Chief Bill Blair committed to working closely with the community and mental health partners to implement recommendations of a “independent, comprehensive and compassionate” report into how police respond to people in crisis.
The report, Police Encounters With People In Crisis, written by former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci, examines policies, procedures, equipment , training and international best practices and delivers 84 recommendations.
“I believe that they are comprehensive, that Mr. Iacobucci has taken a very objective and broad-ranging view of the critical issues facing the Toronto Police Service and I believe he has provided us with an excellent road map as we move forward,” Chief Blair says.
An implementation advisory group, led by Deputy Chief Mike Federico, and made up of mental health survivors, support and healthcare organizations, will help bring improvements in the system.
“I think it's through that collaboration and consultation that we will be successful in making sure that not only the police improve the quality of the response but all of our partners can move forward with us together,” Chief Blair says.
I believe the greatest challenge facing members of the Toronto Police Service and police services across Canada, is how we respond to persons in crisis
“Our goal has to be zero deaths. We want to make sure, wherever possible, we save lives,” Chief Blair says, of ensuring the best response to the complex crises officers are faced with daily.
“I believe the greatest challenge facing members of the Toronto Police Service and police services across Canada, is how we respond to persons in crisis,” he says, noting that the Toronto Police annually respond to over 20,000 calls people in crisis each year.
The Chief committed to those in crisis, as well as to their families, that police officers will seek safe outcomes above all else.
"Every police officer is committed to preserving life. It's a duty, a calling we have answered,” he says. “I want my officers to know of our commitment to provide them with all the tools and the training and all the support that they need to resolve these critical incidents as safely as can be done.”