Jun 8th 2016

Spring of the Gun – What is the answer?

Torontonians thought they had survived the “Summer of the Gun” in 2005, when the media and the law-abiding public were rightly abuzz over the seemingly insane levels of gun-violence in the streets. It appeared then to be a one-off, but if the shootings we have seen so far in the spring of 2016 are any indication of what is yet to come, Toronto may well be in for the “Summer of the Gun, Part 2”, and more.

Spring of the Gun – What is the answer?

 

Apr 27th 2016

Amber Alert: It’s not perfect but it works

The past two months have seen three Amber Alerts in Ontario, one of which although properly intended, ended up being false and the other two culminated in the successful location of missing children. Unfortunately, a great deal of confusion and a level of criticism continues to permeate a process by which police, the media and public work together to find abducted children.

Amber Alert: It’s not perfect but it works

Apr 26th 2016

Police service spending is not out of control

Toronto Mayor John Tory announced the formation of a Task Force to examine the pertinent issues concerning Toronto Police Service operations and the growing police budget, and develop recommendations regarding "cost containment, modernizing operations, producing real and sustainable reductions to the budget and building public trust". The group is comprised of a number of civilian and police stakeholders and undoubtedly will receive sage advice from a several affected sources.

Police service spending is not out of control

 

Apr 18th 2016

Weighing in on the police paid duty debate

The swirl around Toronto Police “paid duty” officers directing traffic in a variety of scenarios continued this week after a city staff report stated – among several recommendations, that: “…police powers should not be a prerequisite for directing traffic, and that other persons with appropriate training could fulfill the function safely and in a more cost-effective manner."

Weighing in on the police paid duty debate

Apr 13th 2016

Attawapiskat youth suicides: Something needs to be done

The recent tragic situation in Attawapiskat, Ontario wherein a number of young children have committed or threatened suicide, has once again raised media and public awareness of the desolate living conditions that plague a number of Canada’s remote First Nations communities. But how many times do families and First Nation communities have to experience the horrendous grief of losing a young child? How many times do provincial and federal governments have to witness this despair before effective action is taken?

Attawapiskat youth suicides: Something needs to be done

 

Apr 7th 2016

To police, all lives matter

The “Black Lives Matter” movement that emerged following the deadly police shooting of a young black man in Ferguson Missouri in 2014, has been most recently protesting outside Toronto Police Headquarters.

To police, all lives matter

 

Apr 3rd 2016

Safe Injection Sites: Are They Really Safe for Communities?

Despite the concerns expressed by Canada’s police chiefs and others, it appears that the federal government’s plan to legalize marijuana will move forward over the coming months.  

Safe Injection Sites: Are They Really Safe for Communities?

 

Feb 27th 2016

Photo Radar has to be about public safety

The NDP government of the day brought photo radar to Ontario in August 1994. In the following January, the Ministry of Transportation released an interim report showing that the program had reduced speed on provincial highways and had brought in almost 4 times as much revenue as the program had cost to administer.

Photo Radar has to be about public safety

 

Feb 27th 2016

When does national security outweigh the right to privacy?

We all watched in horror when on December 2nd, 2015, 2 radicalized individuals shot 36 innocent people in San Bernadino California, killing 14 of them, before dying themselves in a shootout with law enforcement.  It was yet another impactful example of terrorism occurring on North American soil as opposed to unfolding in a continent far away, once again bringing fear to the western world.

When does national security outweigh the right to privacy?

 

Feb 10th 2016

Testifying about abuse is never easy

Without getting into the particulars of any ongoing cases before the courts, the enormity of the challenges facing victims of sexual assault as they testify against their abusers are next to impossible to completely understand unless you’ve been there. The issues vary from case to case and victim to victim. No two situations are ever exactly alike, nor are the complexities of the lives, experiences and emotions of the victims involved.

Testifying about abuse is never easy

 

Feb 10th 2016

Canada should have stricter gun laws

Canada has fairly strict gun control legislation. (It was even better when we actually had a long-gun registry, but I digress.) Our legislation around the acquisition, carriage and storage of firearms is one of the huge public safety advantages we have over our American friends to the south. Although even one shooting or homicide is unacceptable, our gun-related crime rates are mere pittance compared to the United States per capita, so we must be doing something right on our side of the 49th parallel. But can we do more?

