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Thunder Bay police board chair wants review of police services, board by outside party

“The function of the exercise would be to rebuild a bit of trust in the community," Georjann Morriseau, chair of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board said at Tuesday's meeting.
Thunder Bay Police Station
Thunder Bay Police headquarters in 2017 (Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com).

THUNDER BAY - The chair of the police services board wants a review of the police service and its board in hopes of identifying areas that require improvement and highlighting areas of opportunity.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, board members with the Thunder Bay Police Services Board heard a deputation from Henry Wojak who called for the police service and the board to be reviewed by an outside third party in response to the police service seeking to increase their operational budget for 2021.

The 2021 proposed operating budget for Thunder Bay Police Service is a total of $53 million. 92 per cent of the budget represents wages and fringe benefits for existing officers and civilian employees. The budget sees a 2.5 per cent increase, or $1.1 million more compared to 2020.

The proposed budget was approved by board members at Tuesday's meeting but will need to go to before city council to determine budget allocation. 

The board’s chair Georjann Morriseau echoed Wojak’s comments during the meeting stating a review of the police service would hopefully make board decisions more transparent to the public.

“I agree the public needs to be more informed and engaged in the operations of the services,” Morriseau said, adding the review should be for both the police service and the board to show the public how costs, cuts and the reallocation of funds are determined.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Morriseau explained how a comprehensive review of service deliveries could identify efficiencies and deficiencies within the board and service. 

“I think something like this will be able to help identify areas that require improvement or challenges but also areas of opportunity,” she said. 

Morriseau also explained how a review would also work to hold the board and police service accountable.

“The function of the exercise would be to rebuild a bit of trust in the community,” she said. 

Morriseau said she plans to continue to discuss a third party review with the board to draft a motion in order to conduct a review of services by a qualified third party.

“It is a discussion that the board will have to weigh out the benefits and we will have to look at what the procurement process will look like and go from there sooner than later,” she said.

Morriseau stated she plans to bring the discussion up again at the next police services board meeting in November.



Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

About the Author: Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Karen Edwards reports on court and crime under the Local Journalism initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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