On the first day back to school, Toronto police say they will no longer have uniformed officers help fill in as crossing guards.
The move comes as part of the Action Plan: The Way Forward which was approved in 2017 and recommends transitioning the School Crossing Guard Program to the city of Toronto’s transportation service’s division.
“As part of this transition, starting this school year, TPS will no longer be providing uniform police officers to backfill for a school crossing guard who is not able to come to work,” a statement sent out by police Tuesday morning said.
“TPS and the City of Toronto have worked together to develop an alternative to backfill absent school crossing guards.”
The statement said Neptune Security Services is taking over as a supporting backfill option for school crossing guards. It said the security guards will undergo the same screening process officers had too as well as the same training. They will also have to carry an identification card and wear a vest that clearly states they are a crossing guard.
In a press conference held Tuesday morning, Mayor John Tory said the move is to ensure officers can devote more time to police work.
“The police officers back filled when a crossing guard was ill or couldn’t make it to work and so we are now taking responsibility as the city as part of removing some of the burdens that police officers had to allow them to devote more of their time to police work,” he said.
“The children will be every bit as well protected as they always were,” he added.
The Action Plan: The Way Forward is a modernized policing model for the city that includes 32 recommendations accepted by the Toronto Police Services Board in February 2017.
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