Canada should have stricter gun laws

 

Feb 2nd 2016

The growing need for Tasers in Toronto

I hope that the trial of Toronto Police Constable James Forcillo sufficiently re-ignites the City of Toronto and Toronto Police Services Board debate on the need to equip all front line officers with Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs).

The growing need for Tasers in Toronto

 

Jan 27th 2016

Forcillo had options other than shooting to kill

I completely admit that I am an arm-chair quarterback on policing and public safety issues. That’s what I do, but I do so following a 36 year career in policing, including a number of years engaged in or overseeing OPP tactical operations at the provincial level.

Forcillo had options other than shooting to kill

 

Jan 14th 2016

Why are police services under fire but fire services are not under the gun?

Police services are continually under pressure to do more with less. They must cut costs and find service delivery efficiencies, which has led to amalgamations of some services, a lack of growth and cuts to programs in a number of cases. Times are tough all over and everyone has to do what they have to do to make ends meet. I completely get that.

Why are police services under fire but fire services are not under the gun?

 

Jan 6th 2016

The true cost of policing -- It's not as simple as you think

It was an interesting year indeed. Many compelling stories of tragedy and suffering emerged – both internationally and domestically that concerned us, while at the same time tales of heroic and gallant efforts by our emergency responders here at home made us feel safe and proud to be Canadian.

The true cost of policing -- It's not as simple as you think

 

Dec 30th 2015

Top 5 public safety stories of 2015

It was an interesting year indeed. Many compelling stories of tragedy and suffering emerged – both internationally and domestically that concerned us, while at the same time tales of heroic and gallant efforts by our emergency responders here at home made us feel safe and proud to be Canadian.

Top 5 public safety stories of 2015

 

Dec 23rd 2015

Why law enforcement needs help to fight the new enemy

A century ago when brave Canadian soldiers fought in Europe during WW1, then during subsequent traditional wars in WW2 and in Korea, the enemy was pretty clear. Our military fought an enemy on the other side of the ocean, who largely wore a certain distinguishable uniform, a helmet or hat of a specific shape, and were most often to be found across some known line or “over the hill”. 

Why law enforcement needs help to fight the new enemy

 

Dec 17th 2015

Toronto gun violence: crisis or business as usual?

The most recent rash of gun violence in Toronto has understandably raised the eyebrows of many residents. Municipal politicians have jumped into the discussion – as has President Mike McCormack of the Toronto Police association, expressing their concerns.

Toronto gun violence: crisis or business as usual?

 

Nov 17th 2015

Too easy to blame France’s security agencies after Paris tragedy

As more than 100 people lay dead and hundreds more seriously injured, the entire world is analyzing the horrific terrorist attacks that occurred this past week in Paris, France.

Too easy to blame France’s security agencies after Paris tragedy

 

Nov 16th 2015

We only have one shot at getting refugee situation right

In the early fall, the body of an innocent 3 year old Syrian boy washed up on the beach of Turkey. Sadly, he died when the boat he and his family were fleeing Syrian in, capsized. They were ultimately attempting to seek asylum in Canada, through Europe, but most of them did not make it safely. The image of little Aylan Kurdi touched us all, and became a heartbreaking symbol of the plight of people escaping a war-torn country.

We only have one shot at getting refugee situation right

 

Nov 2nd 2015

Leadership comes with risk

“There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”
John F. Kennedy

 

Life is risky from the day one emerges from the security of the womb. Leadership comes with no end of risk – day after day, 24/7. The only way to avoid it is to never do anything, ever.

Leadership comes with risk

 

Oct 27th 2015

Government needs to get 'carding' legislation right

Ontario’s Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Yasir Naqvi announced this past week that “We as a government stand opposed, Speaker, to any arbitrary, random stops by the police simply to collect information when there are no grounds or reason to do so,” in response to government’s consultation regarding the so-called “carding” process that became so highly-criticized this past year.

