Hey everyone! My name is Veronica, and I am a Special Constable here at the University of Toronto. We are available on campus 24/7, 365 days a year, to ensure the safety and protection of students, staff, faculty, and our community members. Ask me anything!


***I am unable to answer questions that are unrelated to my role or that could compromise privacy and confidentiality***

Comments: 223 • Responses: 43  • Date: 

processedmeat69 karma

I noticed you used both sides of the same sheet of paper. Was that done due to budget constraints or environmental concerns?

InappropriateTA23 karma

They had the subreddit referenced incorrectly. They wrote r/AskMeAnything, which isn’t a subreddit.

uoftsafety55 karma

The decision to use both sides of the same sheet was because I had thought a subreddit r/AskMeAnything had existed, and quite frankly, I didn't feel like using a separate sheet was necessary. So to conclude, I kept environmental concerns in mind. Thanks for your question.

InappropriateTA15 karma

You actually responded to me rather than the guy who asked the question. I just guessed the reason you stated.

DeeperMadness17 karma

OP is definitely a cop...

uoftsafety14 karma

Well, a Special Constable. 😜

Bobsareawesome28 karma

What makes you so "special"?

uoftsafety26 karma

I'd say what makes Special Constables "special" is that our duties are specific only to University owned and operated property.

krudru12 karma

No...he didn't ask what makes "Special Constables" special, he asked:

What makes "YOU" special?

uoftsafety52 karma

My commitment to building positive relationships with my community! πŸ˜„

Technojerk363 karma

Does that mean you are employed by the University in the capacity of a police officer rather than being employed by a city police force and seconded to the university?

Do you have all the same powers of use of force and detainment as a regular police officer does?

uoftsafety13 karma

Yes, we are employed by the University itself. We are trained in use of force, however we do not have the same use of force options as police officers.

uoftsafety16 karma

Also - in Canada, we have investigative detention - which is the same for us as a regular police officer.

johnnymetoo0 karma

And as a European: why is there a constable or a special enforcement service necessary at a university; what do you do what the normal police couldn't handle? Are the students in your country so violent or lawless that you need a special force to control them within the university premises?

toothbrush_wizard8 karma

Some students appreciate having a dedicated officer there when getting home from class at night if anything happens. U of T is in Toronto Canada, which is a city with around ~3M people living in it so incidents are bound to occur.

uoftsafety6 karma

Yes! We offer a service called TravelSafer - available through calling our dispatch office or our Campus Safety app. At any time on campus, a student/staff/faculty member can request an escorted walk with an officer to and from anywhere on campus or nearby transit stations. Thank you for engaging! πŸ˜„

dongbeinanren7 karma

It's a matter of allocation of financial resources. In much of Canada, policing is a municipal matter, but public universities do not pay municipal taxes, so the larger ones employ their own police service.

Are the students in your country so violent or lawless that you need a special force to control them within the university premises?

Why are European redditors so often arrogant, condescending cunts? Europe has good things. So does Canada. But to hear you guys talk about...Literally anything on Reddit...You describe Canada as a violent, dangerous hell hole where everyone is tortured by a constant fear that murder lies around the next corner. Get a grip.

LeDudeDeMontreal3 karma

I'm living in Montreal and the idea of a University police does sound completely ridiculous.

A police force that enforces "University bylaw" as per OP's comment. What the hell.

uoftsafety4 karma

Every SPC has the ability to exercise discretion in their duties. Yes, we do have the ability to enforce university by-laws when necessary, it does not always mean that it is our primary approach. I think it's important to work collaboratively with the university community to promote awareness and compliance of these by-laws. At the end of the day, we are here to ensure the safety of everyone while supporting the community we serve. Thank you for engaging! πŸ˜„

uoftsafety3 karma

Having a law enforcement service available on the university campus allows to alleviate calls for service for municipal police, allowing them to focus on other priority calls within the city. There is nothing we do that municipal police cannot do....In fact, they have more authority and use of force options. I'd also like to point out that our university community is not characterized by aggression or violence among the student population. Our role as SPC's and the Campus Safety department is to protect and ensure the safety of students, staff and faculty members. We are not here to hinder anyone's university experience, but rather help and support them the best we can. Thanks for your question! πŸ˜„

Zkenny1320 karma

How much authority do you actually hold on campus? In the US they are basically full police officers as far as I know.

uoftsafety50 karma

On University owned and operated property, Special Constables have police authority and are able to enforce the Criminal Code, Drugs and Controlled Substances Act, Provincial Offences, City of Toronto bylaws and University bylaws.

