In today’s Toronto Star, an op-ed by Peacebuilders’ Marlon Merraro and TNG’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Bill Sinclair on Community Safety and Policing. Here is an excerpt.

With great fanfare, the City of Toronto unveiled two new community-based nonpolice emergency services in July, augmenting the two launched in the spring. On the face of it, one might think Toronto was surging ahead in the effort to move away from policing social and health issues like homelessness and mental health. Sadly, compared to other cities and our own promises, Toronto is moving slowly.

The projects “unveiled” this month were first announced a year and a half ago, and originally promised two years ago. Implementation has been gradual, to say the least, while other efforts to address these issues have been stymied. Homeless encampments have been forcibly and violently evicted by police. Private security firms are being hired with tax dollars to police homeless people all summer, and proposals for new initiatives to address the over-policing of people in crisis gather dust on city hall shelves. It’s no surprise a June report by the auditor general found police could save 85,000 hours over five years if some calls were “handled differently.”

Full article here.