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TTC Needs the Police

February 2009
 
Re: Another TTC shooting (February 24), it’s high time Toronto Transit Commission Special Constables were given full police status and issued side-arms. Although Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has promised to increase the police presence on the TTC system, it’s simply not enough. By default, Chief Blair has admitted that an armed police presence is needed on TTC property on a more regular basis, so why not use the existing TTC Special Constable Service to create a transit police service?

TTC Special Constables are sworn peace officers and as such, have the authority of a Police Officer on or in relation to TTC property, including busses and streetcars. Accordingly, they are expected to act just like Police Officers. They dress in uniforms that look quite similar to Toronto Police uniforms, have batons and pepper spray and already function essentially as transit police, not as security officers.

Law Enforcement officers like Railway Police Officers, Federal Correctional Officers and Conservation Officers are already armed, so why not TTC officers? Even Federal Fisheries Officers are armed with high-powered military-type rifles. I’m not trying to make a guns-for-the-sake-of-having-guns argument, but what if an unarmed TTC Special Constable was the first on the scene of a shooting and the suspect, thinking it was a police officer, started shooting at them?

Toronto Police officers are not always near TTC property nor available if are in the area. Will Chief Blair be able to keep up this proposed commitment? Will other priorities in the city eventually take Toronto officers away from TTC property?

It’s time for Toronto to take it’s head out of the sand and admit that deadly violence is a real problem on the transit system. In 2005, the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority made their transit officers full Police Officers, guns included. For the sake of public safety, and the safety of TTC Special Constables, Toronto needs to do the same.

 


Re: We want actual cops: TTC union (February 26), it’s high time Toronto Transit Commission Special Constables were given full police status and issued side-arms. Although Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has promised to increase the police presence on the TTC system, it’s simply not enough. Both Chief Blair and Bob Kinnear have now admitted that an armed police presence is needed on TTC property on a more regular basis, so why not use the existing TTC Special Constable Service to create a transit police service? They know the transit system better than anyone.

TTC Special Constables are sworn peace officers and as such, have the authority of a Police Officer on or in relation to TTC property, including busses and streetcars. Accordingly, they are expected to act just like Police Officers. They dress in uniforms that look quite similar to Toronto Police uniforms, have batons and pepper spray and already function essentially as transit police, not as security officers.

Toronto Police officers are not always near TTC property nor available if are in the area. Will Chief Blair be able to keep up this proposed commitment? Will other priorities in the city eventually take Toronto officers away from TTC property? You only need to go as far as Caledonia to see what happens when a large organization has other priorities. All OPP Detachments were raided of officers and re-deployed to handle the problems at Caledonia. Will the TTC remain a priority?

It’s time for Toronto to take it’s head out of the sand and admit that deadly violence is a real problem on the transit system. In 2005, the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority made their transit officers full Police Officers, guns included. For the sake of public safety, and the safety of TTC Special Constables, Toronto needs to do the same.

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.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/ttc-needs-the-police/

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