Overview of the October Police Services Board Meeting

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Police

Thunder Bay – NEWS – The Thunder Bay Police Services Board (TBPSB) convened for its regular session this morning. Following is a summary of notable items:

Strategic Plan

The Board unanimously accepted its 2021-2023 Strategic Plan, entitled Many Voices, One Vision: 2030, setting the foundation for a new way forward for policing in Thunder Bay.

Many Voices, One Vision: 2030 reinforces the importance of implementing the recommendations from both Senator Murray Sinclair’s report, as well as the OIPRD’s Broken Trust report, providing a framework for the Thunder Bay Police Service, the Board, and the community to build one vision for the future of policing, together.

“Over the last several months, we have been listening to the community, we have been listening to our uniform and civilian police members, and we have been engaging in thoughtful discussions between board members,” said Board Chair Kristen Oliver. “This plan represents our commitment to building trust, working together and effecting meaningful change for the future of policing in Thunder Bay.”

The plan outlines five strategic priorities: Crime & Safety, People, Community, Innovation, and Trust. Strategic goals include:

• A Healthy and Supported Workforce: We invest in our people by providing a safe and positive work environment, enabling them to better serve the community.

• Sustainable Community Policing: We understand our changing community, and deliver proactive and responsive police services to meet local needs.

• Restored Reputation and Relationships: We earn the trust and confidence of the people, communities and partners that we protect and serve.

• Build for Transformation: We acknowledge our current capacity and capabilities in the face of growing demands, and implement new approaches to build improved police services for the future.

Development of the plan relied heavily on community engagement, with input from more than 1,200 Thunder Bay and Oliver Paipoonge residents, more than 110 stakeholders, nearly 150 Service employees and more than 30 Board, management and police association representatives.

“We are grateful to every community member who shared their experiences, concerns, and hopes for the future. Every comment, criticism and conversation helped shape this plan,” Oliver states.

The Board will work closely with Chief Sylvie Hauth to implement the plan in the coming days, weeks, months, and years.

TBPS 2020 Annual Report

The Board was presented with an overview of the Service’s 2020 Annual Report.

Highlights from 2020 include: the unveiling of the new Community Oriented Response (COR) Unit; operational adjustments due to the pandemic; the Service’s two largest fentanyl seizures on record; the second annual tree lighting ceremony for the Tree of Hope Project, a campaign that promotes awareness about issues of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls; and a partnership between the Service, PetSmart and Dilico Anishinabek Family Care to distribute toys to children during the holiday season.

According to the annual report, there was a continued prevalence in 2020 of people moving to Thunder Bay from other parts of the province for the purpose of drug trafficking. The street value of cocaine and crack cocaine seized during the year was estimated at more than $1.3 million, while the estimated value of fentanyl seized was nearly $3.3 million. Officers also noticed an increase of guns linked to drug trafficking, and responded to an increased number of drug overdoses. Of the 164 overdoses that police responded to, 59 were fatal.

The pandemic had a dramatic impact on the Service’s call volume, as officers dealt with 50,808 calls for service, down from the previous year.

The full report will be posted today on the Service and Board websites.

Other Matters

• The Board received the Service’s 2022 Capital Budget from Chief Hauth, which includes $56 million for the construction of a new police headquarters.

• Dates for 2022 Board meetings have been scheduled for the third Tuesday of each month. Until further notice, meetings will continue to happen virtually.

• Det. Insp. John Fennell provided an overview of the Service’s response to The Honourable Gloria J. Epstein’s report, Missing and Missed, which was commissioned by the Toronto Police Services Board to examine missing persons investigations in Toronto.

According to Det. Insp. Fennell, the Service has extensively reviewed its Major Case and Major Crime policy, as well as its Missing Persons policy to ensure they are compliant with the recommendations in the report.