Jamie Smith, tbnewswatch.com
Thunder Bay Police Service Deputy Chief Andy Hay
After nearly 20 years of being enforced by local police, taxi bylaws could be heading back to the city.
The Thunder Bay Police Service has administered licensing for taxis and limousines in the city since 1996. On Tuesday the police services board decided to ask city council to take the responsibility back as the tax bylaw doesn't fit within the function of a police force.
Deputy chief Andy Hay said cabs are part of a city's transportation plan, something police don't have expertise in.
City development services manager Mark Smith agrees.
While it's too early to say what the cost of taking taxis on might be, Smith said the city's licensing and enforcement division will likely need some help.
"Right now demands on the division exceed the resources they have," he said.
Smith will now prepare a report looking at the request, which will likely be recommended by administration.
Coun. Brian McKinnon, who also chaired a taxi committee for the police services board, said dealing with taxis isn't a good use of police time. He thinks the move will get support from city council.
The main issues to users, high costs and low availability, are still out there though. McKinnon said those aren't simple matters. They'll need to be discussed with owners over time.
Also Tuesday the board heard that use of force from officers in Thunder Bay was 110 in 2013, up from 97 in 2012. That number includes 30 incidences of pointing a firearm, 62 handguns drawn and 36 times a firearm was discharged, each time for an animal. Hay said the department doesn't have concerns about the slight rise in numbers.
That report doesn't state that one call could be responsible for several use of force reports, which might bump the numbers up.