Mike_1121-5 karma

Drugs and Controlled Substances Act

Actually called the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

uoftsafety7 karma

Whoops - I'm still working on my coffee πŸ˜…

HiThisIsMichael20 karma

Are you taught any de escalation techniques as part of your training?

uoftsafety26 karma

Yes! Our officers get sent to various de-escalation training courses. Since de-escalation is a huge component of our role as SPC's, we need to make sure we can effectively manage & de-escalate intense situations. Thank you for your question!

splitcroof9218 karma

How do you feel about the fact that this is apparently necessary? Not a single university in my country has or needs anything like this.

uoftsafety44 karma

Good question. The location of the university being in a busy urban area, sometimes we encounter unique challenges - including interactions with non-community members. Our officers play an important role when addressing these concerns. Also.. having a Special Constable service also serves to alleviate the workload of city police officers. With a dedicated law enforcement team on campus, we can respond more promptly to campus-specific incidents, in turn freeing up city police resources for other areas. I personally believe that our service is crucial for maintaining the safety of our community. Thank you for your question!

cdomsy14 karma

Why is the main floor of Robarts and the new study area closed to the public? I was giving a family member a self guided tour and I was surprised to see it was closed. Was it a safety issue?

uoftsafety-2 karma

It is accessible for students only. Thank you for your question! πŸ˜„

ruinevil9 karma

Do you have your own jail, or do you hand perpetrators off to the city/county?

uoftsafety10 karma

Depending on the severity of the charge, we would bring them to our local Toronto police station. Thanks for your question!

yParticle7 karma

Am I being detained?

uoftsafety11 karma

Haha! πŸ˜† Don't worry, you aren't being held in investigative detention right now. We are here to ensure safety and foster a positive campus environment. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out. Just remember that we are here to help and not hinder your campus experience.

Speciou56 karma

How often do you catch students doing the hanky-panky on public grounds?

uoftsafety-33 karma

My goal here is to maintain a positive and respectful campus environment for everyone. Let's keep these conversations respectful and meaningful by not engaging/commenting on individuals' private activities. Thank you!

mywerkaccount5 karma

Your team or Western University Special Constables - who has to deal with more shit?

uoftsafety2 karma

I would say that every institution has it's own unique set of challenges, and personally I don't think it's a matter of one dealing with more "stuff" than the other. Special Constables, Police Officers, security guards, paramedics and firefighters all share the common commitment to provide a safe environment for their communities. Thank you for engaging!

PostsNDPStuff5 karma

Aren't we all special, in our own way?

uoftsafety5 karma


Severe_County_50413 karma

From your perspective, do you think students and the teaching staffs respect and appreciate your job?

uoftsafety4 karma

Yes, for the most part, I do feel respected in my role as a Special Constable. Our goal at the University is to build positive relationships and ensure the safety of our community. We are very fortunate to have the support of many within our community. Like any other profession, there are individuals who may have different experiences and perspectives. Not everyone may have a favorable view of our work, and that's understandable. Regardless, we all continue to remain committed to addressing concerns, fostering meaningful relationships and working collaboratively to create a safe campus for everyone. Thanks for your question!

sionnach3 karma

Why do you need police assigned a university? I went to university in England and if police were needed they’d be called. There was no need for permanent presence, and nobody needed to be β€œprotected”.

uoftsafety1 karma

For the safety of students, staff and faculty. We also help to alleviate calls for service for municipal police. Thank you for your interest!

doommaster3 karma

Is it normal for NA Universities to have their own "security"? And is it needed?

I have never seen something like that at my German uni...

uoftsafety1 karma

Yes, it is normal. Thank you for engaging!

AnticipateMe3 karma

You guys have Special Constables over there?

