Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a happy and fulfilling holiday season.
As we enter the New Year, we can’t help but reflect upon 2013 with all the successes as well as the challenges. It is important to learn from both so that we can increase our successes and reduce our challenges.
From all of the special events to the neighbourhood projects, traffic campaigns and community service events and fundraisers, these events that fill our Division each year is what helps shape us as a community. All are unique and with each year, the success of these events always seems to surpass that of years previous.
Events, including, but certainly not limited to: Canada Day celebrations, Portugal Day Celebrations, Little Italy Weekend, Caribbean Festival, the Honda Indy, Dundas West Festival, Beerfest and the Canadian National Exhibition. These are but a few of all the community events that 14 Division officers participated in to ensure successful and safe events for all. These events illustrate all the great work and dedication of 14 Division officers to make this Division the flagship of the Toronto Police Service.
Having said this, there are several events and campaigns that have taken place as of late that deserve notable mention. One being our 2013 Youth Scholarship Fundraising Gala which took place on the 23rd of October at the Revival bar, located at 783 College Street. Both Federal and Provincial levels of government were represented, as well local Councillor Mike Layton, who deserves honourable mention for operating a triumphant silent auction. Special mention also goes to the performances by the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement, and “Planet Earth” who helped to make this a spectacular event. I am grateful to all of our supporters who attended and/or donated to this event. Our fundraising goal was surpassed when we raised in excess of $25,000. This will enable us to award even more scholarships in 2014.
In continuation with the support of the Scholarship fund, the St. Anne’s Anglican Church located at 270 Gladstone Avenue hosted “CANTATE: A Neighbourhood Christmas Concert” on Sunday December 8th, 2013. Once again, the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement was there to impress along with performances by the St. Anne’s Choir and The Junction Trio and Friends. They helped us spring in to the upcoming festivities and contributed to a worthy program for our community’s youth. St Anne’s church raised in excess of $3,000 for the 14 Division Scholarship Program.
The 109th Annual Santa Claus Parade was held on Sunday November 17th. The parade began near Christie Pits and ran east along Bloor Street, south on University Avenue and east along Front Street, until the final destination within the St. Lawrence Market. For over a century, this parade continues to gather citizens of all ages to take in the scenery, indulge in the plentiful exhibits and feeling of the swiftly approaching holiday season. This year was no different, and was a festive and joyful event for all.
On Monday November 11th, our country remembered all of the valiant men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in battle to defend the rights and freedoms we presently enjoy and benefit from. 14 Division was well represented with the laying of wreaths at a number of events, including laying a wreath at the Fort York Memorial Cemetery in the presence students and soldiers dressed in period costume.
“STEP UP and Be Safe” was a pedestrian campaign that ran from Monday November 4th - Sunday November 10th. Although the campaign had a successful conclusion, we will continue to be diligent and promote education initiatives and associated enforcement strategies to enhance pedestrian safety within our community. All police officers and parking enforcement officers will be paying particular attention to those motorists, cyclists and pedestrians who commit offences in the vicinity of pedestrian crossovers, crosswalks, intersections, school zones (particularly primary schools) and crossing areas frequented by seniors, particularly during times of inclement weather. In recognition of distracted driving offences, pedestrians are always encouraged to avoid using electronic devices when interacting near any areas with vehicular traffic.
The use of electronic devices is not just a concern for pedestrians as it relates to traffic safety, but personal safety as well. In the past year, our community had been affected by several robberies that target those utilizing such devices and not being as diligent with their surroundings. Many of the robberies were occurring during late evening into early morning hours however, it is essential to realize the potential for that level of vulnerability that could occur at any point during the daylight hours as well. Since we observed an increase of these incidents, we increased our personnel throughout several focussed areas during the effected hours and were successful in arresting several young adults in connection with cellular phone robberies. With prevention being the focus, our Major Crime Unit designed a pamphlet intended to promote a safer environment which has been included as part of our patrols, particularly to those encountered holding a device in view of others.
Prevention is the key to avoid being victimized, and I encourage everyone to always be aware of their surroundings and be prepared by reviewing some very simple tips through our internet to avoid being victimized. (View Toronto Police Crime Prevention Personal Safety pamphlet )
Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) is a joint effort between the community and the Toronto Police Service taking a proactive approach to the incidents of impaired driving. In the City of Toronto, it is a year round program where the members of the Service are on the streets and waterways conducting spot checks to reduce drinking and driving. It can’t be said often enough about the dangers of drinking and driving, not only during peak holiday seasons, where parties and celebration are of the norm, but every day. Please always be extra cautious and utilize any of the many reliable options that are unremittingly available to arrive home safely.
We were deeply saddened on December 2nd by the loss of one of our own in a fatal traffic collision. Officer John Zivcic was remembered and honoured in an emotional memorial service on Monday December 9th.
Constable Zivcic’s death affects us profoundly and deeply as members of this Service. He was described as a compassionate and enthusiastic young man with a great deal of promise and was dedicated to the work he did in a profession he loved. We send our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and to all who knew him well. It is my hope that his memory can be honoured by remembering all of the exceptional qualities he exemplified.
With a new year upon us in full force, new opportunities have ascended for 14 Division. The Toronto Police Service completed a promotional process last month for the rank of Superintendent. As a result, the Service identified 12 new Senior Officers who have now been placed on the list for promotion to the rank of Superintendent.
Inspector David Vickers has been transferred to 42 Division as of January 13 as the new second in command working with Superintendent Martin. Inspector Shaun Narine, of 31 Division, has been identified as the replacement for Inspector Vickers as the second in command of 14 Division.
Further, due to the hiring and promotion freeze imposed by the Board in December of 2012, the position of Staff Superintendent Central Field Command (formerly occupied by Staff Superintendent Kimberley Greenwood) was being filled on a rotating basis by a number of Superintendents for 3-month periods. For the past few weeks, I have been Acting Staff Superintendent Central Field Command for the 3 month period ending March 31, 2014. During my acting time at Central Field, A/Superintendent Sean Narine will be the Acting Unit Commander of 14 Division. It is my intention to continue to take an active role with all management decisions that impact 14 Division.
Please join me in wishing Inspector Vickers well at his new position at 42 Division and welcoming Inspector Narine in coming aboard our flagship.