Assessing the Effectiveness of the Toronto Police Services Board’s Youth Initiatives3
This report would not have been possible without the support and assistance of a great manypeople. We did not anticipate the sheer amount of data we gathered, and this was the result of the access and accessibility given to us by the Toronto Police Services Board, members of the Toronto Police Service, and the community organizations with whom we worked. The organizations who agreed to be part of this research gave freely of their time and spokeopenly about their thoughts, opinions, and needs. We want to acknowledge Native Child andFamily Services, Tropicana Community Services, and the Youth Association for Academics,Athletics, and Character Education. The organizers and staff at these organizations worktirelessly to provide opportunities and support to youth, and they accommodated ourintrusions not only with grace, but with a degree of enthusiasm given the opportunity todemonstrate the important work they do to enhance the lives of others. We can only hope wehave done justice to their conversations and wish we were able to include even more aboutthe amount and type of work they do every day.A researcher’s dream is to be allowed the types of exposure and interactions that make it feelas if they are actually participants, and this was very much the case with the Youth inPolicing Initiative (YIPI). We want to acknowledge all of the assistance the coordinators andstaff at YIPI gave us in order to produce this report. Melva Radway and Joanne Goodingwent out of their way to make us feel welcome and to explain to us what was happening ateach stage of the program. Ms. Radway also brought researchers along for the site visits andher ability to deal with busloads of energetic youth demonstrated her wonderful and caringpersonality. We are also greatly indebted to Meera Goocool, whose support far exceededanything that could have been expected. Ms. Goocool quickly and efficiently sent us datafrom the program, provided us with contact information for police officers, printed anddistributed our surveys, and coordinated our focus groups with YIPI participants. Finally, thepassion and devotion demonstrated by Danielle Dowdy towards both YIPI and to providing ameaningful opportunity for youth from marginalized areas was inspiring.We want to acknowledge Alok Mukherjee, Chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, forsupporting this research and the Toronto Police Services Board for encouraging the researchteam to produce a report that was honest and forthcoming. We would particularly like torecognize Karlene Bennett, who provided anything and everything we requested and workedhard to facilitate the research and writing process. Whenever we encountered any difficultiesor delays, the solution was always, “Call Karlene”. Ms. Bennett is a credit to herorganization. In the same vein, we wish to acknowledge retired Deputy Chief Keith Ford forhis commitment to YIPI and support of this project.Finally, and most importantly, we must acknowledge all of the youth – both of YIPI and of the community organizations – who participated in our research. Although they received nocompensation, they spoke with a willingness and eloquence that demonstrated that we allhave much to learn from the lives and experiences of youth.