We do too in the UK! They're volunteers, same powers as regular officers, patrolling the streets, investigating crime. Only thing Specials can't do is move onto taser courses or any other "advanced role".

There is however, a progression system within the Specials, Special Sergeant, Special Inspector etc.

Same for you guys? Except yours is purely just the campus, right?

Are you legally allowed to attend an incident outside the campus? What's the niche on that?

What other "powers" can you carry outside of the property you 'govern'?

Edit: I noticed in one of your replies you said you don't have the same use of force as regular officers? Could you expand upon that?

  • What's the limitations on your use of force?
  • Are there are exceptions to those limitations if you have to breach them?
  • Do you get paid? (UK specials don't, all purely voluntary with a minimum of 16 hours a month)
  • Do you carry taser? Weapon? Baton?
  • How common are arrests?
  • Are you allowed to search people/property? (ext. Use of force question)
  • How differently are you treated by staff/students? Seeing as you're probably recognisable and so are other specials to regular officers. Do the students tend to give you more grief? How differently do you (in general the specials) treat situations Vs your regular counterpart?

Sorry for all of the questions, genuinely intrigued. If you get around to a few would be much appreciated! πŸ‘

uoftsafety4 karma

Thank you for showing such interest in my role! In Canada, Special Constables have a rank hierarchy as well. Specifically for our department, we have Special Constables, Corporals, Staff Sergeant's, Assistant Directors and a Director.

We focus on incidents that occur within the boundaries of our university. However, when an incident unfolds on campus that pertains to our property, we do then hold that authority to pursue the matter beyond the boundaries. If there are calls for service that might require action outside of our jurisdiction, particularly those concerning students/staff/faculty members, we can coordinate with the appropriate police service and support services.

For our department's Special Constables, our use of force options are limited to only a baton, which, in my years of being employed here, it has not been utilized. Our emphasis is strongly focused on de-escalation training, which we consider a critical tool for maintaining a positive and safe environment.

For your question pertaining to limitations of use of force - we adhere to guidelines set in the Criminal Code. This is no different from any other police service.

This role is a full-time paid position.

Yes, we are allowed to search if necessary. Our authority to conduct searches is provided by law in order to ensure personal and community safety.

Generally, we are all well respected within the university community. In my role as the Community Engagement Liaison officer, I have been recognized a few times on campus by students, which I find quite nice. I enjoy when people approach me to say hello. Those positive interactions is what makes me happy to come into work every day.

Thank you very much for your questions!

hayabusabjj2 karma

Any interest in patching over to TPS, OPP or RCMP?

uoftsafety3 karma

At this time it's not an interest of mine. Thanks for your question!

Keokuk372 karma

What do you do when you see an indoor vaper? What if it's an employee not student?

uoftsafety2 karma

In Ontario, we have a Smoke Free Act which prohibits people from smoking or vaping in enclosed workspaces. This Act also requires that all employees/employers ensure that their work environments remain smoke-free.

The University of Toronto also has a Smoke-Free policy in place and is a smoke-free campus.

Thanks for your question!

Dressed2Thr1ll2 karma

Are all β€œspecial” constables civilians that originally want to be cops? Like security guards?

uoftsafety1 karma

Not necessarily. While some SPC's might aspire to become municipal police officers as this role is a valuable stepping stone, others are content! This role is pretty neat & unique because it's like policing a mini-city (which is the university campus) and this is great exposure and experience for the officers who wish to eventually be municipal police officers. I think it varies from person to person. Thanks for your question!


How do you feel about your future with your current job?

uoftsafety-5 karma

I appreciate your interest in my role. My primary focus is on serving and engaging with our university community, and promoting a positive campus environment. I am extremely happy to be here, and committed to improving/adapting to meet the evolving needs of our campus and students. If you have specific questions about campus safety/officer responsibilities, feel free to ask!

0v3r_cl0ck3d2 karma

How did you end up getting into that line of work? Have you ever had to arrest a professor?

uoftsafety-3 karma

I graduated from a degree in Health and Geriatrics, while specializing in mental health/addictions and community engagement. I have always been passionate about serving others & making a difference in my community. I came across the job posting online, and I applied. It has been a fulfilling experience ever since.

