Thunder Bay police working to address systemic racism: police chief

Earlier this month, Thunder Bay police Chief Sylvie Hauth updated her police board on how she’s addressing institutional racism within the force.

Ontario’s police watchdog released a report in December 2018 that revealed systemic racism in the Thunder Bay police service.

Hauth said she’s taking a holistic approach.

“The recommendations actually point in various areas of the organization and I think throughout the process of us looking at recruitment, looking at training, looking at the reinvestigation, looking at how we do our investigations, I think that will help guide our next steps in addressing those barriers that exist.”

The report was released by Gerry McNeilly, former Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD).

It’s called Broken Trust: Indigenous People and the Thunder Bay Police Service.

It handed 44 recommendations to police and can be found in entirety here.

Two days after the OIPRD report’s release, another one came. This one came from Senator Murray Sinclair. It also called out systemic racism in the force.

However, the Thunder Bay Police Association (TBPA) has pushed backed against “the repeated accusations that our members are racist.”

Sylvana Capogreco, the new interim director at OIPRD, said while the association may have issues with the report’s findings, the recommendations can help officers.

“One of the complaints, I believe, the association had was that their officers are overworked and that there’s too much of this crime, in general, for them to be able to be effective. And so, with more officers and better training, I would [say] that the association should be somewhat happy with that.”

Hauth will update the police board on the OIPRD recommendations again in December.

Video Journalist / Thunder Bay

Willow is an Oji-Cree Anishinabe from Sandy Lake First Nation. Her background is in print journalism and she studied multimedia before entering broadcast news . She is passionate about the stories of the Anishinabe in northwestern Ontario, particularly in the remote north.