The head of the union representing the city’s front-line cops is fighting back after Deputy Chief Peter Sloly told a community forum that Toronto could probably make do with several hundred “fewer officers.”
According to a report in the Toronto Star, Sloly told attendees at a forum hosted by the Studio Y fellowship program on Friday that policing will be “exponentially costly” so long as it is “focused and driven” on a “reactive enforcement model.”
Sloly also reportedly told the forum that the TPS is “wasting money on infrastructure” and could probably eliminate several hundred officers just by leveraging “big data.”
The comments come in the wake of the budget committee approving a 2016 police budget that will surpass $1 billion dollars for the first time.
“This is not about coming up with positive stuff and saying ‘Hey this is what we really need to look at in policing.’ This is nothing more than Deputy Sloly getting out there and slagging the police service,” Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack told CP24 on Monday. “This is a guy who is the deputy chief responsible for field command. He was responsible for the last six years for the uniformed policing contingency and I don’t recall him at any point coming up to me or coming to the chief and saying ‘Hey we can get rid of 200 police officers or whatever.’”
A third-party report by KPMG released in December made a series of proposals on how to reduce the cost of policing, including outsourcing some jobs, selling some stations and shifting to a community-based policing model that will lessen the need for cruisers in the future.
Speaking with CP24 on Monday, McCormack pointed out that his union has already been active in discussions surrounding “shift scheduling and deployment models” and has supported the civilianization of about 150 jobs in recent years.
The police union boss also suggested that Sloly’s remarks could be motivated by “sour grapes” after he was passed over for the job of chief in favour of Mark Saunders.
“We have been participating in this dialogue for a number of years and we are making changes,” he said. “He knows that.”
Sloly is one of four deputy chiefs with the TPS.
CP24 did reach out to Sloly for further comment about the TPS’s rising budget on Monday, however he declined to comment.