Thunder Bay Civic Election Candidate for Mayor Robert Szczepanski on Crime Issues

Robert Szczepanski

THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – Thunder Bay voters will elect a new Mayor on October 24, 2022. As part of our 2022 election coverage NetNewsLedger reached out to all of the candidates for Mayor with these questions on the issue of crime.

We received responses from Clinton Harris, Gary Mack, Robert Szczepanski, and Peng You. No response was received from Ken Boshcoff.

Here are the responses:

Question: Crime is increasingly seen by residents as one of the top problems. What will you do to make our community safer?

Crime is a symptom of a larger problem. The rising tide of crime in Thunder Bay has stemmed from outside gangs rushing in to meet the demand of our growing addiction crisis. There is no quick and easy fix. Anyone who claims we can pound our chest and scare away criminals is lying. Unless we address the causes that bring them here they will continue to take advantage of vulnerable people.
Our services for mental health and addiction are severely under funded. When people are turned away from receiving the help they need, many turn to self medicating with hard substances. Until we address the roots of our problems, we’ll continue to deal with the weeds.
Question:  As Mayor, what role do you see as far as the Police Services Board, and policing in Thunder Bay will be?
We need to stop the succession of scandals. Twice in four years the province has had to appoint an outside administrator to oversee the Police Services Board because of its inability to govern itself with integrity and accountability. It’s current role appears to have been to act as if they’re doing something to silence complaints and continue the status quo. Rather then real reform to address the systemic issues rampant in police leadership.
The rank and file on the front lines are being saddled with too many responsibilities beyond what one profession can reasonably handle. We need more diversity within our emergency response teams tailored to the emergency being responded too.
Question: With the current board under the provincial administrator, what steps will you take to make policing in Thunder Bay working for all citizens?
The last 3 people to hold the title of Thunder Bay’s police chief have ended their public lives in scandal; and received no more punishment then a little embarrassment and a cozy retirement.
We need accountability. We have no hope in restoring faith in our police until we actually see consequences for the backroom Boss Hog politics our police leadership keep getting caught up in.
We need metrics in which we can measure the progress for the problems identified by multiple reviews of our police force. Ones police leadership is held accountable for.
Question: Have you read the Broken Trust Report?
Yes. And it should be required reading for our officers. It’s embarassing as a city to learn through yet another scandal with senior officers that it hasn’t been.
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