Toronto Police Service

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Toronto Police Service
Area Toronto, Ontario
Size 629.91 km² (243.2 sq mi)
Population 2,481,494
Formed 1834
HQ Toronto
Budget CDN $785 million (2007) [2]
Officers 5,710 (2,500 civilians)
District 2
Stations 17 (Divisions)
Chief of Police Bill Blair

The Toronto Police Service (TPS), formerly the Metropolitan Toronto Police, is the police force for the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

File:Toronto Police 2.jpg
Two auxiliary police officers in Ramsden Park


Creation to 1859 reforms

The Toronto Police Service, was founded in 1834 when the City of Toronto was first created from the Town of York. (Prior to that, local able bodied male citizens were required to report for night duty as special constables for a fixed number of nights a year on the pain of fine or imprisonment in a system known as "watch and ward.")[3]

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.[4]

Toronto Constables circa 1880

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.[5]

1859 to 1900

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.[6] [7]

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. [8]

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".[1]

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.

Plainclothes Officers circa 1919

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, theaters, 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.

20th century

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 labor 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 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:

  • Scarborough Police Department
  • Etobicoke Police Department
  • North York Police Department
  • East York Police Department
  • Mimico Police Department
  • Weston Police Department
  • Forest Hill Police Department
  • Town of Leaside Police Department
  • York Township Police Department
  • New Toronto Police Department
  • Swansea Police Department
  • Long Branch Police Department

In November 1995, the agency was renamed the Metropolitan Toronto Police Service[9] which in turn, in 1998, became the Toronto Police Service after the amalgamation of the former municipalities of Metro Toronto.

In February 2007, the Toronto Police Service introduced a new design for its new police cruisers, which will be replacing the older cruisers across Toronto. The entire fleet will have the new design in the near future.

21st century

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. As part of the work-to-rule, officers wore baseball caps with the union insignia and mock turtlenecks, as well as responding primarily only to radio calls and dramatically reducing the number of tickets issued. In October the police union planned a rally in front of city hall to publicize their demands. Although police chief Bill Blair expressly forbade officers from wearing uniforms to the rally, several dozen officers disobeyed and were subsequently disciplined. In December the city avoided arbitration by settling the contract dispute which was approved by police members.

In 2005, the police force was faced with a spike in shootings across Toronto and increased concern among residents. Chief Blair and Mayor David Miller advocated 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. Miller blamed the illegal importation of guns from the U.S. for the city's increase in gun-related crimes. The black community, whose relations with the Toronto police have been somewhat strained for years, feared they will be targeted by the police through racial profiling. In the wake of the shootings, Toronto Councillor Michael Thompson called for the use of racial profiling by urging police to stop and search young black males as an effective means to fight gun crime; however, Thompson recanted shortly afterward, saying, "That's not something I would want. I think it's understood that this wasn't carefully thought out... I absolutely apologize for that."

A Coroner's Inquest took place into the police killing of 17-year-old Jeffrey Reodica. Reodica was shot three times in the back and killed by plainclothes Toronto police officer, Det.-Const. Dan Belanger, on May 21, 2004. Plainclothes police officers and unmarked vehicles will become more identifiable to the public in response to the findings from the Coroners Inquest into the 2004 fatal shooting of Scarborough teenager Jeffrey Reodica.

In a report presented to the Toronto Police Services Board on April 26, 2007, Police Chief Bill 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 recommendations to outfit the department's 1,300 plainclothes officers and 500 unmarked vehicles with identifiable police markings were two key findings by the jury at the coroner's inquest into Reodica's death. The 17-year-old was shot three times in the back following an altercation with plainclothes police officers near Bellamy Road and Lawrence Avenue East on May 21, 2004. The proposals will cost $438,350 and 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 SIU investigated each shooting, but found all of them to be justified.

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 have been vociferously criticised by the TV and print media in Canada and Chile.[2] [3]FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that the incident threatens to sour what had been considered a successful and pleasant tournament, second in importance only to the FIFA World Cup.[4]


As a division of the municipal government of Toronto, the Toronto Police Service's annual funding level is established by a vote of the Toronto City Council in favour of the year's proposed budget. Provided below are historical gross and net funding levels of the TPS as a part of the city's operating budgets.

