Transit enforcement officers patrolling Toronto’s subways, streetcars and buses will soon regain arrest powers after almost three years of Toronto police taking the investigation role in serious incidents on the transit system.
In 2014, the TTC officers will become special constables, a status they enjoyed until February 2011. They won't have guns or Tasers, but will be armed with handcuffs, pepper spray and a baton.
As it stands right now, TTC officers must witness an offence to be able to respond. With this new agreement, they will be able to investigate and arrest a suspect on probable grounds.
Brad Ross with the TTC explains that concerns from police led the board to axe the original deal.
"There were some investigations that led officers off property, and so we have agreed with Toronto Police that that is not appropriate," he said. "So we agreed to limit [our officers] to TTC property alone."
The deal comes after months of negotiations between the police services board and the TTC. The agreement between Toronto Police and the TTC gives transit enforcement officers more power, though the police are still responsible to respond to serious incidents.
"It gives our officers more power — power to investigate, power of arrest and the ability to transport individuals particularly those under the mental health act who require treatment or see a doctor at hospital," said Ross, spokesperson for the TTC.
The province now has to sign off on the deal.
It will take about six months to do training and background checks before the TTC's 40 special constables will be back on the job.