THUNDER BAY — The Thunder Police Services Board received a progress report on the 44 recommendations handed out by the Office of the Independent Police Review during Tuesday’s board meeting.
Legal counsel for the Thunder Bay Police Service, Holly Walbourne, presented the second yearly report to the board on Tuesday, Jan. 19, and outlined the service’s progress on all 44 recommendations.
In December 2018, a 300-plus page report by the OIPRD detailed failings on the part of the Thunder Bay Police Service to address the policing needs of Indigenous people in the community.
One of the most significant recommendations in the report recommended the reinvestigation of nine sudden deaths involving indigenous people by a multi-discipline team. The OIPRD recommended the cases be reopened because the initial investigations lacked quality.
On Tuesday, Walbourne informed the board the re-investigations are still ongoing and further updates will come from the executive governance committee.
Other completed recommendations reported on Tuesday included the recommendation of the police force to make the wearing of name tags on the front of police uniforms mandatory for all officers. According to the report, as of August 2020, all name tags were ordered and are now considered a permanent part of an officer’s uniform.
After the presentation by Walbourne, board member Michael Power stated he would advocate for updates on the report to be reviewed at every board meeting rather than an annual review.
“We as a board own this report,” Power said, adding transferring the written report to a grid format where recommendations can be labelled as completed or not completed in terms of progress could also be beneficial to share with Indigenous leaders and communities to evaluate the police force's progress on the report.
"We can get into more significant conversation about what has been done as a result of implementation, what needs to be done and improve the level of understanding," he said.
Also on Tuesday, the board discussed the implementation of in-car and body-worn cameras. Police said in their report capital funding has been secured to actualize the project and the service will be announcing the rollout of the project by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Superintendent Dan Taddeo said providing the board with a solid timeline for the implementation of the program is difficult.
For the full progress report presented during Tuesday’s meeting go to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board website by clicking here.
Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source