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Welcome to this another exciting episode of Beyond the Headlines! On this episode will be discussing the policy responses to address the increase in gun-related violence.

As strategies to combat gun violence have been a focal point within all levels of government, various stakeholders have proposed solutions that target the policing and sociological issues that contribute to gun crime.

At the municipal level, councilors and residents have been calling upon Mayor John Tory for renewed funding for after-school programming for youth in at-risk communities. The funding would be dedicated to providing public youth spaces where participants can access recreational activities, community services (e.g. resume and cover letter workshops, mock interviews), be exposed to and learn from positive role models and even assistance in preparing to write GED tests.

Others are have asked for additional funding for Toronto Police Services to cover the expense of deploying additional officers in high risk areas, purchasing gunshot noise detection technology (aka ShotSpotter), or expanding the community policing initiative.

At the provincial level, Ford’s government has invested an additional $25 million “to fight guns and gangs.” Part of this investment includes $7.6 million in assigning one legal SWAT team per courthouse in order to “ensure violence criminal are denied bail and remain behind bars.” Attorney General Caroline Mulroney  claims that “these new resources will keep the worst offenders off the streets and keep our neighbourhoods safe” and former Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Michael Tibollo was proud to partner with police officers to crack down on crime in order to restore public safety.

Most recently, the federal government announced a $51.5 million investment into CBSA for an all-weather dog detector training facility, an expansion of  X-ray technology in postal and air cargo centers and additional training for the detection of concealed goods in vehicles crossing the border. In short, funding dedicated to front-line law enforcement personnel to help prevent illegal firearms from entering the country.  

With the assistance of our guests, we are going to dive head first into this issue and the examine whether the proposed policy responses will address the nuances and intricacies of gun violence.

Joe Couto is the Director of Government Relations and Communications at the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP). He has previously worked as a Senior Consultant with Enterprise Canada Consultants Inc., where he developed a thorough expertise in a number of public policy areas including municipal affairs, housing, energy, and taxation and fiscal policies. He is the author of Lobbying vs. Advocacy: Police Leaders as Advocates for Their Police Services and Their Communities (2012), Covered in Blue: Police Culture and LGBT Police Officers in the Province of Ontario (2014), and Gay. Female. Cop. The Intersectionality of Gender and Sexual Orientation in Police Culture (2018).

Doug Thomson is a professor at Humber College and has over 25 years of lecturing experience in four different countries and many academic institutions, including the University of Toronto.  With a doctorate in philosophy from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa in homicide, his academic work also includes research on interpersonal violence,  genocide, community policing, and improving student’s learning and their social capital.

Credits
Robert Giannetta,
Host, Junior Producer
Aryeh Ansel,
Technical Producer
Nuri Kim,
Executive Producer

Music Credits
Not Dead by Fine Times
Maybe I’m Afraid by Lovelytheband
Pressure by Muse