Community Police Liaison Committee Member,
John Dixon’s Summary of the Recent Town Hall
The 2008 Toronto Police Service 11 Division and 11 Division’s Community Police
Liaison Committee (11 CPLC) Town Hall Meeting held at Bishop Marrocco/Thomas
Merton Catholic Secondary School on November 18 was a success for all concerned.
The audience of about sixty people was composed of a wide variety of local residents
and community leaders who heard and had questions about presentations from Staff
Inspector Tom Russell, from our featured speaker, Likwa Nkala, and from Inspector
Dave Saunders and Staff Sergeant Bruce Morrison, who were at the head table,
together with long time CPLC members Sarah Doucette and Alex Ling.
Likwa Nkala, the well known Toronto youth outreach worker and educator discussed
with the audience how adults of caring communities can recognize youth who are
at risk of losing their way to, or becoming victims of, violence, and intervene in
He gave us a number of exemplary anecdotes and urged, “Don’t expect others to fix
your kids” but when you do seek help from police or other community organizations,
“Come with your own [clearly defined] agenda” so that a resulting intervention to save a
young person from an otherwise dark future can be quick and effective.
The new boss of 11 Division, Tom Russell, began his presentation of some of the
Division’s 2008 accomplishments by leading another round of applause for Mr. Nkala
then saying that while youth are of course only a part of the whole population “they’re
definitely 100% of our future.” Tom then reviewed several of the successes the
officers of 11 Division have achieved in partnership with the community they serve and
protect which contributed to a 7% reduction in crime (measured by the seven major
crime indices) in 11 Division in the last year. For example:
1. By devising and effectively implementing a made-in-11 Division version of the Toronto
Police Service’s Toronto Anti-violence Strategy (TAVIS) called Project Recess,
muggings of young people in and around our TTC stations were reduced by 50%
in just the last three months.
2. Through close cooperation with neighbouring residents and businesses, and City of
Toronto agencies, the Queen’s Hotel in Parkdale, long a locus of criminal drug-related
activity was closed and its vulnerable long-term residents housed elsewhere.
3. After interviewing most of the 185 residents in the area of Quebec Avenue and
Dundas Street who petitioned 11 Division early this year, its officers devised a program
which led to the laying of 135 charges against a father and son who had long
perpetrated acts of vandalism and intimidation against their neighbours. This
result occasioned neighbourhood street parties and a multiple-signature thank-you card
to 11 Division from residents who have renewed their community spirit by working in
partnership with their police.
4. Traffic safety enforcement in 11 Division continues to be directed against
aggressive drivers, which has resulted in a continuing decrease in automobile collisions
and resulting injuries and fatalities. Further, 11 Division was given an award of
appreciation by MADD last year for the number of RIDE spot checks they made. They
intend to win another this year.
Staff Inspector Russell emphasized that all of the good police work described above was
made possible through the connections and partnerships forged by 11 Division
officers with members of the community they serve.
Serving this community on bikes and on foot are “the officers in yellow jackets” who
report to Staff Sergeant Bruce Morrison, leader of 11 Division’s Community
Response Unit (CRU) Bruce told us more than once that his team has the time to give
to the problems which when solved improve the quality of life of the ten defined
neighbourhoods and some schools we see them patrolling.
Bruce provided examples of the kinds of problems his officers often deal with (burnt-
out street lights, aggressive panhandlers, graffiti, etc.) and hailed in the audience the
CRU’s traffic problems response officer, Dan Rohde, who handles about 40 complaints
After describing and lauding the good work done by 11 Division’s Auxiliary officers in
assisting the Division’s CRU officers, Bruce emphasized that his CRU officers are
charged with partnering with the community to help good citizens and neighbors to be
just that to one another.
At this point, the meeting was turned over to questions from the audience and many
questions there were. Here are most of them:
Michael G. asked whether he could access crime stats on the Toronto Police Service
Web site and learned he could. Moses S., a middle school teacher, asked for “Help!’ in
dealing with his students who bring weapons to school. Inspector Dave Saunders
answered Moses at length by describing the Toronto District School Board’s officers- in-
Resource Officers) program and Likwa Nkala suggested tactics to deal with weapon-
Dirk T., Chair of the Parkdale Residents Association asked for direction with respect
to, and possible sources of help for, his group’s mural painting program, Painting
Parkdale Stories. He was advised by both Tom and Bruce of how the City’s by-laws
distinguish graffiti from authorized murals and allow the latter not the former, and was
directed to 14 Division’s go to officer for murals, Scott Mills.