Toronto Police Service funding as per municipal operating budgets
Year Gross Amount % of Year's Gross Budget Net Amount % of Year's Net Budget
1999 $540,978,000 9.7% $522,900,000 20.3%
2004 $707,573,000 10.6% $679,112,000 23.3%


The chief of police is the highest ranking officer of the Toronto Police Service. Most chiefs have been chosen amongst the ranks of Toronto force and promoted from the ranks of deputy chief.

Chiefs of the Toronto police force have been:

Toronto Police Department

Toronto Police Department (up to 1953) and Metro Toronto Police (up to 1998)

Metro Toronto Police (up to 1998) and Toronto Police Service (1998 onwards)


Toronto Police Headquarters is on College Street near Bay Street in the downtown area. The former HQ at Jarvis Street was turned into a museum (and since re-located to current HQ). The current site was once home to the Toronto YMCA.

The Toronto Police Service is divided into 2 field areas and 17 divisions (police stations or precincts):

Central Field, 40 College St. commands the stations in the downtown area and former City of York:

  • 11 Division, 209 Mavety St.
  • 12 Division, 200 Trethewey Dr.
  • 13 Division, 1435 Eglinton Av. W.
  • 14 Division, 150 Harrison St.
  • 51 Division, 51 Parliament St.
  • 52 Division, 255 Dundas St. W.
  • 53 Division, 75 Eglinton Av. W.
  • 54 Division, 41 Cranfield Rd.
  • 55 Division, 101 Coxwell Av.

Area Field, 40 College St. commands stations of North York, Etobicoke, East York and Scarborough:

  • 22 Division, 3699 Bloor St. W.
  • 23 Division, 5230 Finch Av. W.
  • 31 Division, 40 Norfinch Dr.
  • 32 Division, 30 Ellerslie Av.
  • 33 Division, 50 Upjohn Rd.
  • 41 Division, 2222 Eglinton Av. E.
  • 42 Division, 242 Milner Av. E.
  • 43 Division 4331 Lawrence Ave. E near Morningside Avenue (division was merged with 42 in 1989)

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 form the operational support structure and consists of:

  • Intelligence Services
  • Communications Services
  • Community Liaison
  • Community Programs
    • Community Police Cadets
  • Court Services
  • Emergency Task Force
  • Marine
  • Mounted and Police Dog Services (1989) - Mounted Drill Unit
    • 25 horses with 45 officers
    • 20 officers with 17 general dogs, 4 drug dogs and 1 explosives detector dog
  • Parking Enforcement
  • Public Safety Unit
  • Traffic Services
  • Forensic Investigation Service (FIS) - Toronto's answer to CSI

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).


The Toronto Police Service has approximately 5,710 uniformed officers and 2,500 civilian employees.


Cruisers Most vehicles are numbered according to division, with first two digits identifying the division (e.g. 3233 is car 33 from 32 Division). Marked cruisers are labeled with the motto To Serve and Protect.

Product list and details
 Make/Model   Type   Status   Origin 
Chevrolet Camaro Highway Unit retired Flag usa.gif United States
Chevrolet Caprice cruiser retired Flag usa.gif United States
Chevrolet Cavalier Parking Enforcement, Document Services Section Flag usa.gif United States
Chevrolet Impala cruiser Flag Canada.gif Canada
Chevrolet Malibu (2001-2005) Community Sweeper Unit car Flag usa.gif United States
Chevrolet Malibu (2006) parking enforcement car Flag usa.gif United States
Dodge Charger (marked) regular cruisers, Traffic Services, Community Sweeper Unit Flag Canada.gif Canada
Dodge Neon Parking Enforcement, Document Services Section Flag usa.gif United States
Smart fortwo Parking Enforcement car Template:GER
Ford Crown Victoria (marked) - regular cruisers, Traffic Services, Community Sweeper Unit Flag Canada.gif Canada
Ford Crown Victoria- (black/blue stripe, grey/grey stripe) stealth unit car Flag Canada.gif Canada
Ford Focus Parking Enforcement car Flag usa.gif United States
Ford Taurus (Highway Patrol) retired Flag usa.gif United States
Plymouth Caravelle cruisers retired Flag usa.gif United States
Volkswagen New Beetle Safety Bug car Template:MEX
Honda Civic/Civic Hybrid car Flag Canada.gif Canada


