The Toronto Police is one of the English-speaking world’s oldest modern municipal police departments; older than, for example, the legendary New York City Police Department which was formed in 1845 or the Boston Police Department which was established in 1839. The London Metropolitan Police of 1829 is generally recognized as the first modern municipal department. In 1835, Toronto retained five fulltime constables—a ratio of about one officer for every 1,850 citizens. Their daily pay was set at 5 shillings for day duty and 7 shillings, 6 pence, for night duty. In 1837 the constables’ annual pay was fixed at £75 per annum, a lucrative City position when compared to the Mayor’s annual pay of £250 at the time.
From 1834 to 1859, the Toronto Police was a corrupt and notoriously political force with its constables loyal to the local aldermen who personally appointed police officers in their own wards for the duration of their incumbency. Toronto constables on numerous occasions suppressed opposition candidate meetings and took sides during bitter sectarian violence between Orange Order and Irish Catholic radical factions in the city. A Provincial Government report in 1841 described the Toronto Police as “formidable engines of oppression.” Although constables were issued uniforms in 1837, one contemporary recalled that the Toronto Police was "without uniformity, except in one respect—they were uniformly slovenly." After an excessive outbreak of street violence involving Toronto Police misconduct, including an episode where constables brawled with Toronto’s firemen in one incident, and stood by doing nothing in another incident while enraged firemen burned down a visiting circus when its clowns jumped a lineup at a local whorehouse, the entire Toronto Police force, along with its Chief, were fired in 1859.
The new force was removed from Toronto City Council jurisdiction (except for the setting of the annual budget and manpower levels) and placed under the control of a provincially mandated Board of Police Commissioners. Under its new Chief, William Stratton Prince, a former infantry captain, standardized training, hiring practices and new strict rules of discipline and professional conduct were introduced. Today's Toronto Police Service directly traces its ethos, constitutional lineage and Police Commission regulatory structure to the 1859 reforms.
In the 19th Century the Toronto Police mostly focused on the suppression of rebellion in the city particularly during the Fenian threats of 1860 to 1870. The Toronto Police were probably Canada's first security intelligence agency when they established a network of spies and informants throughout Canada West in 1864 to combat US Army recruiting agents attempting to induce British Army soldiers stationed in Canada to desert to serve in the Union Army in the Civil War. The Toronto Police operatives later turned to spying on the activities of the Fenians and filed reports to the Chief from as far as Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago and New York City. When in December 1864, the Canada West secret frontier police was established under Stipendiary Magistrate Gilbert McMicken, some of the Toronto Police agents were reassigned to this new agency.
In 1863 the Toronto Police were also used as "Indian fighters" during the Manitoulin Island Incident when some fifty natives armed with knives forced the fishery inspector William Gibbard and a fishery operation to withdraw from unceded tribal lands on Lake Huron. Thirteen armed Toronto police officers, along with constables from Barrie, were dispatched to Manitoulin Island to assist the government in retaking the fishery operation, but were forced back when the natives advanced now armed with rifles. The police withdrew but were later reinforced and eventually arrested the entire band but not before William Gibbard was killed by unknown parties. (Sidney L. Harring White Man's Law: Native People in Nineteenth-Century Canadian Jurisprudence Toronto: Osgood Society-University of Toronto Press, 1998. pp. 152-153)
In the 1870s, as the Fenian threat began to gradually wane and the Victorian moral reform movement gained momentum, Toronto police primarily functioned in the role of “urban missionaries” whose function it was to regulate unruly and immoral behaviour among the "lower classes". They were almost entirely focused on arresting drunks, prostitutes, disorderlies, and violators of Toronto’s ultra-strict Sunday "blue law".
In the days before public social services, the force functioned as a social services mega-agency. Prior the creation of the Toronto Humane Society in 1887 and the Children’s Aid Society in 1891, the police oversaw animal and child welfare, including the enforcement of child support payments. They operated the city's ambulance service and acted as the Board of Health. Police stations at the time were designed with space for the housing of homeless, as no other public agency in Toronto dealt with this problem. Shortly before the Great Depression, in 1925, the Toronto Police housed 16,500 homeless people that year.
