POLICE BRASS CHEATING ON PAID DUTY
Since many of the cops doing paid duty in this city aren't doing anything more than dozing or gabbing with the workers or picking at their various orifices, it is rather obvious they aren't needed there as guardians of law and order.
A security guard could do the job a lot cheaper and there would be no increase in danger.
Unfortunately I had a chance to do a lot of research again on my latest trip to the dead zone known as downtown Toronto where there is construction obstruction on every major block presided over placidly by cops.
I never saw one directing traffic or helping pedestrians around obstacles or actually doing anything than just standing there.
The arrival of spring has brought along with the greenery and buds and relief from the winter from hell the annual stories about the great paid-duty ripoff.
Last year the horrendous bill increased again with 3,047 off-duty cops raking in $26.1 million. The numbers in on the feast were down a bit but the total take was up. Let us also remember that last year 2,983 from our police force were paid more than $100,000 a year. And no, that does not include the loot from paid duty.
It gets worse. If you are going to run an event where some people may show up to demonstrate or heckle, you can't call around to the division and have a cop or two show up in case things get rowdy.
In fact, the rules specifically say that paid duty can't be obtained where there may be an incident or a clash.
But, you say, isn't that why we have cops? Yes, it is, but the brass have figured out that it is smart to decrease their huge budget by offloading more costs to the private world. Cops come to depend on paid duty work, but it's really icing on already fat pay not provided by their employer. No wonder their union is such an enthusiastic supporter of all the extra work.
Street fairs, festivals, parades, picnics, street closings etc., all the events run by organizations like BIAs, associations and service clubs, are required to hire paid duty cops at $68 an hour for a minimum of three hours.
So why haven't you heard more of a fuss? Because no one wants to rock the boat and get the local division mad at them.
Do I know what I am talking about? I know this from the inside. All you have to do is check my biog which lists my volunteer service from CNE president to a founding director of the outdoor art show, to see that I have watched from the hoard room table the growing insistence of the police brass to make us pay for their men and women to show up at public events which should be part of their regular duty.
I have received eight awards for columns, editorials and safety campaigns from the Toronto police union, although at a couple of the presentations, the president stated how mixed his emotions were. My grandfather was a cop in England in 1845, only16 years after Sir Robert Peel invented the police force. Fellow directors of the Ontario Safety League credits me with being a godfather of the RIDE program because I moved the motion for the original funding. I once was a police reporter. So I am not anti-cop. But I guarantee you that if you repeat the guts of this column to any cop, he or she will grumble that obviously I am just another of those anti-cop jerks who fear real policing.
This situation would not continue except our cops occupy such a favourable niche in this city. Despite the fact that many lawyers and reporters believe that cops routinely lie, whether it's in court or in defending a fellow constable excused of excessive force, most of us continue to give them stout support.
They now make so much money that they're really more upper middle class than ordinary Joe. Yet any suggestion the city is staggering under their budget and could use a little relief is treated as anti-cop propaganda.
Too bad we don't get value for the spending. Downtown traffic is a mess, The cops, whether paid duty or actually on the job, really don't do a good job in controlling it.
If we based their regular and paid duty compensation on their performance in traffic control, we would save hundreds of millions. All we would do is make a mere handful of the 2.8 million people in this city mad. Why are the city councillors and the police management board such chicken shits when it comes to a major issue in policing?