newspaper.
The rank insignia of the Toronto Police Service is similar to that used by police services elsewhere in Canada and in the United Kingdom, except that the usual "pips" are replaced by maple leaves.
Besides the Chief of Police, the other command officers are the Deputy Chiefs. They head the command units.
The Chief Administrative Officer is a civilian post, held by Tony Veneziano.
Police senior officers
The day-to-day and regional operations are commanded by senior officers:
Investigative non-commissioned officers
Investigations are divided into crimes against persons and crimes against property. These investigations are conducted by:
Training and Toronto Police College
New and current officers of the Toronto Police Service train at the Toronto Police College in Etobicoke on Birmingham east of Islington. The initial training is two weeks, followed by 12 weeks at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, Ontario and then six weeks of final training at Toronto Police College. Charles O. Bick College was closed in July 2009.
Front line officers wear dark navy blue shirts, cargo pants (with red stripe) and boots. Winter jackets are either dark navy blue jacket design–Eisenhower style, single breasted front closing, two patch type breast pockets, shoulder straps, gold buttons—or yellow windbreaker style with the word POLICE in reflective silver and black at the back (generally worn by the bicycle and traffic services units). All ranks shall wear dark navy blue clip on ties when wearing long-sleeve uniforms.
Auxiliary officers (shown to the right) wear light blue shirts (long sleeve for winter and short for summer), with the badging of auxiliary on the bottom of the crest. Originally front line officer also wore light blue shirts but changed to the current navy blue shirts in the Fall of 2000.
Hats can be styled after baseball caps, combination caps, or fur trim Yukon (similar to the Ushanka) hats for winter. Motorcycle units have white helmets. Black or reflective yellow gloves are also provided to officers with Traffic Services. Front line officers usually wear combination caps since that is the location of their badge. Prior to the 1990s, female officers wore bowler caps instead of combination caps. Auxiliary officers wear combination caps with a checkered red and black band. The Mounted Unit wear black Canadian military fur wedge cap during the winter months and Custodian helmet for ceremonial use.
As is the case with all Ontario law enforcement officers, uniformed officers wear name tags. They are in the style of "A. Example" where the first letter of the first name is written and the last name next to it. Name tags are usually stitched on with white stitching on a black background, but they also have pin-styled with black lettering on a gold plate.
Senior officers wear white shirts and a black Eisenhower style jacket.
Emergency Task Force
Main article: Emergency Task Force (TPS)
The Emergency Task Force (ETF) is the tactical unit of the Toronto Police Service. It is mandated to deal with high-risk situations like gun calls, hostage taking, barricaded persons, emotionally disturbed persons, high risk arrests and warrant service, and protection details. The unit was created in 1965. An earlier non-SWAT Riot and Emergency Squad emerged in 1961. Part of its role is now undertaken by the ETF, Public Safety and Emergency Management and the Mounted Unit.
TPS is one of several police forces along Lake Ontario with a marine unit. Prior to the 1980s the port area had their own police force, Toronto Harbour Police/Port of Toronto Police and merged into the then Metropolitan Police Force's marine unit.
TPS has a fleet of 15 boats based along marine unit stations in south Etobicoke (Humber Bay West Park), Toronto Harbour and Scarborough (Bluffer's Park):
TPS Marine unit works in conjunction with:
The horse unit was formed in 1886 to provide crowd control and now stationed at the Horse Palace at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). The unit has been based at Casa Loma, Toronto Zoo, Sunnybrook Stables and at various division in Scarborough, Ontario, and North York, Ontario. The unit has a strength of 27 horses and 40 officers.
Police horses Honest Ed and Spencer were invited to the swearing in of United States President Barack Obama by Michigan’s Multi- Jurisdictional Mounted Police Drill Team and Color Guard.
Horses killed while on duty:
Police dog services
The Toronto Police K-9 unit was created in 1989 and is deployed to search for suspects, missing persons and other duties. The service has 17 general purpose dogs. Ali, Indy, Memphis, Nero, Ozzy, Pepper, Rony, Ronin, Timber are dogs attached to this unit. There are 4 drug enforcement dogs and 1 explosives detector dog. The 21 officers and dogs are assigned to this unit and based at 44 Beechwood Drive in Toronto East York
Toronto Police dogs who have died during their service:
In the early 1980s, the Toronto Police Service initiated the hiring of civilian personnel to fill the position of Court Officer. Court Officers are primarily responsible for the safety and security of the public within Toronto's court locations, as well as the transportation, security, and safety of over 400 prisoners attending court each day. Prior to 1980, this function was performed by uniformed Police Officers under the supervision of a Police Sergeant at each court location. In 1980, the first class of twenty civilian employees were appointed by the Police Services Board to replace the uniformed Police Officers at the court locations. These Court Officers were sworn in as Special Constables, pursuant to the provisions of the Police Services Act, which conferred onto them the powers of Police Officers for the performance of their duties.
As the city’s policing needs expanded, so did the continued civilianization of Court Services. In 1984, the first civilian supervisors were trained to replace the Police Sergeants. These supervisors reported to a Detective Sergeant who was responsible for managing all the TPS personnel assigned to a particular court location.
