Expert Panel Proposes Bold Actions for Transformative Change in Thunder Bay Police Service

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Building Trust Through Bold Action: Independent Expert Panel Delivers Final Report to Thunder Bay Police Services Board

THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Thunder Bay Police Services Board receives Final Report Building Trust Through Bold Action: Roadmap For Real Change, from the Independent Expert Panel, ahead of the appointment of Administrator Malcolm Mercer and Interim Chief Dan Taddeo.

The report contains several proposals for action, including Human Rights, Anti-Racism, Indigenous, Equity, and Inclusion; Trauma-Informed Approach; Regional, Collaborative Model of Policing; Partnership Approach to Community Safety; Board Governance and Service Delivery; Labour Relations; Police Leadership; Forensic Pathology Services; Independent Monitoring and Accountability.

The report acknowledges progress being made by both Administrator Malcolm Mercer and Acting Chief of Police Dan Taddeo in addressing some of the significant issues facing both the Service and the Board, while stressing the importance of accelerating that momentum for meaningful change.

The Panel took a whole-of-system approach to its mandate, addressing the concerns raised by First Nations leaders, Indigenous peoples, members of the Service (past and present), members of the Board (past and present), community service providers, and other concerned stakeholders.

Chair Alok Mukherjee said, “We listened carefully and respectfully. What we heard shaped the action proposals in our report, and provided a roadmap for transformational change. We believe that, with a new Board, guided by an Administrator, and the incoming new Chief of Police, there is an opportunity to move forward with fundamental change quickly, in keeping with the expectations of those we spoke to. Our proposals for action are designed to assist the Board to move to a new way of doing business, one that is consultative, grounded in good governance principles, and focused on building community connections.”

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Anna Betty Achneepineskum has released the following statement regarding the Independent Expert Panel’s Final Report to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board: “This report shows how this Service’s leadership continues to refuse to accept responsibility for its failures and shows no signs of changing.

“Inadequate investigations, mishandling of cases, and failure to address urgent issues are not a result of being under-funded, they are a result of failure of leadership.

“More than 550 recommendations have been made since 1993 to correct the glaring faults of this Service. Very little work has been done to implement them, and those in authority must be held accountable.

“The path forward for real change must begin with remorse and acceptance of responsibility. It is essential that TBPS senior management and the Board recognize the Expert Panel’s warning that they can no longer continue with the status quo.

“Ignoring the need to take responsibility and continuing to pass blame onto other entities, like the provincial and federal governments, will not bring progress. I agree that funding is an underlying issue, but it is not the cause of all of the challenges this Service is facing.

“Without leadership accepting responsibility, it is impossible to expect that serious issues such as systemic racism can even begin to be addressed.”

NAN engaged with the Expert Panel through public consultations and submitted several recommendations on the action required to improve the governance and delivery of policing in Thunder Bay”.

The report will be referred to the Board’s Governance Committee, where it will be reviewed and utilized to set next steps and future priorities. Members of the public can download a copy of the report on the Thunder Bay Police Services Board website.

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