Public Safety Partnerships

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 8:23 a.m. November 15, 2017

Toronto Police Service Acting Chief Jim Ramer joined his counterparts from New York and Orlando in a Chief of Police Panel on November 14 to discuss among other things, the role of public/private partnerships to improve public safety.

Three men seated at a table with microphones
Orlando Chief John Mina speaks on a panel with Toronto Acting Chief James Ramer and NYPD Chief James O'Neill

New York City Police Department (NYPD) Chief James O’Neill and Orlando Police Department Chief John Mina are in Toronto for the 10th annual Toronto Emergency Management Symposium at the Toronto Police College.

Acting Chief Ramer said Toronto is constantly reevaluating how it polices large-scale events with the help of private security as well as City of Toronto Emergency Management personnel.

“We have tried different operations during the recent hockey and baseball season downtown near the Rogers Centre and Maple Leaf Square,” he said. “We are taking a different look at how we do business because of world events. Right now, there’s an executive group of City people, police officers and emergency management folks that are meeting to look at how we are going to do that collaboration.”

The Toronto Association of Police and Private Security, or TAPPS, is an official public-private partnership of the Toronto Police Service.

It aims to provide active support to municipal, provincial, and federal law enforcement officers, and members of the safety and security community in order to establish for their clients and citizens a high quality of life and safety in the Toronto Area. TAPPS facilitates education, training, information, and intelligence sharing in partnership with the Toronto Police Service to mobilize public and private sector entities.

The NYPD has a private sector partnership that was put in place to alert police to terror plots that may be formulating across the country.

Established in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the NYPD Shield is designed to create a way police could regularly communicate with security officials about everything from office buildings to sporting arenas.

NYPD Shield has about 18,000 members, mostly security officials in the New York City area, though there are also members — including corporations — in every other state and in countries around the world.

Police regularly share with members — in conferences as well as through online updates and alerts — information about recent terror attacks and how to improve security measures.

Police also conduct classes, teaching different organizations such as churches, for example, what to do if a gunman walks in and starts firing, and showing hotel workers what pipe bombs look like.

“The Shield program is an excellent one for us,” O’Neill said. “One of the main benefits is the video that we have. We have access to over 10,000 cameras and that keeps building day after day. Anytime there is any major event in New York City, we capture some of it on video. It never fails.”

He said about 12,000 officers are wearing body cameras and the hope is that by 2018 every officer on patrol will be equipped with a camera.

The NYPD has 36,000 uniformed officers and 16,000 civilians in a city of about 8.5 million people.

Chief Mina spoke about the Florida Fusion Centre (FFC) which is a collaborative effort of state and federal agencies working in partnership with local partners to share resources, expertise and/or information to better identify, detect, prevent, apprehend and respond to criminal and terrorist activity utilizing an all crimes/all hazards approach. 

Located in Tallahassee, the FFC serves as Florida’s primary centre for the gathering, processing, analysis and dissemination of terrorism, law enforcement and homeland security information.

The centre was recognized last week by the National Fusion Center Association as the 2017 Fusion Center of the Year for its continued commitment to vigilance and excellence in defense of Florida and its citizens.
It also received the Maritime Domain Awareness Excellence Award in recognition of its efforts to improve the safety and security of Florida’s coasts, waterways, and ports.

“Along with these centres are our intelligence liaison officers and that incorporates about 500 businesses in Central Florida who come to the centre for training,” he said. “They are intelligence officers who we share information with. As far as communicating with them, an email is sent to them to be aware of certain things. Anytime we receive information about people purchasing bomb-making materials or people renting or stealing large vehicles, we facilitate getting information out to those intelligence liaison officers.”

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