Toronto Police Accountability Bulletin No. 9

March 1st 2004

1. Slowly uncovering the police budget
2. OCCOPS finds Gardner in breach of code of conduct
3. Defining a new complaints mechanism
4. Better ways of identifying police officers
5. Judge Ferguson's report finally public
6. Looking for police leadership - latest draft

1. Slowly uncovering the police budget

Perhaps this is a story based on the dance of the seven veils, where slowly one more veil falls and a bit more is revealed.

When the Police Services Board met on February 26, it heard half a dozen deputations for the public on the budget, and then asked the chief to file a detailed budget for it and the public to see on March 2. The chief subsequently filed budget papers with the Board, and the Board made those available a few days later on its website, http://www.torontopoliceboard.on.ca .

The chief filed about 160 pages, and they are posted on the web site in four different bundles. Virtually all of this information has been seen before as reports to the board justifying the $50 million increase the chief has requested this year. With one small exception, it is a repeat of what the chief has been saying for the last few months, and could not be considered as providing, as the Board has requested, the level of financial detail provided by other city services.

The exception is six pages found at the end of the fourth bundle, labelled pages 129 - 34. This is titled "Program breakdown by Command', and it lists spending according to the four main command segments of the police - chief, corporate support (basically administration), police support (detectives, courts, communications, special units), and police operations (the various divisions). This is new information, and while not enough information can be provided in six pages to permit informed decision-making, it does provide a glimpse into how the organization is structured.

For instance, there are 142 staff under the chief's direct command, of which 27 are shown as being immediately under him (but it is not clear what they do), and 17 are in his corporate communications unit. The budget for corporate communications is shown as $1.6 million, which is $300,000 more than last year. That works out to an average cost of almost $100,000 per person, which represents pretty handsome salaries for a group of PR flacks.

By way of comparison, community policing support has a staff of 16 and a budget of $1.4 million (down from $2.1.million last year), which indicates pretty clearly where the priorities of the police lie. When people complain about the lack of community policing, they need only look to the budget to see why.

The budget for the mounted and police dog services is $7 million and for public safety, $4.6 million. Total spending on detectives (of which there are 634) is $65 million, but this is not broken down into the different areas of expertise. The internal investigative unit - police investigating police - has a staff of 51 and a budget of $5.2 million.

Overall, the budget accounts for a total of just over 7000 staff, of which 1700 are civilians, and a budget of $680 million - which means on average, a cost of about $100,000 per person. It's a really expensive way to run things.

More information may be made available. The Board has set up a small subcommittee to look more closely at what other detailed information is available. There are two scenarios available: either the chief has detailed information which he has not yet released; or he doesn't have detailed information and the budget was pulled together from generalities. One fears the latter but suspects the former, and that more information will be released in advance of the March 22 date when the Board has said it will hear comments from the public on the detailed budget.

Meanwhile, the city's Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) has reacted strongly to the Board's decision on February 26 to offer up reductions totalling $12 million from its request for an extra $50 million this year. BAC says that about $8 million of the proposed reductions are not cost savings, but are simply ways of putting off expenditures to a future year, and will not be accepted. Maybe the police will have to get more serious about revealing exactly where it does spend money, and showing where costs can be reduced. The first focus for this will be March 22, followed by debate in city council in April.

2. OCCOPS finds Gardner in breach of code of conduct

Norm Gardner, chair of the Toronto Police Services Board who, until July had been forced to step aside while his actions were investigated, has been found by the Ontario Civilian Commission of Police Services to have breached the code of conduct because he took ammunition from the police service. Quoting from the decision:

"In total, he received 5,700 rounds of ammunition of mixed quality that had a total retail value of somewhere between $700 and $1,800.

"We acknowledge that this amount was not large in the context of the requirements of an experienced sport shooter. However, more to the point we note that the amounts that he took each time were far in excess of that necessary for requalification (i.e. 50 rounds), normally issued to police officers for off site practice (i.e. 100 rounds) for use on site for tactical training (300 to 350 rounds).

"Clearly, Mr. Gardner was both taking and using this ammunition for his personal use and acknowledged principle hobby. By any objective standard or reasonable community expectation this is not acceptable.

"This conduct advanced Mr. Gardner's personal interests at the expense of the Service. It discredited and compromised the integrity of Board. It arose from a lack of diligence and cannot inspire public confidence in the abilities and integrity of the Board.

"It was suggested that this all might in some fashion be mitigated by the fact that officers never turned Mr. Gardner down and indeed at different times appeared to have been eager to place ammunition into the trunk of his car.

