“What we have here is a failure to communicate”


THUNDER BAY – A famous line in the movie Cool Hand Luke is “What we have here is a failure to communicate”. There have been two homicides in Thunder Bay over the past couple of weeks, along with several vicious assaults. Yet the Thunder Bay Police Service doesn’t appear to be listing those incidents on its new crime mapping feature.

A failure to communicate? The incidents have been reported to the public, but not listed on the statistical updates on the feature that the Thunder Bay Police Service states is an important part of keeping our community safer.

However they are not the first time that information has apparently been held back by the police. Business owners in the downtown Fort William core seeking information on a dead body discovered in their neighbourhood earlier this year were left guessing. No one in authority felt the need to share any information.

“The data provided for this on-line crime mapping service comes from our computer aided dispatch or C.A.D. While the data is raw, it provides a good snapshot into where incidents have been reported”.

The TBPS state, “Knowledge is power in the effort to keep safe”.

Yet that knowledge appears, increasingly not to be trusted to the public on the crime mapping feature. Keeping tabs on the reports on Crime Mapping will allow a contrast when the annual report from the TBPS is released, usually in the fall.

It is an area where the Police Services Board should be demanding answers from the Police Chief and his administration.

Right now, the failure of the Thunder Bay Police Administration to include serious crimes on the crime mapping feature could raise questions as to what else is happening and not being reported.

Missing persons reports? Assaults? Sexual Assaults? Knowledge is power. In Thunder Bay our City Council and Mayor have repeated shared with residents that we are moving into a knowledge based economy.

No one would ever expect the police to share information that would harm any ongoing investigations, or operations. However once a serious crime has occurred, that information should be shared with the public.

Perhaps the real problem is that Thunder Bay is stuck with a lame duck Chief of Police who is more interested in his outside duties than in public safety?

Those are hard words. The Chief of Police is a person whom all in our city should be able to respect. He has done the best job he is capable of doing. All of our police officers and administrations are doing the best they can under the current leadership.

However the fact is that we can do better.

During the civic election where crime and public safety are increasingly listed by residents as a major concern, the “failure to communicate” is only going to make it ever harder for incumbent Mayor Lynn Peterson to hold onto her seat at City Hall.

James Murray

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