Business Excellence Celebrated

By Kevin Masterman, Toronto Police Service Published: 4:40 p.m. May 13, 2014
Updated: 4:41 p.m. May 13, 2014

Innovative and community focused work was recognized as nominees were announced for the Toronto Police Business Excellence Awards sponsored by the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

A man in TPS uniform stands beside two women and two men on a staircase
Chief Bill Blair, Lydia Chao, Susan Walker-Knapper, Christopher Worth and Alok Mukherjee

The Business Excellence Awards (BEA), recognize members of the Toronto Police Service who have made significant contributions based on innovation, community service, technical achievement as well as customer service and reliability.

They were presented by Chief Bill Blair, Toronto Police Services Board Chair Alok Mukherjee and Chair of the Police Officer of the Year Awards Christopher Worth at a ceremony alongside the Police Officer of the Month awards.

The Business Excellence Award winner and Police Officer of the Year will be announced at a reception at the Toronto Region Board of Trade, First Canadian Place, on June 4.

Two men in TPS uniform, one women in TPS uniform standing with two other men on a staircase
Chief Bill Blair, Constable Michelle Tasse, Superintendent John Tanouye, Christopher Worth and Alok Mukherjee

BEA Nominee: Project Ultimate Survivors – Constable Michelle Tasse and Superintendent John Tanouye

School Resource Officer Constable Michelle Tasse devised a unique wilderness adventure with police officers and several dozen youth in their late teens in order to break down the barriers between youth and the police and encourage teamwork, build character, promote respect and foster self-worth. 

Tasse introduced the concept to another officer and together they approached the well-known wilderness expert and TV personality Leslie Allan Stroud, better known as “Survivorman" to his viewers. The officers also approached David Arama who is an outdoors expert who runs one of Canada’s leading wilderness schools.

With funding from ProAction Cops and Kids and Canadian Tire Jumpstart the initiative was put in motion running from March 2012 to the culmination challenge in early June that included navigation, First Aid and survival skills such as building a shelter.

The teaching component combined in class instruction and practical exercises. The project had a number of volunteers including police officers, project coordinators and teachers.

Two men in TPS uniform stand beside three other men on a staircase
Chief Bill Blair, Detective Sergeant Cameron Field, Superintendent Bryce Evans, Christopher Worth and Alok Mukherjee

BEA Nominee: #fraudchat – Crime Prevention Through Social Media – Detective Sergeant Cameron Field and Superintendent Bryce Evans

The Toronto Police Service has been engaged in a campaign to build bridges with the growing number of Canadians who use social media.

In November of 2011, Financial Crimes investigators embarked on a social media campaign to deal with the increasing number of financial crimes. In Canada, financial crimes are the only crime indicators that consistently rise every year. Field was tasked with creating the social media platform and engaged two members of his unit to join him in forming their social media team.

In the fall of 2012, the unit had been on Twitter and Facebook for a complete year with 10,000 followers between the three members.  It was quite evident that there was genuine interest in financial crimes, prevention tips, overall awareness, and the chance to converse informally with unit members. With this in mind, Field undertook to expand the social media platform by engaging our private, corporate and government partners, including the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).

In December 2012, the Financial Crimes Unit and the FSCO began hosting a one-hour online Twitter chat known as #fraudchat in order to educate the public about financial crimes and fraud.  ‘Fraudchat’ occurs every Thursday evening between the hours of 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. and offers an informal venue for people to talk openly about fraud.

Within weeks #fraudchat became a success with followers from around the country and international followers from around the world.

The program deals with various topics that include romance frauds, lotteries, investments, door to door sales, auto insurance, staged motor vehicle collisions, hot water heater and home renovation scams, as well as focusing on seniors and fraud.

BEA Nominee: CASC Automated Court Excusal System – Lydia Chao and Manager Susan Walker-Knapper

Since July 2008, electronic Court Kiosks have been operational at most court locations largely replacing the paper court cards. Prior to the implementation of the Court Kiosk the pre-printed paper court cards identified the badge number of the officer who had been scheduled to attend court. The cards were manually completed by the officer when they attended. Any officer who was unable to attend court would have to be excused by their officer in charge, via a fax, providing the excuse which would then be recorded into the Court Excusal Journal by Court Services members.  A cross reference would be conducted with the Court Excusal Journal and the pre-printed court cards and a TPS 649 would be generated to those officers who had not been excused by their supervisor.

With the introduction of Court Kiosks, and the elimination of the pre-printed Court Card, a cross reference could not be conducted by Court Services.

Chao took an interest in trying to determine an alternate method for ensuring appropriate excusal from court by a supervisor, utilizing the only means available to her – the CASC (Computer Assisted Scheduling of Court) program.  She partnered with other members of the Toronto Police Service and a pilot project was conducted at Traffic Services.  In 2010, Court non-attendance rate decreased considerably at Traffic Services.  Training was delivered over the course of 2011 and Divisions were added to the program.

The new automated court excusal procedure provides the Divisions with the autonomy to manage their own court excusals, which can now be tracked and analyzed effectively and accurately. It has replaced the highly labour intensive manual verification process.  

Effective January 1, 2012 the Court Excusal System was in place across the Service, a POA Court Excusal Procedure Training Manual and a Service-wide excusal database was created.

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