Government needs to get 'carding' legislation right

 

Oct 13th 2015

Shooting a reminder of the high risks of policing

The shooting of two Niagara Regional Police officers Saturday night is a stark reminder of the dangers our police officers continually face, day and night, each and every day of the year. Amid all the anti-police hype we have seen across North America this past year, this simple fact gets lost -- policing is a high-risk calling.

Shooting a reminder of the high risks of policing

 

Oct 9th 2015

A true leader thinks about the community, not party lines

As both an author and speaker on leadership issues, my personal belief remains that true leaders should always make decisions based on what is best for the clients they serve, closely followed by what is best for those they lead, and never in favour of their own best interests or personal agenda. That axiom should be the foundation on which public service, private sector, not-for-profit and political leaders function. For many, I’m sure that it is.

A true leader thinks about the community, not party lines

 

Oct 5th 2015

Peace Officer's Memorial a reminder that support for police still exists

Police personnel all over North America have been under the scrutiny of a highly-critical lens over the past two years, particularly on the heels of the Ferguson, Missouri anti-police protests emanating from the shooting of Michael Brown and similar events that followed. Many of the incidents that caused the outcry were not the fault of any officer, but unfortunately some were, causing them all to be lumped in to one big ground-swell of concern. 

Peace Officer's Memorial a reminder that support for police still exists

 

Oct 5th 2015

The high cost of drinking and driving

The tragic deaths of three beautiful children and their grandfather in a motor vehicle collision in Vaughan on Sunday not only puts blood on the hands of an alleged impaired driver, it also reopens a societal wound regarding the senseless and selfish practice of drinking and driving.  Will this preventable loss of innocent lives ever go away?

The high cost of drinking and driving

 

Oct 5th 2015

Gun violence - stop the madness

The horrific loss of many young lives as a result of yet another school shooting – this time at an Oregon community college, raises further flags regarding the lack of effective gun control in the U.S.A. In fact CNN reports today that “from 2004 and 2013, 316,545 people died by firearms on U.S. soil” and that only 313 Americans were killed in acts of terrorism domestically and internationally in that same time period.

Gun violence - stop the madness

 

Oct 5th 2015

Decriminalization versus legalization of pot

During various media interviews of party leaders and political debates, the whole issue of “decriminalizing” versus “legalization” of marijuana remains a confusing matter to many taxpayers, both young and old. Without getting into partisan opinions on the matter, I’d like to clarify the differences in my view.

Decriminalization versus legalization of pot

 

Sept 10th 2015

The Cycle of Police Criticism

The never-ending criticism by anti-police factions and some so-called community leaders continues to paint a picture of mass discontent with police services across the USA. This of course has cascaded across the border into Canada.  The rhetoric, some deserved - most not, can't help but drag down the spirit of a number of police officers and their families across the continent.  It seems law enforcement can no longer do anything right in the minds of the vocal detractors.

The Cycle of Police Criticism

 

Sept 2nd 2015

Should police officers with criminal records be fired?

Since I helped stir the proverbial pot with my August 9th Toronto Star article "Let police chiefs suspend officers without pay", I felt it appropriate to raise the related issue surrounding the challenges of firing police officers who have been convicted of most criminal offences. This will be similarly abhorred by most police associations and some members, but tremendously popular with the majority of officers – who remain, honest, committed and hard-working.

Should police officers with criminal records be fired?

 

Aug 27th 2015

Internet crime – Balancing the right to privacy with public safety

Bill C-30 was proposed by the Conservative government in 2012 in a vain attempt to shore up lawful access to certain internet information, particularly relating to the sexual exploitation of children. Subsequently it died on the table, leaving police with the archaic powers to access Internet and cellular subscriber information that were written decades ago – in the days of dial telephones.

Internet crime – Balancing the right to privacy with public safety

 

Aug 26th 2015

JUST MAKE A DECISION!

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent."

JUST MAKE A DECISION!

 

Aug 10th 2015

Let police chiefs suspend officers without pay

Many taxpayers were horrified last month when they learned a suspended Waterloo Police Service officer emailed his superiors to thank them for the three years of fun and frolic he had while receiving full salary.

