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Police officers shouldn’t be ‘guarding broken watermains:’ chief

Last Updated Jan 11, 2018 at 4:51 pm EDT

Chief Mark Saunders speaks to reporters at Toronto police headquarters on Jan. 11, 2018. CITYNEWS

Toronto’s police chief said he’s looking into the union’s concerns about understaffing on the force, but insisted he has already taken measures to correct the problem.

At an event on Thursday, Chief Mark Saunders said he agrees there were issues under the old model, but he’s since hired new officers and changed deployment, “[making] the pie a little wider.”

Saunders said he has added another 523 officers to the front line since last May and assigned more officers to cover larger areas.

“One of the key and critical pieces … is reducing the cost-for-service,” he told reporters. “That is fundamental if we’re going to be able to modernize.”

Saunders suggested it’s a waste to have skilled officers directing traffic and protecting crime scenes, and said there are some calls they shouldn’t be going to.

“There’s certain things that highly-trained police officers do not need to do,” he said. “Guarding a broken watermain — I don’t think that’s what the taxpayers want.”

However, Saunders said he is in the process of hiring more officers, though he has not settled on a number.

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