Product list and details
 Make/Model   Type   Status   Origin 
BMW K1 Motorcycle Template:GER
Harley Davidson FLHTP motorcycle Flag usa.gif United States


TPS has a fleet of 15 boats including:

  • Marine Unit 1 - Volvo Penta Turbo Chargd 350 hp engines and 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 Inflatable Boats (RIBs) with twin 250-horsepower four-stroke motors
  • 1 "HUSKY" airboat used for operating over ice

Support vehicles

Product list and details
 Make/Model   Type   Status   Origin 
Chevrolet Express van - Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Collision Reconstruction Flag usa.gif United States
GMC Savanna vans - Radio Services and Court Services Flag usa.gif United States
Chevrolet Suburban SUV - ETF, Marine Unit, Police Dog Service, Public Safety Unit Flag usa.gif United States
Ford F350 truck - Mounted Unit Flag usa.gif United States
Ford Van Explosive Disposal Unit, Forensic Identification Service Flag usa.gif United States
Ford Van van RIDE Flag usa.gif United States
GMC Safari SUV Parking Enforcement Flag usa.gif United States
Jeep Cherokee SUV Flag usa.gif United States
Northrop Grumman Remotec Andros MK V1A bomb unit robot Flag usa.gif United States


Product list and details
 Make/Model   Type   Status   Origin 
Norco[disambiguation needed] mountain bikes Flag Canada.gif Canada
Aquila Scandium[disambiguation needed] mountain bikes - Community Action Policing

Mounted Unit

File:Toronto Police mounted.jpg
Members of the Toronto Police mounted unit

The horse unit was formed in 1886 and now stationed at the Horse Palace at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE).

The unit has a strength of 27 horses and 40 officers.


  • Honest Ed (2004); named for Ed Mirvish
  • Sampson
  • Lady
  • Keith
  • Dragoon
  • Spencer
  • Winston

Horses killed while on duty:

Dog Unit

  • 17 general purpose dogs - Nero, Rony
  • 4 drug enforcement dogs
  • 1 explosives detector dog - Mic
  • 20 officers

the dog unit


Glock 22 Large frame .40 - Regular uniformed officers

Glock 23 Compact frame .40 - Specialized issue

Glock 17 Large frame 9mm - Specialized units

Glock 19 Compact frame 9 mm - Specialized issue

Tazer Regular uniformed supervisors and specialized units

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.

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 helments. 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:

  • winged wheels of industry on the top part of the shield
  • crown commemorating the coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953
  • two books for education
  • Cadueus - Roman god of commerce
  • chevron for housing
  • beaver from the city of Toronto logo


File:Tps ranks.png
Rank epaulettes

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.

Commanding Officers

Besides the Chief of Police, the other command officers are the Deputy Chiefs. They head the command units:

  • Divisional Policing - Kim Derry (current)
  • Executive - Jane Dick (current)
  • Human Resources - Keith Forde (current)
  • Specialized Policing - Anthony Warr (current)

The Chief Administrative Officer is a civilian post, currently held by Tony Veneziano.

Police Senior Officers

The day-to-day and regional operations are commanded by senior officers:

Police Officers


New and current officers of the Toronto Police Service train at the Charles O. Bick College (former Judge and Police Services chairman) on Finch Avenue East and Brimley Road. The initial training is 2 weeks then 12 weeks at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, Ontario and then 6 weeks of final training at C.O. Bick college. Recruit to the TPS are also trained at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, Ontario.

The current police college will re-locate near the Humber College's south campus in southern Etobicoke. The College is also home to the memorial for slain PC Todd Baylis.

Emergency Services

TPS is part of Toronto's Emergency Services and works along side with:


See also

External links

Template:Can LawEnforce Template:Toronto Government