Toronto police prepare for budget showdown
Published Thursday, August 23, 2012 9:33PM EDT
The Toronto Police Services Board met Thursday for the first of what are expected to be a series of tense budget meetings as the board works to meet the tight demands put forth by the city.
While Toronto police financial director Angelo Cristofaro said the force favours a $10-million hiring plan to maintain the current number of officers, budget chief Mike Del Grande wants a zero per cent increase to police services.
Cristofaro said before the meeting Wednesday that he was going to explain the police’s plan to maintain the number of officers at 5,400, even as older officers retire.
“I think it is a large budget, so you expect that you’re going to get a lot of questions, and you should get a lot of questions and we’re prepared to answer those questions and put forward our position,” Cristofaro said.
While all other city divisions were told to cut budgets by 10 per cent during the last round of budgeting, Toronto Police Services was immune to these cuts and a zero-per-cent increase is seen as the minimum for the coming fiscal year.
Toronto police, however, did implement a hiring freeze in 2011 and 2012.
The buzz word for this round of budgeting will be “thorough,” Del Grande said.
“The goal here, hopefully, would be to have revenues match the expenses and our expenses are always extreme,” he said. “You can always add more all the time, so there is a decision to be made.”
As part of the budgeting process, Del Grande has questioned whether Toronto Police Services has the appropriate number of officers for the city.
During the last police board meeting, Del Grande said police need an independent study into exactly how many officers are required on Toronto streets.
Councillors have also suggested that there could be one officer, rather than two, in cruisers that respond to daytime, low-priority calls.
“It’s not necessarily a function of too many officers as much as, perhaps, proper deployment of officers,” said budget committee member Frank Di Giorgio.
With files from CTV Toronto’s Natalie Johnson