Toronto Police union escalates job action, officers asked to wear 'TPA' hats
Chris Herhalt, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, September 14, 2017 10:06AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 14, 2017 3:07PM EDT
The Toronto Police Association says it is escalating job action claiming police administrators have reneged on a pledge to hire 80 new constables this year.
“Despite our repeated requests over the last four weeks, we’ve received no action on (our promises). All we got from the Chief and the Chair (of the Toronto Police Services Board) was empty promises,” TPA president Mike McCormack said in a video distributed on Thursday.
On Aug.10, the union, the chief and the police services board announced they had reached a deal to hire 80 new constables this year, breaking a hiring freeze.
They also pledged to confirm promotions for all officers and civilians in “acting” supervisory roles, and more overtime money to ensure police divisions meet minimum staffing and service levels.
“Clearly there is no concern from (Toronto Police Headquarters) about what’s going on, on the front line,” McCormack said, later adding that the lack of officers is jeopardizing public safety.
He told CP24 that at one point earlier this year; only six dispatchers were taking 911 calls from the public in the entire city, meaning most callers were put on hold, even if their complaints were severe.
“People are on hold, dialing 911, up to five minutes, that kind of thing is unacceptable,” McCormack told CP24 on Thursday.
He is asking patrol officers to wear navy blue hats with the letters “TPA” written on the front and the website the union has set up to air their grievances written on the back.
Officers who wear the hats will likely be documented by their supervisors for wearing “non-issued equipment.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory said the problems identified by the TPA are being dealt with, including hiring of 80 new constables.
“Every one of the issues they laid out for us is being addressed as we speak,” Tory said.
Police Chief Mark Saunders and other officials did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
McCormack says 203 uniformed officers and more than 100 civilians have left the Toronto police service so far this year, the equivalent of one fully-staffed division in the city.
In the first phase of the TPA's job action, officers were encouraged to take lunch breaks when needed to "de-stress," not use their personal cell phone for work purposes and not respond to commanders encouraging them to hurry up at each call for service.