Thunder Bay police chief 'pleased' with progress on meeting OIPRD Broken Trust report recommendations
Office of Independent Police Review Director 2018 report examined systemic racism against Indigenous community
The Thunder Bay Police Service presented a one-year update on its progress fulfilling the recommendations of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director's (OIPRD) 2018 Broken Trust report examining systemic racism, during the monthly meeting of the police service board Tuesday.
"We're very pleased," with the work done to date, said Sylvie Hauth, chief of the Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS).
"When you look through the report, throughout the 44 recommendations, in the first year we've at least touched on every single one. Some of them are at various stages, but we have, in year one, tackled some very, very big projects."
New death investigations, human trafficking unit
Some of those projects are: launching new investigations into nine deaths cases, testing body-worn cameras, expanding the Criminal Investigations Branch, revamping the Aboriginal Liaison Unit and moving to a new information-sharing system "which will change the face of how we operate as a service. Instead of being stand-alone, it will open up a transfer of information across the province which will be huge from an investigative standpoint."
The OIPRD report also recommended that Thunder Bay police establish a unit to investigate human trafficking cases, which has now been created.
Ontario government funding will cover the cost of the two part-time positions, which ensures an investigator is available during the day or night. Officers currently working with the domestic violence unit have been reassigned to take on those extra duties, said Hauth.
"Those new positions come as a result of the grant which gives us the ability to ensure those officers have the skillset, the proper courses and that they have the resources in place to continue the work that we do, not only with the Family Liaison Unit but many other organizations such as ONWA [Ontario Native Womens Association] for example."
'Budget asks' required
But Hauth pointed out the financial challenge of meeting all the recommendations, noting the balancing act of finding the money to implement new programs or supplement existing one, while also paying for the everyday costs of running a police service.
"As you know, last year there were budget asks with respect to the OIPRD recommendations and there are some again this year in the 2020 budget, I can tell you that one area that will need to be looked at still is the whole training component for our members."
Hauth said another progress would be coming later this year.