Police Board to hold Virtual Meeting on January 27, 2022
TORONTO: The next scheduled meeting of the Toronto Police Services Board will take place on January 27, 2022 at 9AM.
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, and to protect the health and wellbeing of all involved while adhering to public health advice, this Board Meeting will proceed as a virtual meeting. Members of the public and media are welcome and encouraged to attend the meeting through our livestream at: https://youtu.be/aakJQE--_i4.
Items of Interest at this virtual Board meeting include:
SEARCH OF PERSONS UPDATE
The Board will hear a presentation from the Service concerning the Service’s progress on Search of Persons governance since the first updates were released in November of 2020. The presentation will include information on strip search totals city-wide by week, the Service’s ongoing review of the use of strip searches – emphasizing accountability, and updates to procedural and other requirements that now guide the use of strip searches.
The presentation will detail the Phone/Search Room Project, which ensures the provision of phone facilities to arrested individuals, with a focus on providing audio privacy, while maximizing safety and accountability, and a variety of governance changes resulting from the Gender Diversity Trans Inclusion consultations, including requirements for the Officer in Charge to actively request the gender identity and preferred pronouns of persons being paraded, and field searches to take into consideration gender. Improvements to the booking and search template, as well as training, are also detailed. Notably, the report notes that the province’s Independent Police Review Director recommended “that police services review their current strip search procedures and compare them to the new procedures recently developed by the Toronto Police Service (TPS) in response to our recommendations.”
MILITARY VETERANS WELLNESS PROGRAM
The Board will hear a presentation from P.C. Aaron Dale from the Service’s Community Partnership & Engagement Unit and P.C. Jeremy Burns from 42 Division Primary Response Unit, about the Military Veterans Wellness Program, which is anticipated to launch in Toronto in the spring of 2022. The mission of this Program is to improve the well-being of veterans by providing law enforcement agencies with a better understanding of the mental health and other challenges experienced by some veterans, de-escalation approaches to crisis calls involving veterans, and a streamlined referral process to national support services for veterans. The presentation will detail various aspects of the Program, including education and training, the referral process, policy and planning, collaboration with stakeholders and partners (including industry leaders the Royal Canadian Legion, Operational Stress Injury Social Support and Veterans Affairs Canada), and the national implementation and communications plan. The Program, the motto of which is “Nobody Fights Alone,” was designed to work nationally, and the team will continue to build upon the different functional areas to grow the initiative across the country so that all law enforcement agencies are better equipped to assist veterans.
This important Program is the recipient of the Board’s 2021 Mental Health Excellence Award. At the time of the award announcement in November 2021, Chair Jim Hart noted that “this award reflects the great priority that the Board places on the critical issue of police interaction with people experiencing mental illness, and the importance of compassion, and the use of a holistic response. This year’s award winners are extremely deserving, and their comprehensive, multi-pronged program serves as a vital lifeline to veterans who may be struggling in their transition to society, offering them access to a variety of services to help them overcome the unique challenges they face.”
TORONTO POLICE SERVICE MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTIONS STRATEGY
The Board will consider a report from Chief Ramer containing an update on the Service’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy. The Service acknowledges that responding to people who appear to be experiencing mental health or addiction issues is a challenging societal and policing issue. The report introduces the Service’s Mental Health Champion, Superintendent David Rydzik. As the report notes, of the Strategy’s 46 action items, 40 are ‘Implemented and Ongoing’, two are ‘Concluded’, and four are ‘Ongoing.’ The report includes a detailed implementation update for each of the Strategy’s action items.
As Chief Ramer states in the report, the Strategy emphasizes the Service’s commitment to the principles of transparency and accountability, including the importance of annual reporting. The Service has created an interactive public dashboard which will be updated continuously to track the Strategy’s progress. The dashboard describes both the Board’s and the Service’s work plan for the implementation of each of these critical initiatives, tracks our progress, and provides links to relevant results and outcomes, as soon as they are available. In the future, it will integrate with other Service dashboards, as well as support valuable information-sharing with the City of Toronto.
As with all meetings, a recording of this meeting will be posted and archived to the Toronto Police Service YouTube account at https://www.youtube.com/TorontoPolice for members of the public to access later at their convenience.
The Toronto Police Services Board is the civilian body responsible for governing the Toronto Police Service. The Board is responsible for ensuring the provision of adequate and effective police services in the City of Toronto, setting priorities and objectives for the Toronto Police Service, approving the annual police budget and selecting the Chief of Police.