In the mid-1980s, the Summons Bureau became a part of Court Services and the Civilian Summons Servers and support staff took on an expanded role under the newly created Document Services Section. The title Summons Server was changed to Document Server to reflect the expanded responsibilities. Document Servers are responsible for serving summonses, subpoenas and other court documents on individuals required to attend Toronto courts.
Court Services later took on the responsibility of overseeing the Matrons, now referred to as Custodial Officers, which is a small but dedicated group of employees tasked with managing female prisoners at a central location.
By 1990, Court Officers had taken over the responsibility of transporting prisoners in specialized wagons between the court locations, divisions and correctional facilities; a task previously performed only by uniformed Police Officers. This centralized service became known as the Prisoner Transportation Section. By 1995 Court Services promoted its first civilian to the position of Location Administrator, replacing the Detective Sergeants who were formerly in charge of the court locations. Today all sections within Court Services are managed by civilian Location Administrators. These Location Administrators report to one of two Staff Inspectors, who in turn report to the Superintendent of Court Services.
The role of the Special Constable within Court Services has developed significantly beyond its original mandate. As new laws were introduced by Parliament, and the City’s law enforcement needs became increasingly complex, Court Services evolved to assist the TPS in meeting those demands.
Court Services now employs over 700 of the Service’s 2500 civilian employees. It comprises several subunits including Prisoner Transportation, Document Services, the Training Section, and the Computer Assisted Scheduling of Courts (CASC). The role of the Special Constables within these subunits includes the service of legal documents; the execution of warrants; the collection DNA samples from convicted offenders; assisting the TPS Public Order Unit in maintaining order during public demonstrations; and being involved in all aspects of the Court Officer hiring and training process. In addition, members of Court Service are often utilized by the TPS for other specialized community outreach initiatives, such as the TPS Aboriginal Peacekeeping Unit; the TPS United Way fund raising initiative; and the Toronto Drug Treatment Court.
The growth in size of the Court Services Unit necessitated the creation of several specialized functions. A centralized Risk Management Section was created, tasked with the responsibility of investigating any complaints and disciplinary issues involving Court Services personnel. It is staffed by a team of detectives, under the supervision of a Detective Sergeant. The position of Crown Police Liaison Officer was also created allowing for a Detective Sergeant at each criminal court location who is dedicated to assisting the Crown’s Office with the processing of court cases.
As the City’s demand for additional court rooms increases, so does the responsibility of Court Services. There are currently 16 court locations across Toronto, with a total of 257 court rooms. In 2008, approximately 106,000 in-custody accused appeared in these court rooms. Also in that year, the Prisoner Transportation Section transported approximately 186,000 prisoners between police divisions and to and from detention centres. This required a professional staff of clerks, Police Officers and Special Constables, all working collaboratively in an impressive demonstration of excellence through people and partnerships.
Toronto parking enforcement
Parking enforcement on all roads and public property are the responsibility of Toronto Police.
TPE officers are provincial offences officers able to issue parking tickets under part II of the Ontario Provincial Offences Act. They do not carry any use of force items and are unarmed, but are issued Kevlar vests for safety. They are peace officers pursuant to section 15 of the Police Services Act of Ontario for the purpose of enforcing Municipal By-Laws.
Their uniform consists of a blue shirt, black cargo pants with blue stripe, a black vest and a cap with blue stripe. Boots are similar to front line TPS officers. In winter months, TPE officers have a blue jacket with reflective trim. Patches on the jackets and shirts are similar to the TPS, but with a white back ground the blue wording "Parking Enforcement".
Their vehicles have the same paint scheme as the older TPS squad cars, but they are labelled with Parking Enforcement and fleet numbers PKE (East) or PKW (West).
Toronto school crossing guards
Adult crossing guards at various intersections and crosswalks are employed and paid by the TPS. They are under charge by various Division across the city.
Besides wearing the reflective vest (yellow and orange), crossing guards are supplied with a police issue jacket. The jackets have a patch similar to the TPS, but it has a white background and identification as school crossing guards. A winter hat similar to the Ushanka are worn in cold weather.
Toronto Police Lifeguard Service (TPLS)
97 life guards are responsible for patrolling 11 beaches and 44 kilometres of shoreline. The lifeguards are on duty during the summer months and are assisted by the TPS (including the Marine Unit), Toronto Fire Services, and Toronto EMS.
The components of the TPS logo is similar to the old Metro Toronto Police logo less the name change:
Prior to the Metro Police, the Toronto Police Department officers wore a generic Scully badge on their caps, a common shield used by Canadian police forces in the 19th and early 20th Century. This featured a metallic maple leaf with a beaver and crown.
FleetPolice cars, also known as police cruisers, are the standard equipment used by Toronto Police officers for transportation. The vehicles are numbered in regards to their division and car number. For example, 3322 represents that the vehicle is from 33 Division, and the following 22 is the vehicle designation number.
Other fleet numbering patterns include:
An unmarked Cessna 206 H (C-FZRR) is registered with the TPS and been used for undisclosed survellience work. Armed with a camera attached to the side, the aircraft is stored at Buttonville Municipal Airport in Markham, Ontario. The plane has been alleged to have been used during the Rob Ford substance abuse scandal. Normal helicopter support is provided by York Regional Police.
Sidearms and weapons
TPS formerly used Smith & Wesson prior to switching over to the Glock.
Weapons used by the ETF include:
TPS is part of Toronto's Emergency Services and works alongside:
Incidents and controversies