Police agency review comes to Windsor
By Ryan Blevins
The accountability of police officers in Ontario has been taken into question.
A meeting was held in Laurier Hall at the University of Windsor for the Independent Police Oversight Review. A crowd of about 50 Windsorites sat in small groups to discuss and make recommendations about police services. The agencies under question during the review included the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, the Ontario Civilian Police Commission and the Special Investigations Unit.
The IPOR has been travelling across the province to gather input from residents in different municipalities. Their journey began in early September and will be concluded in early December. According to their mission statement, the IPOR’s goals include enhancing the transparency and accountability of the agencies, ensuring police oversight bodies have clear mandates and reducing the overlap and inefficiencies between the agencies.
Tim Oh is a Windsor resident who attended and says he learned a lot during the meeting.
“I find it very interesting knowing there is a governing body that listens to the public,” said Oh.
According to the QMI Agency, the RCMP received around 13,000 formal public complaints from 2010-2014. Since then, a series of high-profile deaths of black men and women involving police have led to protests which call for changes to police agencies.
Heading the review panel was the Honourable Michael H. Tulloch. As a judge on the Ontario Court of Appeals, Tulloch was selected by the Ontario government in April to assemble a panel and travel the province to collect input to attempt to improve police services. His panel was made up of 12 members. Each member has a background which includes work with the Ontario Government.
Danielle Robitaille is the counsellor to the Independent Reviewer on this project and says she is not sure what will come of this effort, but it will take time to find out.
“It will be a political process to see if the government has the appetite to enact through legislative change the proposals that Justice Tulloch recommends,” said Robitaille. “As with all political processes, the public’s reaction will play a big part.”
The final report will be submitted to the Ontario Attorney General and made available to the public on March 31, 2017.