Reality check: All legal liabilities that may arise from the performance of an officer's duties are covered by the city. This provision has been in the collective agreement for more than 20 years. It covers officers, even those named in civil suits, "acting in good faith." What the policy does not cover are officers involved in gross dereliction of duty or deliberate abuse of power.
Reality check: The real ones with blinders on are police brass, who are failing to keep tabs on the actions of the rank and file. Only 12 per cent of all discipline matters actually proceed to a formal hearing, as compared to 33 per cent in other Ontario forces.
Reality check: Police hands aren't tied. The number of incidents in which police report using force has, in fact, been increasing significantly. The 1,842 reported in 2001 represent a 12 per cent jump over 2000 (1,639) and a disturbing 21 per cent more than the average over the previous five years.
Reality check: Should taxpayers be expected to subsidize the legal costs of police who abuse their power?
Reality check: The numbers tell a different story. In the more than 700 civil suits brought against cops in the last seven years, a measly seven officers have not had their legal costs covered.
Reality check: Funny. Union head Craig Bromell said nothing about this when he was touting the "around-the-clock legal protection" he won for members in his message announcing that he's seeking re-election.
Reality check: The board has in fact agreed to new language in the collective agreement that makes legal protection for cops an "overriding principle." The board has also approved a new procedure to review cases in which legal costs have been denied.
Reality check: The law is hardly coming down heavy on cops. The overwhelming majority of officers charged with serious offences are suspended with pay. Often, even those convicted of criminal offences are able to keep their jobs.