Update: see previous post – July 20, 2011 Toronto Police Parking Enforcement Officers Expected to Meet Daily Quota – 57 Parking Tickets a Shift
TORONTO – A new “ticket quota initiative” from a senior officer in 53 Division has raised the eyebrows of some in uniform wondering if policing has been taken away from the individual and put in the hands of tax collectors.
In an internal Feb. 28 email sent to detective-sergeants and 53 Division “supervisors,” and cc’d to unit commander Staff-Insp. Heinz Kuck, 53 Division second-in-command Insp. Joanna Beaven-Desjardins laid out actual goals for officers to achieve for “Provincial Offences Tickets and Field Information Reports.”
With the subject line “Work Performance and Evaluation of Members,” Beaven-Desjardins wrote “officers are expected to achieve the following minimum standards: 2 POT’s and 3 FIRS per day. One parking tag per 5 week cycle.”
POT stands for Provincial Offences Ticket, while FIR means Field Information Report — which is in essence frowned upon in some freedom-advocacy circles as information carding of people not under investigation.
She later sent out a second email correcting that the one parking tag per 5 week cycle should actually be two.
But it is the part about Officer Performance Reviews that has raised some eyebrows.
“When evaluating an officer, please show them their OPR’s and advise where they stand compared to the above expectations,” Beaven-Desjardins wrote. “Some supervisors are evaluating officers based on other officer’s performance (or lack thereof), not based on expectations as set out above. If officers are not meeting the standards, then supervisors MUST counsel them and assist them in doing so.”
She continued: “It is important officers are aware of their statistics, as work performance is part of the criteria used when selecting members for permanent positions. Officers who are being reclassified to the next classification must meet the standards above, or their reclassification may be deferred.”
Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said the email illustrates “management’s right to get the best performance out of people” and “absolutely” does not indicate a quota. He said these standards are not in any way “excessive.”
But over a shift and with dozens of officers, the numbers can add up. Some who have to carry out the orders feel it’s more the principle.
“There’s a whole lot of pissed-off cops who are told time and time again there’s no quota, just to be threatened if the ‘expectations’ aren’t met,” said one who walks in those shoes. “We didn’t sign up to be revenue generators for the city. We signed up to tackle crime. If we see a dangerous infraction, that’s one thing, but that email says a different thing.”
Some coppers in 53 feel it puts them under unfair pressure to produce — hence explaining some of the “gotcha” traps and fishing holes you may see in the areas surrounding Yonge and Eglinton.
Some of the officers feel they should have the discretion to decide on what is in fact an infraction and only lay a charge when there is one. They don’t feel a number should be hanging over them or their potential career advancement.
And they don’t like taking the full brunt of the public backlash.
“The email was sent to personnel at the division and is an obvious attempt to implement/enforce a quota, just like in 31 Division,” said one officer affected. “Implementing a minimum expectation is a quota. Threatening that if officers do not meet ‘minimum expectation’ they risk not being reclassified is a quota and we all know it.”
The carding quota is also interesting since the Toronto Police Services Board has decided to wait for further legal opinion before moving forward with a plan to hand out receipts to people who police have gathered information from.
In the past Toronto Police have denied quotas. In fact, in the 31 Division situation there was a similar internal memo sent out in April 2012 from Sgt. Wanda DeCoste which stated traffic cops in the division were “expected to write a book (of 25 tickets) a day.”
In denying there was a quota, Deputy Chief Peter Sloly said of DeCoste: “She will be spoken to about the language she used.”
Police board chair Alok Mukherjee added, “I can tell you that there is no quota.”
But that’s not how they are reading a recent memo from an inspector at 53 Division.