Thunder Bay Police Association Response to OIPRD and OCPC Reports

Opinion

THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Police Association has issued a statement on the OIRPD report Broken Trust on the findings in Senator Murray Sinclair’s report for the Ontario Civilian Police Commission:

Thunder Bay Police Association (TBPA) response to the reports of OIPRID, Mr. Gerry McNeilly and Senator Murray Sinclair:

After careful review, the membership of TBPA is taking the above-said reports very seriously and understands the expressed concerns of the Indigenous community. That said, we feel that the OIPRD report does not highlight the hard work of the TBPA members that is done on a daily basis within the community of Thunder Bay, nor does it mention the high Solve Rate for violent crimes in the city. Senator Sinclair references in his final report that TBOS ranks significantly higher than the provincial and national average for solving homicides and violent crimes, while having substantially higher call rates for service than any other similar sized city in Ontario. Will we make mistakes? Of course, we are not perfect, and we accept the responsibility for those mistakes. What we do not accept is the repeated accusations that our members are ‘Racist’.

The TBPA is calling on the City of Thunder Bay, Members of Parliament MP Hajdu and MP Rusnak along with MPP Rickford to address the inadequate funding policies regarding the Thunder Bay Police Service. Senator Sinclair references in his final report that the TBPS is one of the lowest funded police services in the province. The current funding policy stands at 7.9% of the City’s total budget. Mr. McNeilly has made numerous recommendations that request “Urgent” attention for more funding and manpower.

The TBPA is also calling on the Chief Coroner of Ontario, Dirk Hyer, to release the findings of the review by the York Regional Police Service into the 2017 deaths of Josiah Begg and Tammy Keeash. This is referenced in Mr. McNeilly’s report and to date Mr. Hyer has refused to release his report.

Statistically Thunder Bay continues to be one of the top-ranked cities in the nation for violent crime and homicides year after year. Still, there continues to be inadequate support from all levels of government to address the high rates of addiction, mental health issues, the lack of available treatment centers and lack of support for the Indigenous community in our city.

It seems easier to direct blame toward the police than it is to be part of the solution. We are calling on Mr. Fiddler, and all other Indigenous leaders to work with the police, and the City of Thunder Bay to address the issues raised in these reports.

Thunder Bay Police Association