"To put this matter in context, it is worth noting that at the time of these events, Mr. Gardner was Chair of the Board. He was the most senior and longest serving Board appointee. He was at the apex of the Service hierarchy. He dropped by the Armament Office unannounced for brief visits. He spoke to officers who were no doubt, surprised and pleased to see him.

"Some were clearly flattered by his attention and sought to obtain his positive notice&

"&we find that Mr. Gardner's conduct with respect to the receipt of the 5,700 rounds of Toronto Police Service ammunition for his personal use warrants a finding that he contravened sections 8, 10 and 13 of the Code and was therefore not performing the duties of his position in a satisfactory manner."

In regard to the other matter for which the OCCOPS hearing was held - a handgun delivered to Mr. Gardner that was not paid for until after the gun had become a matter of public debate, the hearing panel decided that "we accept Mr. Gardner's evidence that he was not seeking a personal benefit and always intended to pay for the Tac .45 [handgun]. Further, we do not find in these events a clear intention on Mr. Gardner's part to deceive, enrich himself, take advantage of his position or advance the commercial interests of a party with whom he had an association.

"While his actions from March 6, 2003 onwards may have been sloppy and are not to his credit they do not rise to the level of misconduct nor do they establish that Mr. Gardner was not performing his essential duties or is incapable of performing his duties in a satisfactory manner. Overall, in our view his conduct in this matter falls a hair' below the threshold."

The panel has asked parties to make submissions before March 19 on penalties flowing from the breach of conduct.

3. Defining a new complaints mechanism

At its February 26 meeting, the Board considered a report from the Board Chair, Alan Heisey, on the elements of an effective police complaints system. (The report can be found as Item 4 on the Board agenda of February 26, 2004, found on http://www.torontopoliceboard.on.ca . The report reviews complaint systems in other jurisdictions and concludes with a set of principles:

"Principles of an Effective Complaints System:

"In analyzing the foregoing alternative models to the complaints system, it is useful to articulate those principles that the Board views as the hallmarks of a successful system. Board staff have reviewed complaint system models in use in other jurisdictions and have drafted the list below. It is submitted that the following represent these fundamental principles:

  • An open and accessible system that is accountable to the public
  • Thorough and comprehensive investigations
  • The use of highly trained investigators
  • Public awareness of the availability of the system and how the process operates
  • Public confidence in the system
  • A system that is fair and appears to be fair to both complainants and to the police
  • Investigations completed within a timely manner and within prescribed timelines
  • Complaints dealt with consistently in accordance with uniform principles
  • Mechanisms to deal with a multiplicity of proceedings arising from the same incident
  • Avenues for review and appeal of decisions

"In addition, it has been my personal observation that there is a need to streamline the complaints system in terms of dealing with the variety of proceedings that may arise out of a single incident. This is an issue for both complainants and police officers alike. Some of the alternative models described above directly address this important concern."

Toronto Police Accountability Coalition has reviewed these principles and while it agrees this might be seen as a good start, there are several serious omissions. This set of principles fails mention to need for the commission to be independent. There is no mention of the ability for third parties to complain or for complaints to be considered about systemic behaviour, nor does it stress the need for good record keeping.

TPAC will be drafting a brief for the Board has scheduled this matter to be held at the Police Services Board meeting in late April. The TPAC brief will be based on a previous brief to the City Auditor, who studied the matter of complaints, and on the results of the public meeting called by TPAC on this issue last November. The provincial government is actively considering the introduction of legislation this year to establish a new police complaints system.

4. Better ways of identifying police officers

- by Harvey Simmons
At a peace demonstration some time ago, a police sergeant was asked why some officers did not have badge numbers on their shirts. "Because they sometimes fall off," he said.

Police often interact with the public, sometimes in highly conflictual ways, which makes it is important that they be easily identified. Toronto police officers are obligated, in principle, to wear their badge numbers on the shoulders of their uniforms, but badges are small and hard to read, numbers hard to remember, sometimes badges are missing, or not on jackets and raincoats.

A random survey of police departments in various Canadian cities, and a few large American cities points to an alternative method of Identification, the name tag.

Calgary police wear a badge with their last name, pinned to their shirt. Their last name is sewn on sweaters. Edmonton police have the badge number on their shoulders and name bars clipped on their patrol jackets. Vancouver officers may choose to wear a name tag, or a tag that has their badge number. In western communities where the R.C.M.P. acts as local police force, uniformed officers have name tags sewn on all items of uniform. Ontario Provincial Police officers have names on their shirts.

