Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Formation of police board signals new era

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Winnipeg is finally getting its police board.

City council will hold a special meeting Wednesday afternoon where it is expected to approve a bylaw creating the new board.

"This is a positive step forward," Coun. Scott Fielding, chairman of the civic protection and community services committee, said. "This will go a long way to creating openness and transparency into police oversight."

Councillors are under a deadline: The bylaw creating the board has to be passed by Dec. 1 or the city will be in violation of provincial legislation.

Fielding said city council is accepting applications for membership on the board until Dec. 10 and council will appoint its five members at its January 30 meeting.

Once appointed, the new board will be learning on the fly.

An administrative report released this week outlines the structure of the new board and its responsibilities, which include developing an annual strategic plan and presenting an operating and capital budget for the police service for council's consideration.

The Manitoba Police Commission will train board members. It's uncertain how the new board will be financed.

The administrative report recommends the city secure funding from the provincial government but Premier Greg Selinger said the city is on the hook for all costs associated with running the new board.

Fielding said he doesn't believe councillors will be threatened by the new board, adding it will be like other boards that make presentations to council.

"I think it's excellent," Fielding said. "I am looking forward to it."

The new police board missed its first big responsibility -- hiring a police chief. The new board will work with Devon Clunis, who was appointed chief in October for a five-year term.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

 

Just the facts

on new board's role

Responsibilities of Winnipeg's new police board

 

Hiring a police chief

Establishing priorities and objectives, in consultation with the police chief, for the Winnipeg Police Service

Directing and monitoring the performance of the police chief

 

What the police board will not do

 

Won't give orders to individual police officers.

Cannot dictate operational decisions or investigations

Has no say in collective bargaining with the police association

Who will be on the board

 

Maximum number of members is seven, including two appointments made by the provincial government.

City council appoints five members, including the chairman and vice-chairman.

Two members will be from council -- the mayor or his/her nominee and one other councillor -- and three members from the public.

City politicians will be appointed for one-year terms; public members for three-year terms.

No one can serve for more than eight consecutive years.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 27, 2012 A7

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