Thunder Bay Police Service Under Investigation by OIRPD

Police on scene at Balmoral for incident...
Police on scene

THUNDER BAY – NEWS – “Our meetings have provided valuable information and insight from a range of perspectives. I invite the residents of Thunder Bay to provide input that will add to our understanding and our ability to provide meaningful recommendations for improvement,” says Gerry McNeilly, Independent Police Review Director.

The OIPRD are going to hold a public meeting in Thunder Bay seeking input from the wider community as a part of their ongoing investigation into claims of racism in the Thunder Bay Police Service.

The examination is one of two current investigations, the other being a probe of the Police Services Board by Senator Murray Sinclair are unprecedented for the TBPS.

The investigators are looking to see if there is solid evidence backing up long-standing claims and allegations of systemic racism By the TBPS. As a part of their work, the OIRPD are re-examining thirty death investigations along with an additional nine cases of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls dating back a quarter of a century.

The Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) investigation by the OIRPD started last November.

So far in the investigation over one hundred individuals including Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens, police officers, organizations, Thunder Bay city councillors and others have been interviewed.

This investigation came about as a result of concerns raised by First Nations leadership over how the Thunder Bay Police Service was handling investigations into the deaths of Indigenous people in the city.

McNeilly says, “It is important for his team of investigators many who are retired police officers with experience in homicide cases to perform extensive reviews that compare how the Indigenous cases and non-Indigenous cases were conducted by the Thunder Bay police”.

Speaking with media McNeilly said “It is no secret there are some concerns with how the investigations are being carried out. I felt it was necessary for me to not just look at Indigenous death investigations but also look at others to ascertain how the TBPS is conducting these investigations. If there are problems with the investigations, I’d like to think that it is not with just one group of people.”

Public Meeting with OIRPD

Monday, September 25, 2017
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Da Vinci Centre, Marco Polo Room
340 Waterloo Street South, Thunder Bay


The OIPRD’s review of the Thunder Bay Police Service is examining the following:

  • Existing policies, practices and attitudes of the Thunder Bay Police Service as they relate specifically to Indigenous missing persons and death investigations, and more generally, to issues around racism-free policing, such as “over-policing” and “under-policing”
  • Whether missing persons and death investigations involving Indigenous Peoples are conducted in discriminatory ways
  • The adequacy and effectiveness of existing policies and identified best practices relating to the above issues
  • The adequacy of training and education provided to supervisors and front-line officers relating to the above issues
  • The extent to which compliance with existing policies or identified best practices is monitored and supported
  • The extent to which officers are held accountable for non-compliance
  • The extent to which the service communicates with Indigenous family members, communities and their leaders, engages in community outreach or has specialized liaison units
  • The extent to which complaints about the service’s interactions with Indigenous Peoples are inhibited by reprisals or fear of reprisals
  • Whether policies, practices, training, education, oversight and accountability mechanisms, and community outreach should be created, modified or enhanced to prevent discriminatory and ineffective policing, particularly in the context of investigations into the disappearances and deaths of Indigenous Peoples

The systemic review will also be informed by the findings and recommendations of the coroner’s jury arising out of the deaths of seven Indigenous youths, Thunder Bay Police Service investigations of Indigenous deaths, investigations of officer misconduct and OIPRD complaints.

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