05/29/2015

Remarks by: Gary McNamara, AMO President and Mayor, Town of Tecumseh Ontario Association of Police Services Boards (OAPSB) Conference Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre, Grand Ballroom 525 Bay Street, Toronto
Remarks by:
Gary McNamara, AMO President and
Mayor, Town of Tecumseh


Ontario Association of Police Services Boards (OAPSB) Conference
Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre, Grand Ballroom
525 Bay Street, Toronto

11:15 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.

“Future of Police Governance Stakeholder Perspectives” Panel, with Chief Paul Cook, OAPC
 
(Check Against Delivery)

 
 
Thank you very much for the invitation to speak with you today.  

On the first of May I gave a speech on policing issues at the Ontario Small Urban Municipalities Conference in Belleville.  It seems only fitting to have reached the end of the month and again to be speaking about policing issues.

I am no stranger to this gathering.  This is my fourth OAPSB conference in my time on the AMO Board and as AMO President. I am delighted to be here with you again.
When you consider the full range of services a municipality provides: from safe drinking water, to safe roads and bridges; from long-term care and child care; I’ve spend a great deal of time talking about policing in recent years.  Yet all municipal services play an important role in providing safe and healthy communities.    

Policing has the full attention of the Association I lead.  It is out of commitment and out of necessity.  Like members of the OAPSB, AMO members know that necessity is the mother of invention.

I could tell you Ontarians pay the highest policing costs in the country.  But you already know that.  I could tell you Ontarians also pay the highest property taxes in the country.  But you already know that too.

I think it is safe to say, for most, the fiscal problem is now well defined and well understood.  From the conversations I have with residents in my community, to the stories they read in the newspapers, I know the public gets it.  

A recent survey of nearly 600 Torontonians asked what they thought was the number one issue facing Toronto’s next Chief of Police.  The answer?

It was not crime.  

It was the cost of policing.  

I was pleased to see Toronto’s new Chief speak to that challenge when he was sworn in last week.

I strongly feel that now is the time for us to start talking about what the solutions might look like.  Late last month, AMO’s Policing Modernization Task Force released its report.  As one policing expert fittingly said, “Change requires direction and oversight from the political and civilian authorities to which police report.”

The report is about just that.  

The Task Force explored fundamental questions that every society should ask from time to time:

How do we want to be policed?  

How can we improve on what we do now?  

What can we in Ontario do to build a public safety model our children can afford?

I am pleased to say it was a project we undertook with members of the OAPSB.  

The Policing Modernization Task Force included your President, Ken East, Alok Mukerjee, Chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, Wendy Fedec, Executive Director with the Ottawa Police Services Board, and Dorothy McDonald the Director of the Halton Regional Police Services Board.   It included nine municipal elected officials with Police Service Board experience.

It is a foundation for the next stage of the conversation we need to have, as Police Service Board members, as elected officials of one order of government to the next.  
It is a conversation to have with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, police officers and their associations.

AMO fundamentally believes in the need to advance the agenda of reform.  The paper is designed to broaden the discussion and inject a change of pace in shaping the future.  

These ideas presented in the Task Force’s report are not set in stone; they are a starting point.  

The Task Force interviewed experts, reviewed the best academic research available, sent representatives to the 2015 Summit on the Economics of Policing and Community Safety in Ottawa, and had thorough and lengthy discussions on specific issues about the future of policing.  It draws heavily on the work of Goudge Report prepared by the Canadian Council of Academies.

Some might still quibble about the numbers.  Astonishingly, some still doubt a fiscal problem exists.  

But let me be clear, their quarrel should not be with AMO simply because our logo is on the cover.   

Those who doubt the research should speak with some of the nation’s top minds: Linda Duxbury, from Carleton University, Margaret Beare from Osgoode Hall, or Her Honour Elizabeth Dowdeswell, the Lieutenant Governor, who, in her previous capacity as the CEO of the Canadian Council of Academies, commissioned the report.  
 
The Task Force’s work was crafted to broaden the discussion about policing.  I think we are succeeding in that regard.  

Since its release less than a month ago, its being downloaded an average of a hundred times a day.  That doesn’t include the readership from your website, The Toronto Star, the Canadian Policing Research Network and others who have posted the paper on their websites.

 
Let me say the interest has been very high, the feedback we have received from many quarters, extremely positive.  I encourage you to read it if you haven’t already.  

The Report contains 34 recommendations centred on providing ideas and a vision for the future of how this critical public service can be delivered.  These recommendations are divided into four themes: partnership, productivity, performance, and personnel.

 
This process was driven by the undeniable need to ensure that all Ontario communities can afford policing, along with all the other public programs and services that keep people not only safe, but healthy.  
 
I’m not going to speak to all of the recommendations, but I would highlight those recommendations focused on the theme of partnership.  

A safe and secure community depends on multiple organizations and professions, not just the police. Security is built upon a broad safety and security web including private security, local health professionals, community groups, and municipal, provincial and federal government agencies.

