Press Release-Police: Capping the budget and de-escalation

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Goldkind Proposes three bold moves for Toronto’s Police Service

TORONTO – JULY 24, 2014 – The Toronto Police Service could serve Toronto better by doing three unconventional things: 1) capping the ever increasing police budget 2) focusing on de-escalation and innovation, and 3) keeping the police chief away from the books, says Ari Goldkind, lawyer, and candidate for Mayor of Toronto.

Speaking in response to today’s release of the Iacobucci Report, Goldkind states that a great deal of the problems with the current TPS stem from a mindset of “bigger is better,” and that there is “a bottomless pit of available taxpayer funds.”

Goldkind’s three-part plan calls first for a cap on the total yearly police budget. “Police forces often operate on the idea that if they need more of anything, they will just get it,” he says, “which results in expensive six-figure officers doing work that junior staff could do, as well as a pack mentality that feels that throwing more officers onto a problem will solve it.” Goldkind suggests that the TPS be given a capped, lump-sum budget for the year in the same manner as the Canadian Armed Forces and numerous other departments receive, which encourages the development of efficiencies, innovation, and more strategic resource allocation.

Second, one of the great needs, Goldkind, emphasizes, is a focus on de-escalation, especially when it comes to dealing with the mentally ill and the emotionally disturbed. Goldkind highlights that there are more qualified resources available to assist the police, namely trained mental health workers, who can help defuse a standoff with those individuals who may not be able to understand a traditional, command-oriented police approach.

Lastly, Goldkind points out that the Chief of Police should not be in charge of the TPS finances, and that this role should reside with the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). “There is great potential for a conflict of interest, when the city’s top police officer holds the keys to the safe.” Toronto’s top cop should apply his talents and experience to policing, not budgeting, and work within the mandate to be finally provided by City Council.

Goldkind recognizes that it is in the public’s interest to have a strong and empowered police force, but he states that the mindset required for a city the size and nature of Toronto requires the introduction of more modern and effective techniques. Serving and protecting all Torontonians, including those who have, for whatever reason, found themselves in situations they cannot control, is the mandate of the TPS and improvements must be made.

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