THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – Councillor at Large Candidate Jim Mauro is calling for the hiring of retired officers to assist the Thunder Bay Police Service.
Mauro states, “The city is facing enormous pressure to meet the safety needs of the community. This simple initiative, would be a step in reducing the shortages that currently exist.”
As a former President of the Thunder Bay Police Association Mauro identified the need for more front-line resources.
Mauro states he also outlined the serious health challenges normally handled by police in the areas of drug use / mental health / and addiction as far back as 1997.
“Dealing with these social issues is obviously a priority but they will take a great deal of time to fix. Often police are utilized to deal with these issues because no other agency is available. We need to take whatever steps we can today, to improve public safety” Mauro continued. Mauro identified the guarding of prisoners at the hospital and the securing of crimes scenes as two areas where these retired officers could be utilized.
Mauro says that by using retired officers for these responsibilities, it will leave more officers free to respond to 911 calls and reduce overtime costs.
Mauro recognizes the Thunder Bay Police Association, the body that represents most of the employees with the police service, may have some concerns. But having negotiated police contracts in the province, Mauro believes these concerns can be easily alleviated.
“The City of Thunder Bay has a land area larger than Montreal and is normally patrolled by 13-15 officers with the minimum at 13,” adds Mauro. “It is not unusual for there to be four and sometimes six officers with prisoners at the hospital. This does not consider there could be an additional 2-3 officers tied up with a domestic, and additional officers with other serious investigations. We need to ensure officers are available for emergency calls and not have situations where only one or two cruisers are available for the entire city which happens too often. We also have high rates for opioid use and a high crime severity index, that impact the availability of officers to respond to 911 calls”.
Mauro believes that improving public safety must be a top priority for the new council and believes this is an easy first step in improving public safety.