Regarding your second question - I am here primarily to provide information about my role as an SPC and engage in discussions related to campus safety. Thank you for engaging!


Do you see yourself as a public servant?

uoftsafety1 karma

Yes I do, my role as a Special Constable is dedicated to serving and protecting our university community. Thank you for your question! πŸ˜„

Alienhaslanded1 karma

Are you considered cops or security? I see those "Special Constable" cars everywhere but they don't seem to interact with their surroundings even though OPP is printed on them as well.

uoftsafety3 karma

We aren't police officers or security. Special Constables have police authority on UofT owned and operated property only. Thanks for your question!

uoftsafety1 karma

We aren't police officers or security. Special Constables have police authority on UofT owned and operated property only. Thanks for your question!

uoftsafety1 karma

We aren't police officers or security. Special Constables have police authority on UofT owned and operated property only. Thanks for your question!

guppy2211 karma

I had one of you guys come help me unlock my dorm room a while back, when I was in grad school. This was 3AM so i felt quite bad. I offered the dude a diet coke but he declined. Are U of T special constables allowed to accept food/drinks?

uoftsafety2 karma

Please don't feel bad! Assisting with these kinds of situations is part of our job and why we are here to help 24/7. I don't believe that there is any specific policy on accepting food or drinks, and I would like to say that it varies from officer to officer. As a common practice, I think many of us choose to decline these offers out of professionalism, but we certainly do appreciate the offer! Thank you for your question!

Befuddled_Cultist1 karma

If you could redesign your uniform, how would you change it?

uoftsafety1 karma

Thats a good question. In the verification photo I posted, I am wearing our summer bicycle uniform which I really like. It's comfortable & you can easily identify who we are with the words "Special Constable" on the front and back. As for our fall uniform, we refer to it as our "blues". This uniform is dark blue pants and a short or long sleeve button up shirt. For our blues, one change I wouldn't mind is having an exterior vest instead of an interior one. I think it would be better for comfort, and also more visually appealing. Thanks for your question!

clnthoward1 karma

is this the kinda role you see yourself in for the rest of your career (with promotions and what not) or is this more of a stepping stone to something else? thanks for doing this!

uoftsafety2 karma

Awesome question. I genuinely love my job and the opportunity I have every day to make a difference in someone else's experience/interaction they have with us. I don't foresee any immediate changes in my career path, and I'm committed to my role. I have currently stepped into a new role here as the Community Engagement Liaison officer and I'm grateful for this opportunity.

However I am very passionate about professional (and personal) development and keeping doors open. If I were to explore other roles, I would want to remain in the same or related field, making a positive impact on the lives of others since thats where my passion stems from. Thank you for your question!

That_Intention_73741 karma

If you saw someone stealing someone's laptop from Robarts, what would you do / what are you allowed to do?

uoftsafety1 karma

In this case, we are able to investigate, arrest, and lay charges. We would also return the property. If you ever see this happening on campus, please do call us.

Thank you for your question!

RiseOfTheNorth4150 karma

Will you marry me, constable?

uoftsafety2 karma

I'm flattered....but I am already married to the job.

foffen0 karma

what makes you special?

uoftsafety3 karma

My commitment to engaging with the community & making a difference. Thank you for your question!

b_33-1 karma

How many chucks can a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck chuck chuck chuck?

uoftsafety3 karma

They would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck would if a woodchuck could chuck wood. 🀣

IamChantus-1 karma

Why won't the Maple Leafs win the cup in the upcoming season?

uoftsafety1 karma

Don't worry, you just got to be-leaf! πŸ˜†

AmputatedStumps-1 karma

Anyone ever tell u, that u resemble Raquel Rodriguez from the WWE?

uoftsafety3 karma

I've never heard this one before, but I'll accept the compliment! Thanks for engaging.

this_barb-5 karma

What's your opinion on Quebec?

uoftsafety-9 karma

What's your opinion on Quebec?

My job doesn't involve expressing personal opinions or taking sides on political matters, I am only here to address concerns related to campus safety and my role as a Special Constable. Thank you for engaging!