Thunder Bay Police Services Board Responds to Police Association Letter

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Thunder Bay Police Unit

Thunder Bay – NEWS – On the weekend, Colin Woods the president of the Thunder Bay Police Association wrote a letter to local media. In that letter Woods expressed that frontline police officers do not feel they are getting the support and tools they need to do their jobs.

Kristen Oliver is the Chair of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board. Oliver has released this respond to the Thunder Bay Police Association Letter:

Dear Mr. Woods,

I am writing in response to the online editorial entitled “Op-Ed: Police Association membership overwhelmingly unhappy with TBPS management” that was distributed on October 30, 2021.

We would like to thank the Thunder Bay Police Association for sharing the concerns conveyed in their survey.

As you know, when you and the Association met with the Board in May of this year, we took your concerns very seriously.

In fact, this meeting was the catalyst in ensuring the Association’s voice was prominent and included in our new Strategic Plan, Many Voices, One Vision, 2030, which was released on October 19, 2021.

As a Board, we want to ensure that we are doing everything we can to make our community safe and supporting our workforce.

We will make certain that our police officers have everything they need to do their jobs effectively. As referenced in our new strategic plan, our vision is to be a progressive, trusted and ethical leader, and that Thunder Bay is among the safest and best-protected cities in Canada.

Collaboration and empowering our workforce are extremely important to us. One of our strategic goals is to have a healthy and supported workforce and to invest in people by providing a safe and positive work environment, and enable our workforce to better serve their community.

We are also working towards fostering a corporate culture of holistic health and wellness, which includes:
• Incorporating a leading-edge Health, Safety and Wellness strategy that focuses on physical, mental, emotional and cultural health.
• Providing our workforce with the necessary people, training, space and equipment to safely and effectively perform their duties.
• Working with our sworn and civilian members to immediately address their top concerns in the workplace.

We, as a Board, engaged in this planning process to continue to make Thunder Bay and Oliver Paipoonge safer communities. To support our workforce, the Police Association was an active participant in our strategic planning as they are integral in ensuring we collectively meet the policing needs of the communities we serve. We are committed to delivering on these goals. Providing effective and efficient policing is an evergreen process. COVID-19 has put additional strain on our service. Mental health, addictions and homelessness are very real in our communities.

We recognize that a police officer’s work is challenging, which is why we are committed to additional supports. Working with City Council, in particular the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, the City has been actively engaging and advocating for better services and resources to support people in crisis with addictions, deteriorating mental health and homelessness.

We recognize and are committed to engaging all levels of government to support the needs of our communities. The Thunder Bay Police Services Board is looking forward to continuing to work together with the Thunder Bay Police Association recognizing our many shared common goals. The members put their lives on the line every day to make our community as safe as possible. We would like to express our appreciation for all you do for our community and look forward to continuing to work together.

Sincerely Yours,

Kristen Oliver, Chair, Thunder Bay Police Services Board