November 19, 1998.
To:Strategic Policies and Priorities Committee
Re:Toronto Police Services Board - Update on Police Pursuits
The Budget Committee on November 18, 1998 reports having received as information
the communication (November 9, 1998) from Toronto Police Services Board regarding
the subject matter.
The Budget Committee on November 18, 1998, had before it a report (November 9, 1998)
from the Chairman, Toronto Police Services giving an update on police pursuits.
Item No. 32
c.Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer
Director of Budgets
Chief Administrative Officer
Chairman, Toronto Police Services Board
(Report dated November 9, 1998 addressed to the
Toronto Budget Committee from the
Chairman, Toronto Police Services Board)
It is recommended that this report be received for information.
Council Reference/Background History:
At its meeting on October 26, 1998, the Toronto Police Services Board was in receipt of the
following report SEPTEMBER 24, 1998 from David J. Boothby, Chief of Police:
RECOMMENDATION:THAT the Board receive this report.
At the May 21, 1998 meeting, the Board approved five motions, regarding the Service's
internal policy and the Provincial guidelines governing police pursuits. Motion 3 requested a
further report, detailing the progress of Motions 1 and 2, be provided for the July meeting
(Board Minute 252/98 refers).
An interim report was provided for the July meeting, and the Board deferred the final report
until October (Board Minute 306/98 refers).
Motions 1 and 2 are summarised as:
1.information on the methodology and alternative technologies available throughout Asia,
Europe and North America regarding response to emergency calls, and pursuits
2.an analysis of statistical information for pursuit events in Toronto
3.the feasibility of establishing an internal committee to review pursuit situations
SERVICE ABILITY TO RESPOND TO EMERGENCY CALLS
Requests for information concerning response to emergency calls were forwarded globally to
the: New South Wales Police Service, Singapore Police Force, Hong Kong Police Service,
Guardia Civil, The German Federal Criminal Police. Within Canada, the Montreal Urban
Police Service, Calgary Police Force and the Edmonton Police Service were similarly
contacted for policy. In the United States, the Dallas City Police along with the New York
City Police were contacted.
In addition to the correspondence, articles on pursuit policy were retrieved via the Internet
from the New Zealand Police, the Portland Police Bureau and the Virginia Beach Police.
The return communication from the law enforcement agencies, and the articles reviewed did
not provide any answers in terms of methodology or technology, except those presented in
conjunction with the use of helicopters.
In the early '90s, the Service did study an alternative method for responding to emergency
calls: the concept of response codes. The basic premise was to assign police vehicles a
particular role in attending the various calls. (i.e. Unit 4444 respond Code 3 - which meant
with emergency lights and siren activated).
This method proved too cumbersome. In order to distinguish the appropriate coded response,
there was a delay while the information was analyzed, and further hampered by locating the
closest unit to the incident.
In the Beyond 2000 Final Report, recommendation 11, stipulates a standard response time be
established from the time a call is received, until officers arrive on scene. The categories of
"persons at risk" and "crimes in progress" are both listed as: "six minutes (to be achieved in no
less than 80% of responses)". Any delay, such as coding the calls at the outset, would have a
negative impact on the response time and the concept was abandoned for this reason.
ALTERNATIVE METHODS OR TECHNOLOGIES FOR PURSUITS
The same agencies listed above were also canvassed for policies surrounding pursuits. Only
one police service of those responding presented an alternative operational method for
terminating a pursuit. In Hong Kong, police units are mobilized to create a total interdiction of
traffic flow. The resulting traffic jam or "tail back" allows officers to effect an arrest without
the vehicle creating a further hazard.
The large volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, coupled with the smaller road size in
Hong Kong, allows for this type of enforcement application. The traffic environment in the
City of Toronto would make this concept problematic and is dismissed as a viable alternative.
In terms of new technology available to police services, there are three (3) basic categories:
-tire deflating products
-electromagnetic pulse tools
Helicopters can be used to maintain observation of a suspect vehicle, and also warn ground
officers of potential hazards. Assistance by an air service will allow patrol vehicles to reduce
speed and pose less risk to the public and the police officer.
Tire deflating products are available in two (2) forms. A spike belt, which is designed to be
placed in the pathway of a vehicle while actively engaged in evading police. Proper
deployment of a spike belt requires police units to be positioned well ahead of a fleeing
vehicle, along the route being used and near a location where a vehicle avoiding capture can
manoeuvre around the spike belt, without endangering members of the public or police.
