220 Oak Street Bulletin

220 Oak Street Tenant Bulletin: Safety Concerns for Residents Report by T.C.H.C Staff Visit from Members from T.P.S 51 Division

February 16, 2012

RE: Meeting at 220 Oak Street TO: Toronto Police Services Board, Mr Alok Murhejee

Dear Mr Alok: Yesterday, Officers from 51 Division came invited by T.C.H.C staff to a community meeting at 220 Oak St., to inform tenants on an update on public safety concerns. 220 Oak Street is a Toronto Community Housing property, part of the Regent Park Neighborhood in trendy Gabbagetown - Ward 28- , 220 Oak Street is in a three building complex on the south east corner of River and Gerrard streets in Toronto's downtown area. It is a 27 story high rise apartment building, designed by the Toronto architectural firm of E. I. Richmond Architects Inc. I was constructed in 1972 on the south east corner of River and Gerrard along with two other apartment towers. 220 Oak Street is an THC building while the other two are privately owned, whether or not this was an early seventies attempt to create a Mixed housing neighbourhood or no I am not aware at all.

The population is mix ; Senior / Young Adults, mostly single dwellers, There is a large population of People with Physical and Mental Handicaps, Unemployed and Students. I sent an invitation to your office to visit us last 2012 -02-15 , my apologies for the short notice. Mr Alok, in attendance at the meeting were present staff from T.C.H.C , members of the public, Special Constables from T.C.H.C , an Employee from the Security Company “G4S” hired to patrol the building , and two (2) T.P.S Officers Mr Hayes Badge id: 10314 and Mr. Waugh Badge id: 9315 both from 51 Division. The Public raised issues of trespassing of the property on a ongoing basis and also wanted to hear from Officers any update in relation to the tragic death on December 16, 2012, see link: http://www.640toronto.com/Channels/Reg/NewsLocal/Story.aspx?ID=1631278 which will remain confidential.

Mr Alok, My personal inquires were directed to the officers from 51 Division in connection with the readiness and preparation of the officers to deal with tenants who suffer with Mental Illness. I learned at the meeting during the months ahead, Officers from 51 Division would be inspecting the building to ensure the public safety.

Here is the Q and A: Mr. Waugh: Q: How well are you prepared, how well are you ready to engage with a tenant who has a perceived mental disability? R: We have been trained accordingly. Q: How well is this training? Is 6 hours in total considered to be enough training? R: We are and I realize Mr Avila, you have some knowledge of our training, so you answered your question yourself. Thank You Mr, Waugh. Mr Hayes: Q: I am aware the T.P.S has nine (9) Mobile Crisis Intervention Units ( M.C.I.U) in the City of Toronto, Does 51 Division have an M.C.I U available to you if the need is warrant? A: Yes, We do have an M.C.I.U unit at 51 Division. Q: What hours do they operate? morning shift? 24 hours? 7 days a week?

R: Again Mr. Avila, You appear to be well informed , I am aware that they work the afternoon shifts. Q: What are the hours of the afternoon shifts? A: I am not sure , But I can provide you with a phone number to call and find out. Q: Mr Hayes, that won’t be necessary, I am a resourceful person , won’t have a problem finding it on my own. Q: I am in need of this information since I am attending a meeting of the T.P. S Board and it would be helpful knowing this information. A: Is not a matter of going to the board or Not, Mr Avila, We want to provide safety to the tenants at 220 Oak Street. Thank You, Mr Hayes

Mr Alok, what really transpired at this meeting afterwards that tenants were not fully aware of this current issues, and they are glad they have on me an advocate to speak up for them. Officers Waugh and Hayes took notes of my questions, I am almost certain that they will be transmitting this info to their superiors on command at 51 Division, to carefully plan their task to sweep 220 Oak Street of bad elements with the fully understanding tenants with Mental Illness are dwellers at 220 Oak Street.

Mr Alok, as stated lines above , during the following months officers from 51 Division will be visiting the building on a regular basis to remove bad elements that have put down roots in the building, I agree somewhat that a “sweep” is necessary and long overdue, But in my opinion is basically a “Crime Management” solution , rather a Band Aid Plan, in theory sounds good in practice is a total different ball game, You expect that permanently this bad elements of society move elsewhere permanently, Your officers empty a hole or a nest as I like to call it them this bad members of society move to another place and the problem is not over once you are gone the bad elements return , and the problem goes on and on. But that is a conversation for another day , Mr Alok, my office is open for discussion. Mr Alok, I want to request you ask the Superintendent of 51 Division Mr. John, Tanouye to coordinate the visits to 220 Oak Street during the working hours of the division’s M.C.I.U’s so they can be of assistance to the officers in case of an altercation with a tenant with mental illness ,in the hope we don’t have to grieve the death of another disabled person and be an item reported in the local and social media, I think your Board has had enough bad publicity as of lately.

Mr Alok, the goal here is to save lives, precious lives, and I will be monitoring and reporting to the social media any gross violation of conduct by your officers and that is a promise. In Conclusion Mr Alok, here are some suggestions that you can champion as chairman of the Toronto Police Services Board, to recommend for immediate implementation to all the T.P.S divisions in the City of Toronto. 1.- An expansion of the mobile crisis intervention team, which currently operates in nine police divisions, partnering a registered psychiatric nurse with an officer. The team functions as a secondary response to certain situations when the risk of violence is diminished, it should also be available as a first-response unit. 2.- Studies had suggested that Police should aim at a leg or an arm when confronting a disturbed person but as reported last week , quoting Training Constable Michael S. “Police are not trained to aim for an arm, or leg, they are trained to aim for the torso. "Officers are trained to aim for, essentially, centre mass of the threat”. 3.- Before a new recruit is hire to become a Police Constable he/she must undergo several test to ensure that she/he is not going to aim her/his weapon on a innocent man/woman with mental illness, This rigorous test will ensure that once all necessary training has positive evaluated the officer then she/he qualifies to carry a weapon of service. Otherwise she /he are not to become a Police Constable and request their immediate resignation.

Mr Alok Please be aware, Torontonians deep feel that the T.P.S has declared an open season on the Mentally Ill in Toronto, I will monitor this issue with great interest in the months to come,

Sincerely Yours,

Miguel Avila Ward 28 220 Oak Street Resident

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