Let police chiefs suspend officers without pay

 

Aug 3rd 2015

Time for some perspective

The baiting and killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe last week was without a doubt a tragedy. I totally get that. But please, let's put this into perspective.

Time for some perspective

 

July 6th 2015

“Leadership” – An Organizational Core Value 

My experience as a leader is largely based on my years in policing, so many of the examples I offer are of that realm, but I firmly believe that leadership is leadership.

Leadership – An Organizational Core Value

 

July 6th 2015

Leadership: Only the resilient will survive

"Resilience is not what happens to you. It’s how you react to, respond to, and recover from what happens to you."
Jeffrey Gitomer

LEADERSHIP: Only the resilient will survive

 

June 17th 2015

Two brave men who inspired me

Over my 36 years of policing I met a number of people of all ranks – uniform, civilian and volunteers, that inspired me to be the best police officer and person I could be, and/or to be better able accept adversity.

Two brave men who inspired me

 

June 14th 2015

Opinion: The impact of Residential Schools on First Nations people and Canada's justice system

Many will disagree with my views on this and I respect that. These are difficult issues to discuss, some impossible to reconcile decades and centuries after the fact, but are not issues we can totally ignore either.

Opinion: The impact of Residential Schools on First Nations people and Canada's justice system

 

June 8th 2015

In (partial) defence of carding

Toronto Mayor John Tory announced Sunday that at the June 18th meeting of the Toronto Police Services Board (of which he is but one member), he will be seeking a complete end to the controversial practice of “carding.” 

Have we become that accepting of the woes of the world?

 

June 8th 2015

Have we become that accepting of the woes of the world?

As an admitted junkie for all forms of media, I watched and read tweets, articles and clips regarding the top news stories around the world the past week with even keener interest, as I convalesced following surgery. I even jumped into the odd twitter dustup on issues that I am passionate about, with dissenters far and wide.

Have we become that accepting of the woes of the world?

 

June 5th 2015

No police officer goes to work hoping to take a life. But no officer wants to be a punching bag, either

I’ll continue to do my job, but that is all. I refuse to be a punching bag for the public and the press. Why should I do anything other than the bare minimum? If I make even the slightest mistake my career, my savings….and even my freedom are in jeopardy. 

No police officer goes to work hoping to take a life. But no officer wants to be a punching bag, either

 

June 3rd 2015

Why are we afraid of the word “thug”?

CNN Law Enforcement Analyst and former FBI assistant director Tom Fuentes made an excellent point while discussing the violent protests in Baltimore on May 3rd, 2015. The gist of his remarks were around the emerging concern by some members of the public regarding the use of the word “thug” to describe some criminals who perpetrated violence in the streets there over the week prior.

Why are we afraid of the word “thug”?

 

May 20th 2015

Body worn cameras for police will be useful, but our expectations must be realistic

I read a recent National Post editorial urging police forces to adopt body worn cameras (BWCs) as standard equipment with great interest. I truly believe that BWCs can be an effective tool to bring clarity to some contentious interactions between the police and the public. There are risks, however, to the assumption by some that BWCs will be a saving grace for all.

Body worn cameras for police will be useful, but our expectations must be realistic

 

May 2nd 2015

It’s time to talk about profiling

One type of profiling is very legal and the other is very wrong. Police leaders (including me) have not always done a good job of explaining the difference to the people they serve. It’s a difficult conversation in a world where we often struggle to not offend and to be overly politically correct.

It’s time to talk about profiling

 

April 10th 2015

Leadership vs Management

“It’s a leadership issue, Chris,” the manager argued. I whole-heartedly disagreed, maintaining the policy problem we were debating was a management issue, and soon received the hateful glare senior officers reserve for underlings who dare disagree with them.

Leadership vs Management

 

April 10th 2015

In defence of my former command — the OPP 

The announcement of an ongoing RCMP investigation into three senior executive members of the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) has resulted in a number of media reports speculating on a loss of public trust in the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) as a police service.

