Tbnewswatch Local News
2014-03-18 at NOON

Complaints against city's police force down

Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com

Public complaints against the city's police force are down.

That's the news the Thunder Bay Police Service shared at force's Tuesday morning board meeting. 

In 2013, there were 29 official complaints filed. That's down drastically from the 51 complaints received two years ago.

Of those 29 complaints, 13 were deemed to require no further action, while nine were not accepted. Two complaints were withdrawn while another five are still being investigated.

Staff Sgt. Derek West said that any complaint that is sent through to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director is subject to a standard investigative process.

West added that the complaint review process begins with 45 days and must be completed before 120 days.

The most common complaint the force receives deals with accusations of unprofessional conduct by officers. For example, when a member of the public feels an officer was rude to them while assessing a traffic ticket.

“Incivility is probably the most common one,” Thunder Bay Police Service chief J.P. Levesque said.

“We try to curtail that through training and at times if we have to use discipline we’ll use discipline.”

The drop in reports from this past year compared to 2012 can be at least partially attributed to how a complaint is initially handled.

In the past, the shift’s watch commander would just supply paperwork to a concerned individual and tell them to send it to the OIPRD.

But now the watch commanders are encouraged to try to resolve the complaint immediately.

“We’ve trained our watch commanders to invite (the complainant) in and sit down and see what’s going on and in some cases if it just happened we’ve called the officer off the road to explain it to the individual,” Levesque said.

The force presented the fourth quarter variance report from the 2013 operational budget, which finished with a year-end variance of two per cent. Levesque primarily attributed the overrun to higher than anticipated overtime expenses and WSIB costs.

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