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TTC needs fully-trained police officers

Published in the Toronto Sun, 27 March 2023

If the solution to effectively combating the escalating violence on Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) property is more patrols by Toronto Police, whether on paid-duty or not, then maybe it’s time for the TTC to admit that TTC Special Constables should be elevated to full-fledged police officers, or at the very least, elevate them to the same status as the special constables employed by the Niagara Parks Commission.  Unlike other special constables in Ontario, Niagara Parks Police officers are fully armed and receive their basic and advanced training through the Ontario Police College, just like all full-fledged police officers do in Ontario.

One common complaint about special constables is their lower training standards, something that could be easily fixed by sending them to the Ontario Police College for training.  As for equipping them with firearms, if it’s not a problem for Toronto Police officers to be patrolling the TTC with their firearms, why should there be a problem with properly trained TTC Special Constables being similarly equipped?  Unlike cops on TV, the majority of police officers only ever discharge their firearms at a gun range, or to put down an animal, so it’s not like there would be bullets flying around crowded subway stations every day.

The TTC needs to decide if they really want to a safer transit system or not, and what kind of training standards they want for their enforcement unit. They should also hire more officers too, but that’s another issue.

Since the current TTC Commissioner, Jon Burnside, is a former Toronto Police officer, I hope he takes a serious look at the idea of having TTC officers trained to the same standard as other police officers in Ontario.

(They need to consider an all-of-the-above approach, as the incidents of violent crimes on the TTC isn’t subsiding)

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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