In defence of my former command — the OPP

 

March 12th 2015

The Death Knell for Small-Town Police Departments

I grew up watching Deputy Barney Fife bumble his way through 1960s “community policing” in the mythical television town of Mayberry. Thankfully he was seldom dispatched and certainly never required any level of investigative expertise, personal safety considerations, backup, or specialized equipment—because he didn’t have any.

The Death Knell for Small-Town Police Departments

 

March 11th 2015

Leadership and morale impacts professionalism and productivity

Morale is the state of mind. It is steadfastness and courage and hope. It is confidence and zeal and loyalty. It is elan, esprit de corps and determination.
– General George Catlett Marshall.

Morale is difficult to define, but it’s quickly apparent when it falters.

Leadership and morale impacts professionalism and productivity

 

February 2nd 2015

The Thin Blue Line, Then and Now

In the December 2014 edition of The Walrus, author John Lorinc argued that “We live in a world of mission creep, a world where the lines that once separated local policing and national security have become profoundly entangled....Insular municipal police departments have inadvertently found themselves with the tools of war, and are using them to guarantee domestic tranquility.”

The Thin Blue Line, Then and Now

 

December 27th 2014

The Silent Victims of Critical Incident Response

I received the anonymous message below from a mother in the U.S., in response to my recent articles involving police use of force and my various Tweets around employee mental health issues. It is very a moving and impactful statement, and I thank her for sharing her personal thoughts and observations. Her message is particularly timely given the horrific murder of 2 NYPD officers this past week – one of whom was a father to 2 teenage sons.

The Silent Victims of Critical Incident Response

 

December 17th 2014

Criminal Profiling versus Racial Profiling

One is very legal and one is very wrong. But police leaders (including me) have not always done a good job of explaining that to the people they serve, because it is a difficult conversation to have in world where we often struggle to never offend anyone and to be over politically correct. However the time has never been more right to have this dialogue.

Criminal Profiling versus Racial Profiling

 

December 16th 2014

The Sydney Siege

We all watched this week’s hostage-taking and subsequent deaths of the hostage-taker and 2 innocent civilians with great interest and concern. This was truly an upsetting and tragic event that touched us all as we watched another peaceful country deal with the public terror and death that such an occurrence brings.

The Sydney Siege

 

December 14th 2014

Allegations of Police Racism Wrongly Surround Ferguson and New York City Deaths

I am becoming increasingly concerned about the ground-swell of “anti-police” protests across the United States and how misinformation is having a profound impact in breaking down police-community relationships.

Allegations of Police Racism Wrongly Surround Ferguson and New York City Deaths

 

November 29th 2014

What happened in Ferguson Missouri

There's no doubt that on August 9th 2014, Michael Brown was not just some nice high school grad out for an innocent stroll on the streets of Ferguson Missouri. On that day and at that moment, he was a bully and a thief that had just committed a criminal act in a convenience store.

What happened in Ferguson Missouri

 

September 13th 2014

Would you take a letter to Garcia?

Knowing my interest in “Leadership” and having sat through one of my presentations on the subject, OPP Sgt. Mike Harrington sent me an article written by Elbert Hubbard in 1899, entitled “A Message to Garcia”.

Would you take a letter to Garcia?

 

September 13th 2014

Civilian versus uniformed personnel

“I know I’m only a civilian, but……”

There was a time not too long ago that we only trained police officers to perform most functions within our services because “only a cop understands”. 

Then we started to see the light. 

Civilian versus uniformed personnel

January 11th 2015

IT'S A ME, MY, I WORLD ...

There’s a disturbing trend among some out there that I don’t recall seeing and hearing years ago. Maybe it was there and I was oblivious to it, or maybe years ago many leaders weren’t in the spotlight as much as today’s social-media world allows them to be. I call this trend “Me, My, I Leadership”.

IT’S A ME, MY, I WORLD…..

 

January 5th 2015

Impacts of Leadership and Morale on Professionalism and Productivity

Morale is difficult to define, but it’s quickly apparent when it falters. It’s a positive confident feeling, an energy, an enthusiasm, a spirit, or a committed and united will to succeed.

So what impact does the level of employee morale have on an company or organization?

Impacts of Leadership and Morale on Professionalism and Productivity