It is the effective functioning of this web which will deliver better, more efficient and effective public safety outcomes, not just police.

 
When we talk about partnership, we include the importance of strengthening the existing civilian oversight system.  

We recommend ensuring governance board members are qualified against a set of competencies and mandatory training is provided.  Those who service on a Police Service Board are charged with a complicated task.  We need the right people to do it, they must have the tools and skills necessary to meet the challenge.

We recommend a province-wide OPP governance body responsible for policy direction and advice to the Province on collective bargaining.  Province-wide civilian governance of the OPP has been recommended in previous reviews. It should be reconsidered at this time. In other provinces, municipal representatives have been part of the provincial team negotiating service contracts with the RCMP.  At the very least, municipal input to provincial-led servicing contract and bargaining discussions could inform the Province’s negotiating positions.
We recommend encouraging the adoption of community safety planning for all municipalities consistent with local priorities, circumstances, and size. This includes locally adaptable models. In addition, such planning should include community safety and stakeholder structures which promote collaboration and cooperation.  My co-panelists is leading one such effort in North Bay.

We say “encourage” very deliberately.  A provincially mandated, one size fits all, regulated mobilization will stifle local ingenuity and cooperative efforts.  
 
For one thing, adopting the methods of one jurisdiction may be entirely inappropriate for another.  In addition, assigning a municipal council with the responsibility for implementation over agencies it does not control or with varying catchment areas may prove frustrating, if not problematic.

On the issue of performance measurement, we recommend publicly established goals, priorities, and measurement of outputs and outcomes.  
 
This includes much better public reporting of policing activities and organizational performance.  As Goudge notes of the policing sector, “there is a general lack of evaluation undertaken and made publicly available to determine whether police practices are effectively and efficiently meeting objectives.”

Just as we measure student achievement in the education system or the number hip operations performed in the healthcare system, so too should we measure the inputs, outputs, and outcomes of the police system.
Improved performance measurement offers the profession of policing internal accountability to improve performance, in addition to merits it offers civilian led governance.

There is one final recommendation I’ll mention.  

Governance structures should also account for the presence of private security. A measure of public oversight of private security, including special constables and civilians, should be developed.  
 
As public safety continues to evolve with the safety and security web’s broader participants, expanding the oversight system makes a great deal of sense.  As a matter of fact, it will become necessary.

There are many other recommendations in the report I could speak to.  But I’ve focused on those related to partnership very deliberately.  

 
The report itself is a product of the partnership that has evolved between AMO and the OAPSB.  And I can point to other areas where we have worked together to produce results.

It includes the work we both did on the collection of outstanding POA fines for example.  The OAPSB completed a thorough paper on the issue highlighting the $1 billion in unpaid fines a few years ago.  That paper captured a lot of attention.  
 
AMO followed that up by working with the provincial government over a long period on the specific reforms needed to collect unpaid fines.

I’m pleased to say a Bill is before the Legislature for the second time in as many years.  Bill 31 is currently at third reading.  We are very close to solving a problem that has plagued us for almost twenty years.  That is a product of partnership.

 
There is an African proverb that says – if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.  

If we focus on what divides us, we will accomplish little. If we focus on what unites us, we will go far.

Municipal governments and Boards have different responsibilities, I understand that.  I know there are tensions between Boards and Councils and Chiefs.  There should be.  
 
That’s part of a healthy system, one that shares responsibilities for the safety and security of our communities.  There are parts of that relationship and structure that should be improved, but also parts that, despite differences, work very well.  Let’s not lose sight of that.

But let’s be clear about one other thing, and I say this to my co-panelist Paul Cook from the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police; on the bigger issues, we need to face these issues together.  
 
They are not going away; the longer we wait, the bigger the challenge will be.  

If the OACP has better alternatives, by all means, let’s discuss them.  Ontarians would rather we talk about the future than argue about the past.

Three years ago today, this very day, I attended my first FPAC meeting.  May 29, 2012 was the inaugural meeting. Three years and yet we have nothing to show publicly for this effort.  
 
That’s one of the reasons why AMO has done this work – to show leadership by offering recommendations to advance the discussion needed.  

Let me close by saying this: We are a nation that includes the Mountie, the hockey player, the beaver, and maple leaf as something we identify with, that reflects us, that is a symbol of Canada.  

 
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police played a significant part in the development of Canada and remains a powerful part of our identity.  The same can be said of the Ontario Provincial Police and its history in northern and rural Ontario.  

On the whole, we consider police officers as key participants in our civil society, critical players who ensure the rule of law, and who uphold democratic values.  Police are woven into the fabric of our society.  
 
We hold in high esteem those men and women who take on the duty and role of a law enforcement officer.  

It is because municipal leaders care so passionately about our officers and police services across Ontario that we seek to improve the delivery of this critical public service.  Finding a solution is a shared responsibility involving police service boards, police leaders, and the policing community.  It includes the municipal, provincial and federal orders of government, and Ontarians.  

Equally, implementing a solution to our current situation rests with all of the above.

Thank you.