Transit Enforcement Unit
|Transit Enforcement Unit|
Logo of the Transit Enforcement Unit
|Formed||June 1, 1997 (as Special Constables)
February 1, 2011 (as Transit Enforcement Unit)
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
The Transit Enforcement Unit aka "Rainbow Squad" is the transit law enforcement division of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. They were known as the TTC Special Constable Services from June 1, 1997 until February 1, 2011. The service is responsible for safety and security and have been authorized as "Special Constables" by the Toronto Police Services Board with limited geographical jurisdiction and specified enforcement powers since of January 1, 2014.
The Transit Enforcement Officers work in uniforms and in plain clothes. The Transit Enforcement uniforms are identical to the Special Constable uniforms except they are badged "Transit Enforcement Unit" instead of "Special Constable Service".
The officers have been authorized to enforce the following, pursuant to an agreement with the Toronto Police Services Board:
- Criminal Code
- Trespass to Property Act of Ontario
- Liquor Licence Act
- Section 17 of the Mental Health Act of Ontario
- TTC By-Law 1
The Constables patrolled within Toronto and areas beyond Toronto served by the TTC. Before the creation of the TTC Special Constables, security on the TTC was limited to random patrols by Toronto police officers, and security guards employed by the TTC to provide in-house security relating to property offences.
The Transit Enforcement officers have four designations:
- Subway Patrol
- Mobile Patrol
- Fare Inspection
- Criminal Investigations.
The Mobile Patrol Division members were the visible presence on TTC vehicles while the Subway Patrol division members were the visible presence in the subway system. They wore uniforms distinct from the standard TTC or Toronto Police uniforms; consisting of a black jacket and powder blue shirt with a special constables crest on both shoulders and black cargo pants. They were armed with batons and OC Foam (pepper spray - in a less aerosol form to avoid contamination in confined places), body armour and carried portable radios.
Some officers patrolled the subway system on foot, while others drove in marked and/or unmarked vehicles responding to calls on surface routes and in the subway.
Cancellation of the Special Constable program
On June 18, 2009, the Toronto Police Services board voted unanimously to take control of the TTC Special Constables. Negotiations between the Toronto Police Service and the TTC on how to proceed took place for over a year before the Police Services Board decided to wind down the organization.
One of the main objections that led to this decision was the fact that constables are not armed, and any time there is a situation with a firearm involved, they are not equipped to respond and must wait for police. There were also concerns regarding the constables overstepping their jurisdiction when it came to criminal investigations, and a lack of civilian oversight.
In a newspaper interview, Alok Mukherjee, the Chair of the Police Services Board, was quoted as saying "We were creating more than one public police (force) paid by the public taxpayer, without the oversight, without the accountability, without the monitoring.... The core business of the TTC is to run the transit system and the core business of the Toronto Police Service is to provide policing. So I think it was a rational decision."
On October 21, 2010 the Toronto Police Services Board voted in favour of the cancellation of the Special Constable program effective February 1, 2011. At the same time the Board approved the expansion of the Toronto Police Transit Patrol Unit. It is expected that the existing Special Constables will become bylaw enforcement officers, tasked primarily with fare evasion and by-law offences.
Andy Byford, the CEO of the TTC, requested in October 2013 that the Toronto Police Services Board restore the Special Constable program in an effort to implement an independent complaints process and public awareness campaign.
According to the 2008 Annual Report to the Transit Commission, the Special Constables were involved in 1215 arrests, and laid approximately 450 charges during the calendar year ending December 31, 2008. During that period over 6000 occurrence reports were filed regarding incidents that did not involve arrests or charges.
Counterfeiting operations, 2006
The TTC Special Constables, working with the Peel Regional Police, broke up a Metropass counterfeiting shop in December 2006. Peel Police and TTC Special Constables executed a search warrant on December 20, 2006, in Peel Region.
In May 2006, high-quality forged Adult and Senior/Student Metropasses began circulating throughout the city. The forgeries could not be successfully swiped at turnstiles but they were almost indistinguishable from authentic Metropasses on visual verification. More than 120 people were charged with selling and using the forged Metropasses. The public was warned to only buy Metropasses from authorized sources but still the forged passes continued to circulate.
After the warning, TTC Special Constables continued to investigate, concentrating their efforts on dismantling the distribution network and tracking down the production facility. On December 20, 2006, the TTC obtained a search warrant for a residence in Mississauga. Peel Regional Police assisted with the execution of the search warrant, uncovering a significant credit card forgery lab that was also producing TTC Metropasses, Ontario Driver's Licences and Social Insurance Cards. One man was arrested at that time and has been charged with eight criminal offences so far.
Transit Fare Inspectors
The Transit Enforcement unit also employs approximately 20 fare enforcement officers (with plans on hiring 40 more officers in 2015), dubbed as Fare Inspectors, who are exclusive to conducting fare inspections and enforcing fares in TTC By-law #1 on designated proof-of-payment routes (either on board the vehicles, or at terminal/interchange stations). This unit was launched in August 2014, when the new Flexity low-floor streetcars entered service. The inspectors are dressed in grey and/or yellow uniforms, with a "Fare Inspector" banner on the back.
- Ford Taurus Police Interceptor with new graphics package.
- Ford Police Interceptor - Previously marked, however all have been converted to unmarked operation.
- Various unmarked vehicles for undercover and surveillance operations
- TTC Proposal on Special Constable
- TTC police regain arrest powers
- TPSB Meeting Minutes - December 12, 2013
- TTC Special Constable Services 2008 Annual Report (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. p. 17. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
- Lakey, Jack (2008-03-08). "Police to control TTC constables". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2008-09-14. Check date values in:
|year= / |date= mismatch(help)
- Kalinowski, Tess (October 21, 2010). "TTC constables overstepped authority, police board alleges". The Star. Toronto.
- The Star. Toronto http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/10/07/ttc_argues_for_return_of_special_constables.html. Missing or empty
- TTC Special Constable Services 2008 Annual Report (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. pp. 18–19. Retrieved 2009-09-14.