Toronto Could Get Non-Police Teams That Respond To Mental Health Calls Without Violence
John Tory is ready to make big changes to mental health calls in Toronto. On June 25, the Mayor announced a motion to create a non-police response team for mental health crises in the city. The unit would address these situations without violence or weapons.
In a conference on Thursday, Tory announced that the City is making a call for changes to the policing system.
The mayor revealed a list of proposed policies, which included the creation of the non-police response team.
"Mayor John Tory recommends that City Council direct the City Manager, in consultation with the Toronto Police Services Board, to develop alternative models of community safety response," read the statement.
One alternative method would "involve the creation of non-police-led response to calls which do not involve weapons or violence, such as those involving individuals experiencing mental health crises and where a police response is not necessary."
The groundbreaking motion also appears to indicate that the city's recent calls to defund the police could be answered.
The document states that the City Council is asking the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) to invite the Auditor General to review its budget.
The move will allow the city to find ways to invest more funds into the community and social services.
The council is also requesting that the Ontario government review and overhaul the Equipment and Use of Force Regulation to emphasize de-escalation and address the use of deadly force.
"In recent weeks, here in Toronto and around the world, people have been raising their voices and calling for an end to racism generally, to anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism, and to racism against marginalized communities," Tory states in the agenda item.
"We must fix that model by changing the way policing is done in order to stamp out systemic racism within our police service and to re-think, in some cases, whether police are the right community response at all," he adds.
Earlier this month, the mayor also stated that the City is working towards ensuring that body cams are worn by all officers.
He hopes that the new policy could be put in place by the end of this summer.
The move comes after crowds of demonstrators have taken to city streets to call for the defunding of police.
Last week, protestors painted "defund the police" in bright pink letters outside of TPS headquarters.