Pam M. and Ken M. (not related) asked one after the other about the new station for 11
Division: Tom Russell told them he didn’t know what would happen to the present 11
Division building on Mavety Street, but would find out and tell Pam, and that 11
Division’s geoboundaries would have to be adjusted slightly to include the new station to
be located at 2054 Davenport Road, and to be open for business on November 11,
The Reverend L. of The Celestial Church asked what he could tell members of his
flock who ask him for help with their kids who are at risk because of illegal drug use.
CPLC member Sarah Doucette told the reverend of the drug and alcohol awareness
programs with which she’d been involved as a parent of a high schooler and how 11
Division officers had made themselves available to take such programs into the schools
with her. Tom Russell asked if the Reverend would meet with him about what is now
being done and the more that can be done with the faith community to solve the
The Honourable Cheri DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale-High Park, and a former Reverend
herself, then spoke from the audience to the Reverend L. about the Parkdale Drug
Strategy and the educative events the participants in and supporters of the Strategy
(including 11 Division) have held and will hold in the community, and told how one
member of their group (a former user) goes to schools to further the aim of the
Strategy—decreased illegal drug use. Ms. DiNovo then extended an invitation to the
Reverend to “be a part of this Strategy”, and introduced her Executive Assistant
Charles Smith as the contact person for her. Charles asked if the 7% reduction in crime
continues a downward trend and was assured by Tom Russell that it does.
Heather D. of the Parkdale Business Improvement Area (PBIA) asked about drug
trafficking along Queen Street, saying that some of the PBIA’s member
businesspeople have had themselves to ”scare off” traffickers. Tom Russell
acknowledged that drug trafficking in Parkdale (of which 11 Division has a small part
only) is an ongoing problem, as are police efforts to reduce it. Bruce Morrison then
elaborated on the extent of the local community and the City of Toronto cooperation the
police had in achieving the closing of the Queen’s Hotel, and emphasized that
enforcement, education, TAVIS programs, and local community initiatives can
together reduce the scope of the problem.
Ruth McL. a nurse with the Four Villages Community Health Centre serving much of
the geo-area of 11 Division told us that they are to open in a year a satellite facility near
Jane and Dundas and want to contribute to the health of youth including their
freedom from drug use as effectively as they now see to the health of seniors. Ruth
mentioned her admiration for the Dovercourt Boys & Girls Club and Bruce Morrison
told her of this Club’s branch at Perth and Randolph; Tom Russell invited Ruth to get
stay in touch with him so they could further define her Board’s desire to serve youth as
well as the Club does.
A lady living on Symington Ave. wondered how those who race cars along it may best
be invited to slow down. PC Dan Rhode, 11 Division’s traffic safety officer, spoke of the
various and signal efforts of 11 Division officers to reduce traffic accidents resulting from
aggressive driving within the Division’s boundaries.
Inspector Dave Saunders was next up and he urged the audience and all those of the
community served by 11 Division to contact 11 Division whenever you have a
problem or complaint you think your 11 Division police officers can solve or ought
Dave spoke of the Community Policing Complaint Form available at any Toronto
Police Service (TPS) division location and at your local politicians’ offices
Dave then told us that 11 Division’s Web page (http://www.torontopolice.on.ca/d11/) lets
you sign up for the Community Alert mailing list or the business Night Listing Form,
and that on the main TPS Web site
(http://www.torontopolice.on.ca) you can get TPS Crime Statistics for the City as a
whole, and by neighbourhood on Neighbourhood Crime Maps (See 11 Division
neighbourhoods 84 to 90, and 114).
Inspector Saunders concluded his presentation by urging all bicycle owners to register
their bicycle by visiting torontopolice.on.ca and clicking on the Bicycle Registration
button. Registered bikes if recovered by police (and 1500 have been in 2008) get
Tom Russell introduced his two parking enforcement officers as being ready to
answer one-on-one any questions about parking from the audience.
Meeting moderator John Dixon wrapped things up by thanking the Toronto District
Catholic School Board for the use of Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton’s auditorium,
and especially thanked the audience of citizens, community leaders, politician’s
representatives, and the one politician present, Cheri DiNovo, for coming and
participating, and being involved in activities which serve to protect us all.
11 CPLC Executive Committee