“We’re a needy, poor area,” Colle told Saunders at the meeting held at the Learning Enrichment Foundation in the Black Creek Road and Eglinton Avenue West area. “Many of us work with the marginalized and disadvantaged and we’re concerned about the possibility of losing this community safety hub.
In an interview with CBC News, Colle said that 12 Division is “a model police station so we’re flabbergasted. I don’t understand why they can’t see that community policing already works here. The police raise funds for poor groups, they organize coat drives, they work with parent councils and schools, and they have monthly meetings [at the station].”
He said advances in technology are shaping modern policing.
“The stations were the central hub for distribution of information,” Saunders said. “That’s not necessarily the case anymore. A physical building plays a role in policing but that footprint doesn’t need to be as big as it is.”
“With digital processing, I can have smaller desks, I don’t need a 60,000-square-foot building,” he said. “It allows me to put divisions in more smaller locations and still deliver policing that’s better than 30 years ago.”
Roshan Ahmed told the meeting she heard gunshots in her neighbourhood at around 9:45 p.m. Monday.
She pleaded with Saunders not to close 12 Division.
“Please don’t close our police station. We need it,” she said. “There’s a lot of crime in the neighbourhood.”
In an interview with CBC News, Ahmed said she’s “not scared, but concerned about 12 Division closing.”
“I think it’s a done deal and the community is speaking up,” she said. “Perhaps there’s a chance they won’t close it. I think the physical presence, it’s worth it for our community.”
“The poor in this neighbourhood are asking, ‘Why is it always us they go after?’ We just can’t take it anymore.”