New York City police officers have their badge number and their last name clipped to their shirts. Chicago officers are required to have their name on a brass clip pinned on their uniform and their badge number on their hat. Detroit officers have name tags pinned onto the chest of shirt, and a name tag on outside clothing.

Regulation 4.11.12 of the Toronto police Service Rules states that 'members shall not & conceal from view or remove their issued identification number badge from its prescribed location on their headdress [referring to Sikh turbans] or numerals from epaulet sleeves on prescribed outerwear or shirt." That appears to be the only reference to the wearing of a number badge in the Services Rules - there does not appear to be a rule which states they must be worn when on duty.

Perhaps it's time that regulations stipulate that all Toronto police officers have their last names sewn onto their uniform shirts, jackets and exterior gear. This change would humanize officers who are now identified, if at all, as merely badge numbers, and would signal a new readiness on the part of the Toronto police to be held accountable for their actions.

5. Judge Ferguson's Report Becomes Public

Responding to allegations of misconduct within the Toronto Police Force, Chief Julian Fantino retained Judge George Ferguson in November 2001 to submit a report on several issues: the disclosure of police misconduct; systemic issues regarding police misconduct and corruption; the role of informers; and the conduct of internal investigations. Judge Ferguson submitted his report in January 2003 and finally, 14 months later, the chief has agreed to make the report public. Chief Fantino has said that many of the two dozen recommendations have already been implemented, but he could not recall specifically which ones. He will report to the Toronto Police Services Board at their meeting on March 25.

Among the most interesting recommendations are those concerning the Employment Unit which Judge Ferguson thinks must be "substantially upgraded" and "be provided with additional financial resources and sufficiently skilled personnel." He recommends that the Employment Unit "must develop and implement a professionally targeted and focused recruitment program" that does comprehensive background checks on candidates, and appeals to students at universities and community colleges. He makes specific recommendations for greater outreach to minority groups including using an advisory recruitment committee.

Judge Ferguson recommends psychological testing and assessment of all those being promoted within the service, and requests candidates for promotion complete courses about management skills and ethics. He recommends that the Internal Affairs Unit be given an independent status and staffed with skilled investigators.

The recommendation which has received the most attention concerns the need for drug testing of all those being promoted or reassigned to sensitive or high risk functions in the service, such as the Drug Squad, Intelligent Services, Internal Affairs and Professional Standards. He has also asked for a comprehensive policy to be developed to ensure that officers do not engage in the consumption of alcoholic beverages while on duty.

The full report is available at http://www.torontopolice.on.ca

6. Looking for police leaders

The Toronto Police Accountability Coalition draft brief to be presented to the Board on March 25 was published in Bulletin 8. A number of comments were received and the document has been redrafted. Comments on the latest draft will be considered until March 15, when the document will be submitted to the Board. Please direct comments at j.sewell@on.aibn.com .

March 8 draft:
The Toronto Police Services Board is about to embark on a search for a deputy chief of police. Further, the contract for the current Chief of Police of Toronto expires in March, 2005, and while it might be extended for several years, this position must be filled within the mid-term. These two openings provide an excellent opportunity to talk publicly about the principles that should underlie the recruitment and selection of candidates for these positions., and the function of the police in Toronto .

A. A process to select new leaders

Toronto has begun a new era in community police relations and police governance, one that is more open and transparent than in the past, one that involves more discussion and consultation. These changes are positive and while change always presents new tensions, they can do nothing but improve the delivery of policing services and improve the day-to-day operations of the police department.

Before any formal selection processes are undertaken there should be a wide-ranging debate on the key issues facing the Toronto Police department, the functions of the police in the city, and the qualities that would be looked for in new police leaders. This debate should be open, wide-ranging and comprehensive. It should be undertaken by a representative panel of Torontonians, appointed by City Council and the Toronto Police Services Board, and reporting publicly to the Board. The panel should publish and distribute a draft paper on the issues involved; it should then hold public hearings and meetings on this draft; it should redraft the paper as a result of the feedback, then ask for written submissions on the final draft; and finally it should prepare a final position paper on the three major topics (issues, functions, and qualities) which is presented to the Board.

This kind of process will help focus the issues and will give much needed public support for policing in Toronto . This debate should be open to all members of the Toronto community, including members of the police force. Once begun, it will probably take three months to complete.

Once the public consultation is completed, and the report prepared and adopted by the Board, the advertising, interview and selection process for new leaders should be undertaken by a group of key people consisting of members of the Toronto Police Service Board, advised by other selected community leaders who represent Toronto's diverse population, and who would be part of the interview and decision-making process. The Board should undertake a broad search - certainly Canada-wide, given the importance nationally of the Toronto police service, and probably international - and postings should not be limited to those who are or who have served with the Toronto Police force.