The myriad of route alternatives in this metropolis means that several police vehicles would
have to be dispatched to assist. This operational necessity would produce several police
vehicles speeding to a location, and increase the hazard factor. Based upon this information,
the use of spike belts for the City of Toronto is not recommended.
The second type of tire deflating product is a pocket size item, with six spikes, designed to
prevent stationary vehicles from fleeing. The device is operated by placing the holder under
the wheel of the vehicle, while at rest. It has been suggested that these small tire deflating
tools may be used:
-by front line officers when conducting traffic investigations
-when a stolen vehicle is under observation
-while surveillance is being conducted on an individual or group, where a vehicle is involved.
Consideration has been given to purchasing sufficient numbers of these pocket tire deflators to
provide two (2) units in each police vehicle. Stored within the glove compartment, the articles
would be readily available to members when an operational demand arises.
Finally, there are also two (2) electromagnetic pulse devices which are available for use in
halting a pursuit. The first system is a flat rubberised pad containing internal rechargeable
batteries. Deployment of this device is similar to the format used for a spike belt, and thus is
not recommended for use by the Toronto Police Service.
The second form of electromagnetic pulse device uses a reaction engine powered projectile
(sled) to position the energy pulse generator under the suspect vehicle. This system is
presently in prototype development and no recommendation can be made with regard to this
Summary of technology
At present, there is no product available on the market, designed to halt a vehicle when in
motion that would be suitable for this Service.
With regard to stationary vehicles, the use, and perhaps the purchase, of a pocket sized spike
container will be explored further.
The statistical information for the years 1996, 1997 and 1998 is displayed in table format in
Appendix 'A' of this report. As requested, a category detailing the use of unmarked vehicles
has been included.
INTERNAL REVIEW COMMITTEE
As recommended, representatives of Communication Services, Training & Education,
Professional Standards and Traffic Services, in conjunction with Corporate Planning have met
to discuss the necessity of a Review Committee.
Over the course of the summer months, the members met on two occasions. In order to fully
appreciate the pursuit situation, the Committee concluded that an analysis of the pursuit
reports should be conducted, before further discussion was undertaken.
Sergeant John Knaap (local 8-7761) and Ms. Gloria Collins (local 8-7756) of Corporate
Planning will be in attendance to respond to questions from the Board members."
Sergeant John Knaap, Corporate Planning, was in attendance and discussed this report with
The Board expressed concern at the limited response to its request for comprehensive
information on alternatives to police pursuits.
The Board was also in receipt of a written submission OCTOBER 20, 1998 from Mike
Papadimos, Pegasus Consulting Co., with regard to alternative options to police pursuits.
The Board approved the following Motions:
1.THAT the Board receive the written submission from Mr. Papadimos;
2.THAT the Chief of Police provide the Board with a report on/including the following:
- the use of pocket-sized spike containers
- whether an internal review committee will be established
- a chart with comprehensive information on new methods and/or technologies currently
being used in major urban police services in North America, and include the rationale
which forms the basis for that use
3.THAT the Chief of Police review the Highway Traffic Act to determine whether additional
legislation (e.g. Criminal Code) is required to make it an offence not to stop for police and
that he provide comments following his review and any recommendations for legislative
changes, if appropriate, in the report noted in Motion #2;
4.THAT the Chief of Police provide the Board with annual reports containing statistics on
5.THAT the Chief of Police advise the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to lobby the
automotive industry to install "anti-theft" devices in all new model vehicles;
6.THAT the Chief of Police enter into discussions with the "insurance industry" and
recommend that it consider establishing a discount program for drivers who install "anti-theft"
devices in older model vehicles;
7.THAT the Board forward a recommendation to the Minister of Transportation to amend the
Highway Traffic Act to ensure that juvenile drivers who are involved in pursuits are
automatically prohibited from driving for a period of 3 - 5 years;
8.THAT the Board forward a recommendation to the Minister of Transportation to amend the
Highway Traffic Act to ensure that drivers who are involved in pursuits, and who willfully
attempt to elude the police, will automatically lose their driver's licenses for one year and be
required to pay a fine of $1000;
9.THAT the following Motion be forwarded to the Policy & Budget Subcommittee for
THAT the Chief of Police instruct all divisions to have their "scenes of crimes" officers
fingerprint every stolen car that is recovered; and
10.THAT this report be forwarded to the City of Toronto Budget Committee pursuant to their
September 23, 1998 request that the Board explore alternatives to high speed chases.
Contact Name and Telephone Number:
Sergeant John Knaap,.Corporate Planning Unit, telephone no. 808-7761.