The Toronto Police regulated street-level business: cab drivers, street vendors, corner grocers, tradesmen, rag men, junk dealers, laundry operators. Under public order provisions, the Toronto Police was responsible for the licensing and regulation of dance halls, pool halls, theatres, and later movie houses. It was responsible for censoring the content of not only theatrical performances and movies, but of all literature in the city ranging from books and magazines to posters and advertising.
The Toronto Police also suppressed labour movements which were perceived as anarchist threats. The establishment of the mounted unit is directly related to the four-month Toronto streetcar strike of 1886, when authorities called on the Governor General's Horse Guard Regiment to assist in suppressing the strike.
As for serious criminal investigations, the Toronto Police frequently (but not always) contracted with private investigators from the Pinkerton’s Detective Agency until the 20th century when it developed its own internal investigation and intelligence capacity.
During the 1930s and 1940s, the Toronto Police under Chief Dennis "Deny" Draper returned to its function as an agency to suppress political dissent. Its notorious "Red Squad" brutally dispersed demonstrations by labour unions and by unemployed and homeless people during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Suspicious of "foreigners", the police lobbied the City of Toronto to pass legislation banning public speeches in languages other than English, curtailing union organization among Toronto's vast immigrant populations working in sweat shops.
After several scandals, including a call by Chief Draper to have reporters "shot" and his being arrested driving drunk, the City appointed a new Police Chief from its own ranks for the first time in the department's history: John Chisholm, a very able senior police inspector. Unfortunately Chisholm was not up to the politics of the Chief's office, especially in facing off with Fred "Big Daddy" Gardiner who engineered almost single-handedly the formation of Metropolitan Toronto in the 1950s. The Toronto City Police absorbed the surrounding police departments and grew in size and complexity, Chisholm found himself unable to manage the huge agency and its Byzantine politics. In 1958, after a number of conflicts with Gardiner and members of the newly expanded Metropolitan Toronto Board of Police Commissioners, Chief Chisholm drove to High Park on the city's west end, parked his car and committed suicide with his service revolver. The late Staff Superintendent Jack Webster, one of the officers who arrived at the scene of the Chief's death and who would upon his retirement in the 1990s become the Force Historian at the Toronto Police Museum, would later write, “Suicide is a constant partner in every police car.”
With the creation of Metro Toronto in 1954, the Toronto Police was eventually merged on January 1, 1957 with the other municipal forces to form the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force:
In November 1995, the agency was renamed the Metropolitan Toronto Police Service which in turn, in 1998, became the Toronto Police Service after the amalgamation of the former municipalities of Metro Toronto.
Today, the Toronto Police Service is responsible for overall local police service in Toronto and works with the other emergency services (Toronto EMS (TEMS) and Toronto Fire Services (TFS) and other police forces in the GTA including:
For most of 2005, the police union and the Toronto Police Services Board (the civilian governing body) were involved in lengthy contract negotiations. The rank and file had been without a contract since the end of 2004, and conducted a work-to-rule campaign in the fall of 2005. The police force is an essential service and are legally prohibited from striking.
A mandatory Coroner's Inquest took place into the police killing of 17-year-old Jeffrey Reodica. Although accounts differ, it is generally accepted that Reodica was part of a group of Filipino teenagers pursuing a group of white teenagers on May 21 2004, following altercations between the two groups. Plainclothes Toronto police officer Det.-Const. Dan Belanger and his partner Det. Allen Love were in the process of arresting Reodica when Reodica reportedly lunged at Love with a knife. Belanger then shot Reodica three times in the back. The teen died in hospital three days later.
In response to the recommendations of the Coroner's Inquest jury, Chief Blair recommended that all plainclothes police officers be issued arm bands and raid jackets bearing the word 'Police' in an effort to increase their visibility in critical situations. Unmarked cars, which are already equipped with a plug-in police light, will also be supplied with additional emergency equipment, including a siren package. The proposals will be phased in over three years beginning in 2008. Undercover officers will also have to wear, carry or have access to standard police use-of-force options such as pepper spray and batons.
In 2004, eight people were shot by Toronto police, and six of them died from their wounds. The Special Investigations Unit (SIU) investigated each shooting, but found all of them to be justified.
In 2005, the police force was faced with a spike in shootings across Toronto and increased concern among residents. Police Chief William Blair and Mayor David Miller asked for additional resources and asked for diligence from residents to contend with this issue. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty promised to work with Toronto to fight crime.
