Police services need to be re-examined
I recently received a copy of my tax bill. I wasn’t shocked at the final bill total, I expected it would be somewhat high; however, I was absolutely floored at what was listed at the top service we pay for.
You’d think the TTC, city debt, and social services would top the list because these are big ticket items, but they were down the list in terms of actual dollars allocated.
The police topped the list. The Toronto Police Service and its Board cost each Torontonian more than $600 this year based on an home with an assessed value of $400,000. The TTC came in a very distant second at roughly $350.
After I picked my mouth up from the floor I had a few questions such as: Why do the police get almost double what the TTC gets? Why are we paying this absurd amount? What are we paying for exactly? More importantly, why can’t these numbers be switched?
In light of the G20 summit the police are being criticized for their actions. I think it’s fair to also question where our money is going.
Toronto police have been eager to show off their newest toys to media to condition us into accepting them. It’s like they taunt us with our money when they show off what they bought.
I understand public safety is always going to be the number one issue that comes up but that argument doesn’t fly anymore.
They may be able to use that tactic against older people who see Toronto as big and bad but that won’t be very effective with the rest of us.
Many studies show crime is declining and has been for many years now. Cities like Edmonton and Winnipeg have a higher crime rate for every 100,000 people than Toronto.
I’m pretty sure Edmontonians and Winnipegers don’t spend that much on police per person and yet somehow they, more or less, are alive and well.
The reason we’re paying roughly $600 is because the police are smart. They know they can make any claim under the guise of public safety and the public will go along with it. How could the public go against those charged with protecting us and ensuring our safety?
They also know arbitrators will capitulate every time when contract negotiations come up. They have to because police, along with ambulance workers and fire fighters, are an essential service.
Just as a side note: we pay roughly $245 for Fire Services and $45 for EMS, which is more than reasonable.
Now don’t get me wrong, it takes a lot to be a police officer. The danger these people face every day must be amazing. I could never do what they do.
While these people are great I want my tax dollars going towards other issues that need to be addressed in this city - transit, debt, infrastructure, etc.
Then there’s the Toronto Police Services Board. They are supposed to be the check in the system. They’re supposed to ensure the police are held accountable.
While I understand this may hold some water when it comes to lodging complaints, this should also include budgetary concerns.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done. All the discussion in the world won’t make a difference because as soon as you cut one dime from the police budget up comes the public safety issue. It’s like the “hidden agenda” tactic used on Conservatives. It’s frustrating.
I’m calling for a thorough review of the Toronto Police Service. The next Mayor of Toronto needs to seriously address the issue I’m raising and find ways to reasonably cut money from the police budget.
He or she also needs to replace the politicians who sit on the board with people who have experience studying crime and finding ways to save money.
It’s never an easy thing to criticize the police and, unfortunately, it may turn out to be political suicide but it needs to be done. We would all be better off for it. I hope the candidates are listening and decide to take meaningful steps to fix this situation.