After six weeks of training the 42 new Parking Enforcement Officers (PEOs) are prepared to keep the city moving.
New PEO Heather Tracey had high praise for the training staff.
“This is probably the most extensive training I have received for a new skill I have learned,” she said. “It is quite clear the trainers want to teach people and they have a passion for helping others grow.”
They were in training for six weeks covering many subjects, including writing handwritten and electronic hand-held tickets, towing, private property, fire routes, accessible parking, considerations and by-laws.
In addition, they received training in crisis communications, defensive tactics, tactical communication, powers of arrest, occupational health & safety and ethics training at the police college.
In addition to issuing tags, Parking Enforcement Officers help recover stolen vehicles, provide language interpretation, emergency support, crime management and assist with corporate and local community-policing initiatives.
Acting Deputy Chief Lauren Pogue told the graduates that parking enforcement is only a part of their critical and important role.
She said they are contributing to the vital service that the Service provides to the people of Toronto.
“The operational support you provide to the Toronto Police Service is invaluable,” said Pogue. “You are a highly visible, uniformed presence in our communities and you ensure public safety by fostering crime prevention. Your job is physically demanding. The work you do to keep Toronto moving means you move with it, whether that is by foot, bicycle, motorcycle or car.
The senior officer reminded the graduates that they will become intimately familiar with the streets of Toronto.
“As you cover Toronto’s 158 neighbourhoods, every day you will make judgment calls drawing from your training and knowledge of municipal by-laws in order to keep the city’s roads and people safe,” added Pogue. “You will help cyclists, pedestrians and people with disabilities go about their days safely. The service you provide protects the people of Toronto by enforcing parking restrictions during rush hour, no parking in bicycle lanes, or the proper use of accessibility tags.
“Each function supports our Service in building and maintaining trust with the communities that we serve. I know you will be guided by integrity and self-responsibility and that you will treat people with respect, equity and professionalism.”
Positive interactions with Toronto Police officers motivated Amandeep Amandeep to join Canada’s largest municipal police service.
Shortly after moving from India in 2018, he and a few other students had an issue with their landlord withholding a deposit and police officers responded to a call to intervene.
“They were very professional in helping to fix the issue. Since that time, I have had a lot of respect for officers in this city,” said Amandeep, of why he was interested in pursuing a career with the Toronto Police Service.
The part-time computer programming student received the highest academic mark in his PEO class at 99.3%, had high praise also for the training officers Lori Young, Pamela Carswell, Glen Germaine, Joanne Catania and Kim Nearing.
“They were very patient and made us feel confident to ask questions,” he noted. “That helped us a lot.”
City Councillor Frances Nunziata said the Toronto Police Services Board, of which she is vice-chair, recognizes the hugely important role that PEOs play in the city.
“Tasked with the responsibility for the safe and orderly flow of traffic in Toronto, you maintain road safety by monitoring and enforcing parking laws on our streets,” she said. “You also play a critical role in helping Torontonians live, work and play on a daily basis, ensuring that parking spaces are used appropriately and for proper purposes. We are lucky to have each one of you for your talents, your skills and your insights. You truly bring the community into the Service.”
Hui Chung Fong was the valedictorian.
With the new additions, Parking Enforcement now has over 300 members, making it one of the largest units in the Toronto Police Service.