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Police launch online satisfaction survey

City police will collect data for its citizen satisfaction survey until Dec. 19.
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(stock photo)

THUNDER BAY -- The city's police force is counting on the public to provide feedback on their performance.

The Thunder Bay Police Service on Wednesday launched their third citizen satisfaction survey, which follows previous reviews conducted in 2014 and 2016.

"We need the feedback from the public," communications director Chris Adams said. "It helps to inform the service, certainly from a number of standpoints. It's a good gauge to see how effective we're being as far as working with the community, what their experience is when they come into contact with police."

The survey could also be useful for the new police services board when they prepare an updated business plan, Adams added.

The survey, which was developed by Lakehead University assistant professor Leisa Desmoulins, can be completed online and university researchers will be going door-to-door in select neighbourhoods to conduct surveys.

The launch of the survey comes during the same week that a video was posted on social media, depicting an officer allegedly slapping a restrained 17-year-old Indigenous teen during a physical interaction.

Adams said the survey was previously scheduled and had been planned to be launched prior to the end of the year.

"This had been planned in advance and we had a very specific window in which the survey had been conducted. As far as the effect of events that are occurring and the effects it might have on the survey, we're not really too concerned about that," Adams said. 

"The survey will speak for itself. It's being done in a very straight forward manner and having Lakehead University researchers involved in it gives us a lot of confidence."

Desmoulins, who has been involved in the police service's organizational change project, said this year's survey includes a new component focused on public trust in policing. Those questions include whether Thunder Bay police show professionalism, is an organization with integrity and honesty and whether people have confidence calling 911 if they are in an emergency situation.

"I think it's really important for people to be able to share their views about ways they support the police and ways they suggest changes to policing," Desmoulins said. "Getting those views out means they can then be shared with the police."

Desmoulins said the survey is meant to only be completed once per respondent and it isn't limited to people residing in Thunder Bay.

"We get a lot of people who are transient who come here for a number of months, for medical appointments, for school, for all kinds of reasons where they may not be permanently residing here but they are here and they do interact with our community," Desmoulins said. "We want to hear from all of those people."

The most recent online citizen satisfaction survey in 2016 had 1,800 responses, an amount that Adams expects could be higher this year. That 2016 survey found 60 per cent of respondents expressed overall satisfaction with the job police were doing, with another 30 per cent somewhat satisfied while 10 per cent were dissatisfied.

The survey is available for two weeks, closing on Dec. 19. Links are available on the Thunder Bay Police Service website and Facebook page.

The results are expected to be publicly available in either early 2019 or when police release their annual report.

Matt Vis

About the Author: Matt Vis

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Matt is honoured to tell the stories of his hometown.
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