Hiring freeze won’t affect patrol: Police

The number of cops patrolling our neighbourhoods won’t change next year, despite a reduced police force, Deputy Chief Peter Sloly assured midtowners at a town hall meeting in late November.

Responding to a question at 53 Division’s annual general meeting, Sloly said the force is bracing for a hiring freeze and the loss of 200-plus police officers through attrition.

The freeze is one of several cost-cutting measures the service is taking after Mayor Rob Ford requested a trimmed-down 2012 police budget.

By not replacing the retiring officers, the savings to the city is substantial, Sloly said.

“It’s a needed savings. It’s a very challenging time.”

To compensate, Sloly said the strategy is to re-deploy officers within the service, but leave the number of primary response officers static.

“You dial 911 today, or a year from today, it’ll be the same amount of police officers that will be in those cars responding to your call,” Sloly said.

The loss of police officers was one of the few concerns raised by about 50 or so residents and business owners who gathered at the Dunfield Retirement Residence for the Nov. 22 town hall.

Addressing the crowd, Detective Sergeant Dan Nealon said break and enters and car thefts persist within the division, which polices Lawrence Park, Rosedale, North Toronto and Forest Hill.

“We have a lot of high-end homes that are targeted because of what’s usually found behind the doors,” he said. “And so that keeps our officers extremely busy.”

He noted officers are also kept busy responding to domestic violence incidents and street offences such as muggings.

Nealon said while the major crime unit is doing everything it can to reduce the number of such incidents, they need the community to be their eyes and ears.

“Not being able to be there 100 percent, we rely … on individuals and other neighbours that are looking out the window and see somebody who doesn’t belong there to call us.”

Speaking on the matter of traffic in the division, Sergeant Dale Carter noted the division has seen fewer collisions.

In 2011, less than 4,000 collisions were reported in the division, which Carter said is a substantial reduction over the last few years.

The division is unique in that its main streets — Bayview, Eglinton and Avenue — are heavily used by GTA motorists commuting to work in the downtown core.

Avenue Road sees in excess of 40,000 vehicles a day, Carter said.

He too urged community members who have a complaint about traffic-related matters — including stop sign issues, red-light runners or speeders — to contact him directly, as he can then re-direct traffic officers to monitor problematic areas.

The 53 Division headquarters is located at 75 Eglinton Ave. West, and can be reached at 416-808-5300.