In July 2007, Toronto Police were involved in an international incident in which their members pepper-sprayed, tasered, and handcuffed members of the Chilean national soccer team in an attempt to keep control of crowds after their semi-final match in the 2007 FIFA Under-20 World Cup. A police spokesman explained on CBC Radio on the programme Here and Now that police took action against individual members of the Chilean team when they "displayed aggressive behaviour" by vandalizing a bus and arguing with fans. The actions of the police were criticised by the TV and print media in Chile, and initially also in Canada, but following a news conference and more detailed description of behaviour by the Chilean team the criticism (outside of Chile) was withdrawn. FIFA president Sepp Blatter later apologized to the Toronto mayor for the incident, and instigated disciplinary action against the officials and players of the Chilean team.
|Toronto Police Service funding as per municipal operating budgets|
|Year||Gross Amount||% of Year's Gross Budget||Net Amount||% of Year's Net Budget|
Chiefs of the Toronto police force have been:
Toronto Police Department
Toronto Police Department (up to 1953), Metro Toronto Police (up to 1995) and Metro Toronto Police Service (up to 1998)
Metro Toronto Police Service (up to 1998) and Toronto Police Service (1998 onwards)
The actions of the Toronto Police are examined by the Special Investigations Unit, a civilian agency responsible for investigating circumstances involving police and civilians that have resulted in a death, serious injury, or allegations of sexual assault. The SIU is dedicated to maintaining one law, ensuring equal justice before the law among both the police and the public. They assure that the criminal law is applied appropriately to police conduct, as determined through independent investigations, increasing public confidence in the police services. Complaints involving police conduct that do not result in a serious injury or death must be referred to the appropriate police service or to another oversight agency, such as the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services.
Central Field, 40 College St. encompasses the central portion of the City of Toronto.
Area Command, 40 College St. encompasses the former Cities of North York, Scarborough and Etobicoke. It also includes portions of the cities of Toronto and York, and the Borough of East York (excluding Leaside).
Note: Public Safety Unit is located at 4610 Finch Avenue East next to the C.O. Bick Police College
Support units in the Toronto Police Service consists of:
Specialized Operations Command, 40 College Street
Detective Services, 40 College St.
Operational Services, 40 College St.
Community Mobilization Unit, 40 College St.
Policing on most 400-series highways (like King's Highways 401, 400, 427, 404) are in the jurisdiction of the Ontario Provincial Police. Toronto Police is responsible for patrolling on local highways (Allen Road, Don Valley Parkway, F.G. Gardiner Expressway and the Toronto section of Highway 409).
|Chevrolet Camaro||Highway Unit||Retired|
|Chevrolet Caprice||General police vehicle||Retired|
|Chevrolet Cavalier||Parking Enforcement, Document Services Section|
|Chevrolet Impala||General police vehicle|
|Chevrolet Malibu (2001-2005)||Community Sweeper Unit car|
|Chevrolet Malibu (2006)||Parking Enforcement Unit|
|Dodge Charger||(marked) General police vehicle, Traffic Services, Community Sweeper Unit|
|Dodge Neon||Parking Enforcement, Document Services Section|
|Smart fortwo||Parking Enforcement car|
|Ford Crown Victoria||(marked) - General police vehicle, Traffic Services, Community Sweeper Unit|
|Ford Crown Victoria- (black/blue stripe, grey/grey stripe)||Stealth Police Cruiser.|
|Ford Focus||Parking Enforcement car|
|Ford Taurus||(Highway Patrol)||retired|
|Plymouth Caravelle||General police vehicle||retired|
|Volkswagen New Beetle||Safety Bug car|
|Honda Civic/Civic Hybrid||Parking Enforcement car|
|Harley Davidson FLHTP||motorcycle|
TPS has a fleet of 15 boats based along marine unit stations in south Etobicoke (Humber Bay West Park), Toronto Harbour and Scarborough (Bluffer's Park):
|Marine Unit 1||marine boat with [Volvo Penta]] Turbo Chargd 350 hp engines||shared with Toronto EMS|
|Marine Unit 2||patrol boat|
|Marine Unit 3||patrol boat|
|Marine Unit 4||patrol boat|
|Marine Unit 5||patrol boat|
|4 30-foot Zodiac Rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RIBs) with twin 250-horsepower four-stroke motors|
