Canada Weekend’s Crime Reporting Shows Disconnect

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THUNDER BAY – Over the Canada Weekend, the Thunder Bay Police Service logged 75 incidents. Assaults, sexual assaults, break and enter, and property crime all kept the frontline police officers busy.

Police Administration on the other hand only reported that one of their officers has, as a result of a hearing, been demoted to a civilian job with the service. In addition, rather than sharing news of crime in the city, administration felt sharing internal news was all that was worth sharing.

It was also deemed crucial that reporting that another officer facing charges under the Police Services Act will have a hearing in October. This second incident reported to the public was regarding Sergeant James Mauro, who has been suspended with pay. The TBPS website reports “The hearing will take place October 4 to 10, 2010 at 1200 Balmoral Street in Thunder Bay”.

The facts are that hearing will be held on November 9th.

Out of the assaults, sexual assaults, thousands of dollars in property crime, and other crimes over the weekend, the decision to only issue statements on what really are internal matters is yet more proof that the TBPS administration appear increasingly out of touch with our community.

The internal issues of the police service should be a matter for the Chief and his officers at the first step.

With Sergeant Mauro it appears a long-term personality dispute is at the core of the continued conflicts that have been happening over the past several years.

A couple of years ago, Mauro was brought up on charges over a lapse in judgement where the officer made some telephone calls to the emergency centre on Christmas Day. Instead of dealing with the matter quickly he was suspended with pay and the matter resolved over a year later.

All of the facts in this latest matter are not all out yet, however suspending the long-serving officer with pay is in effect double punishing the taxpayers as much as anything else. Not only will taxpayers have to pay SSgt Mauro’s salary but also the costs of other officers working overtime to fill his duties.

It is likely that Chief Herman could have simply assigned Mauro to desk duty while the matter is being resolved. That would at the least save taxpayers some of the costs that will otherwise have to be paid.

The Police Services Board also made a determination recently that Thunder Bay’s taxi cab companies cannot charge the HST to their customers. This is a decision that likely will be overturned shortly; the Police Commission can’t overrule the provincial government.  The decision will hit individual cab drivers and companies. It is likely to hammer those companies and workers with an effective pay cut of about eight percent.

Why? The Police Services Board are telling the companies to absorb the eight per cent increase in the new harmonized sales tax.

It is possible that this decision will end up in court if it isn’t reversed. Once again costing Thunder Bay taxpayers yet more

The issue, perhaps demonstrates the degree of disconnect between the Police Services Board, Police Administration, and the public in Thunder Bay. It is likely an issue that will be a big part of the civic election campaign this fall.

To view the Crime Mapping site, go to www.crimemapping.com

That of course is just my opinion, as always, your mileage may vary.

James Murray


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