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Province appoints new Thunder Bay Police Services Board member

Karen Machado has held executive positions at the Thunder Bay Jail and Correctional Centre, and is a member of the Red Rock Indian band
Karen Machado will join the Thunder Bay Police Services Board as one of two provincially-appointed members. (Ian Kaufman, TBnewswatch)

THUNDER BAY — The former superintendent of the Thunder Bay Jail and Correctional Centre has been appointed to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board.

The Thunder Bay Police Services Board on Tuesday announced that the province has appointed Karen Machado to the board for a term of three years.

Machado fills one of the vacancies created by the resignations of Roydon Pelletier and Michael Power last year, days after the province appointed an administrator to oversee board operations.

"I am honoured to be appointed to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board and look forward to working in service to our community. I am confident my experiences will assist me in this endeavour," Machado said in a statement.

Machado is a member of the Red Rock Indian Band where she spent her early years, but has lived in Thunder Bay for 50 years.

She retired as superintendent of the correctional centre in 2020, after 34 years in the Ontario public service with the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of the Solicitor General.

Between 2012 and 2014, she served as superintendent of both the jail and the correctional centre.

A police board news release Tuesday stated that "throughout her career, Machado has advocated for and been involved in diversity and inclusion."

She co-chaired a systemic and anti-racism organizational change committee, and was appointed provincial co-chair of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services Indigenous Subcommittee of the Human Rights Project Charter.

"The board welcomes Karen Machado and knows that her expertise will aid in the board's responsibility of providing effective police services within Thunder Bay," board administrator Malcolm Mercer said in a statement.

In an interview, Machado pointed to her experience in organizing and leading organizational change, adding that she feels serving on the board is a good fit for the skills she acquired during her working career.

She also said that as an Indigenous person, she is aware of the challenges her people have faced, and she believes she can bring a perspective "from both lenses."

Machado said "I've read all the reports and I'm aware of the challenges. I have my own ideas on what should be priorities, but honestly until I get in there and learn and work with the board, and read and understand the issues more fully, it's not fair to give any sort of priorities. You need to go in there with an open mind and look at all the options."



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