|1 "HUSKY"||airboat||used for operating over ice|
|MU00||Seadoo GTX-4||personal watercraft|
|Chevrolet Express||van - Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Collision Reconstruction|
|GMC Savanna||vans - Radio Services and Court Services|
|GMC C series light truck||ETF|
|Chevrolet Suburban||SUV - ETF, Marine Unit, Police Dog Service, Public Safety Unit, Radio Services|
|Ford F350||pickup truck with horses trailer - Mounted Unit|
|Armet Armoured Vehicles Incorporated/Ford F-550||tactical vehicle - EFT||/|
|Ford Van||Explosive Disposal Unit, Forensic Identification Service|
|Ford F-series or GMC Vandura trucks||paddy wagons|
|Freightliner FL mobile||mobile command unit|
|Ford F-series truck chassis||tow truck|
|Ford Van||van RIDE|
|GMC Safari||SUV Parking Enforcement|
|Northrop Grumman Remotec Andros MK V1A||bomb unit robot|
|General Motors Diesel Division T6H -5307 series||Metro Police Auxiliary AUX1 and AUX 2 bus - ex-Toronto Transit Commission 7960|
|Motor Coach Industries MCI 102A||2 recruitmen buses|
|Motor Coach Industries MCI-9||bus|
|Orion Bus Industries Orion I||bus|
|Community Relations trailer - community donated|
|Norco Bicycles||mountain bikes|
|Aquila Scandium||mountain bikes - Community Action Policing|
The unit has a strength of 27 horses and 40 officers.
Horses killed while on duty:
The Toronto Police K-9 unit was created in 1989 and is deployed to search for suspects, missing persons and other duties:
The service has 17 general purpose dogs. Nero and Rony are dogs attached to this unit. There are 4 drug enforcement dogs and 1 explosives detector dog (Mic).
21 officers and dogs are assigned to this unit and based at 44 Beechwood Drive in East York, Ontario.
Parking enforcement on all roads and public property are the responsibility of Toronto Police.
Their uniform consists of a blue shirt, black cargo pants with blue stripe, a black vest and a cap with blue stripe. Boots are similar to front line TPS officers. In winter months TPE officers have a blue jacket with reflective trim. Patches on the jackets and shirts are similar to the TPS, but with a white back ground the blue wording "Parking Enforcement".
Adult crossing guards at various intersections and crosswalks are employed and paid by the TPS. They are under charge by various Division across the city.
Crossing guards at public schools are volunteer students and attached to their respective schools.
Besides wearing the reflective vest, guards are supplied with a police issue jacket. The jackets have a patch similar to the TPS, but it has a white background and identification as school crossing guards.
Glock 23 Compact frame .40 - Specialized issue
Glock 17 Large frame 9mm - Specialized units
Glock 19 Compact frame 9 mm - Specialized issue
Taser Regular uniformed supervisors and specialized units
pepper spray (OC Spray)
TPS formerly used Smith & Wesson prior to switching over to the Glock.
Weapons used by the ETF include:
Front line officers wear dark navy blue shirts, cargo pants (with red stripe) and boots. Winter jackets are either dark navy blue jacket design Eisenhower style, single breasted front closing, 2 patch type breast pockets, shoulder straps, gold buttons, or yellow windbreaker style with the word POLICE in reflective silver and black at the back (Generally worn by the bicycle police). All ranks shall wear dark navy blue clip on ties.
Auxiliary officers (shown to the right) wear light blue shirts, with the badging of auxiliary on the bottom of the crest. Originally front line officer also wore lite blue shirts but changed to the current navy blue shirts in the Fall of 2000.
A person of any rank may remove a tie when they are wearing a short sleeved shirt or blouse, as the case may be, and not wearing a uniform jacket, patrol jacket or windbreaker.
Hats can be styled after Baseball caps, Combination caps,or fur trim hats for winter. Motorcycle units have white helmets. Black or reflective yellow gloves are also provided to officers with Traffic Services.
Senior officers wear white shirts and a black dress jacket.
The components of the TPS logo is similar to the old Metro Toronto Police logo less the name change:
The rank insignia of the Toronto Police Service is similar to that used by police services elsewhere in Canada and in the United Kingdom, except that the usual "pips" are replaced by maple leaves.
The Chief Administrative Officer is a civilian post, currently held by Tony Veneziano.