Sitting on the Police Board last term was one of the most important public services I’ve ever delivered. Most of our 5000+ officers on the ground are giving it their all, but we know their training needs to improve. I dropped everything and went to Police College to actually take their three-day annual training. I am pleased to report that improvement efforts there are well underway.
Recently in Don Valley North, Chief Saunders began a process of ‘twinning’ our Division 32 ad Division 33 operations. Both great stations will always be there but key crime fighting operations are shared to provide greater reach and better intel from across our growing community.
However, simply policing incidents does not make a safer community. At City Hall, we need to look at the root causes of crime in communities, such as lack of mental health supports and youth programming that truly meets the demand in priority neighbourhoods.
In fact, addressing the root cause is more effective and more affordable. For example, we can expand the Youth Outreach Worker (YOWs) program to put a full time YOW in every single community centre. This would ensure they actually get out of the centre every week to do their outreach. When we properly staff the YOW program, they can actively pull youth towards a life of positive social and athletic activity. We have seen that this works — we need to stop cutting their hours.
Read my E-Blast from September 6th- Straight Talk on Community Safety