B. Criteria in the selection of new police leaders

These criteria are a beginning point for the public discussion recommended above.

1. Police and other public services

It is critical to define how the Toronto Police force relates to other government services and social agencies. In recent years the Toronto Police force has "gone it alone" and has not had the good working relationships with other government agencies or social agencies that one would wish. (For instance, it has consumed extraordinary sums of money which might have been more effectively used by other government programs.) It would be best if we began to restate a new view of how the police work in our society. That view might be as follows:

The Toronto Police Service recognizes that it alone is incapable of improving security and safety in society but that it is one service among many with that objective. The Toronto Police Service will work closely with other government departments, social agencies, and community groups to help improve safety and security in the city.

One of the first questions for a leadership candidate is whether that person shares that vision of policing, and has demonstrated that commitment in the past.

2. Management skills

Superior management skills are often lacking in senior police managers since police managers are hired from within, and in every case have had to work their way up from the very bottom of the organization. This is something on which Judge Ferguson has specific recommendations in his recently released report. Unlike other public and private organizations, good managers are not brought into the police service from other organizations. It is critical that new leaders have demonstrated management skills including the ability to delegate to others; to share decision-making with others; sensitivity to the human needs of his/her immediate staff and other senior managers; and the ability to encourage the best decisions from others.

Candidates should be asked their opinions on bringing into positions of senior management individuals who may have limited knowledge of policing, but strong management skills. While this has not been done in the Toronto Police force, it is long overdue. Good management has a very positive effect throughout the organization in terms of productivity, imaginative solutions, and personal relationships. In many cases good managers are able to function well in senior positions even though they may not have 'walked the walk' of those they are managing.

3. Finances

The financial demands of the Toronto Police Service are extraordinary, and in their current state are probably unsustainable. Methods must be found of reducing expenditures while delivering first class service. This will probably be accomplished by being much clearer about the function of the police (which should probably be much more narrowly defined) and by carrying out effective research and development experiments about how public safety programs can be best delivered. As is clear from City Council's adoption of the Community Safety program, prevention is often a better way to spend money than enforcement. New leaders require demonstrated skills in this area. This includes an interest in making details of the budget public, and a willingness to discuss those details with those interested.

4. Good relationships with the community

As many have pointed out, the success of policing depends to a large extent on the police service taking instructions of the communities and their leaders. In the past it was assumed that this would occur with what was called "community policing", but resources have been stripped away from community policing in the last five years so that its operation is all but non-existent in Toronto. Recently there has been an attempt to re-establish better relations with communities by holding Town Hall community meetings which, although welcome, have not forged lasting links.

New attempts must be made to ensure that police and communities feel at ease with each other. This must be done in cost-effective ways which move beyond simply good public relations into programs that are effective both for police and communities, creating more safety and security, and a sense that crime is under control. There must be an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. The police force must make much more serious headway in beginning to reflect the racial and cultural diversity of Toronto - the force must proactively recruit and retain members of the diverse communities that exist in Toronto - and officers must be encouraged to live in the city.

5. Accountability

Many have noted in recent years that it does not seem that the police are accountable to the public. This might be a result of the demise of the independent complaints mechanism but it may also be a sign of a broader trend.

Accountability must be re-established. As a start, this can be done by leaders making it clear that they are directly (in the case of the chief) or indirectly accountable to the Police Services Board and to City Council. Leaders must require that members of the force be open and transparent in their dealings with the public and with agencies such as the Special Investigations Unit. Leaders must support an independent complaints mechanism and have demonstrated skills in public accountability.

C. Critical issues

In the last few years, several issues have been of great public concern, and the way they are approached will be critical for new leaders to be successful. They are as follows:

1. Recognition of the existence of racial profiling and willingness to take effective action to limit and prevent it.

2. Support for public expressions of dissent, and a willingness to use police resources to enable the public to demonstrate dissent and not to harass and intimidate demonstrators.

3. Ability to address corruption and allegations of corruption within the force.

4. Support for an independent review of police complaints.

5. Willingness to ensure that strip searches occur as only an extraordinary police procedure (as called for in the Golden decision of the Supreme Court of Canada) , and that such searches as documented and fully reported.

6. Willingness to implement inquest recommendations (such as the Edmond Yu inquest concerning policing and the mentally ill) and social audit recommendations (such as the Jane Doe Audit regarding sexual assault.)

7. Undertaking neither to engage in nor to tolerate police officers engaging in, partisan political activity.
Toronto Police Accountability Coalition
E-mail: info@tpac.ca