Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Thursday, June 13, 2013 Chair

Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security Thursday, June 13, 2013 Chair
Standing Committee on Public Safety and
National Security
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Mr. Kevin Sorenson
Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
Thursday, June 13, 2013
● (0945)
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de
Fuca, NDP)): Good morning. This is meeting number 90 of the
Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, on
Thursday, June 13.
We're meeting pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) regarding a
study on the economics of policing.
We have our witnesses this morning via video conference.
From the Thunder Bay Police Service, we have Chief John Paul
Levesque. Good morning.
Chief John Paul Levesque (Chief of Police, Thunder Bay
Police Service): Good morning.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): From the Smart
Policing Initiative in University Park, Illinois, we have Professor
James Coldren, who is the project director. Good morning.
Professor James R. Coldren (Project Director, Smart Policing
Initiative): Good morning.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): We will begin, as
usual, with 10-minute statements from each of our witnesses before
we go to the first round of questions.
As northern communities and reserves go, we tend to go. If they're
having difficulties in the northern communities, we tend to see the
same difficulties here in the bigger city of Thunder Bay. Certainly it
is a daunting task for first nations policing to keep up. I know they
have difficulty recruiting and retaining people. I know that the recent
funding discrepancies have not helped in that endeavour.
One thing I want to get out was the absolute importance not just to
the northern communities but to the surrounding communities of
adequate funding for first nations policing.
The other thing I want to mention is that as we see more people
migrate into Thunder Bay and other communities from the northern
communities, we should be seeing funding from the federal level in
helping us deal with aboriginal issues. Our population here in
Thunder Bay is approximately 25% aboriginal and we do have a lot
of interactions with aboriginals. Having said that, we have what's
called an aboriginal liaison unit, which only has two officers in it.
We could use at least double that, if not more.
There needs to be a recognition that socio-economic situations
drive crime and disorder. I'm not speaking solely for Thunder Bay,
but certainly it is an issue here. Mental health, addictions, poverty,
homelessness, all those drive up crime rates and send us on an array
of calls that we consider disorder calls.
We'll begin this morning with Chief Levesque. Please go ahead.
Chief John Paul Levesque: Mr. Chair, and members of the
committee, good morning and thank you for the opportunity to
appear before you.
I'm assuming I was asked to appear before you to give a
perspective on policing in northern Ontario, with Thunder Bay being
the largest municipality in northwestern Ontario. Certainly, we have
some different challenges in policing the area.
One of the primary objectives for us in northwestern Ontario
specifically in policing is to develop strong and positive relations
within our first nations and aboriginal communities. It is a daunting
task. It is sometimes incident driven, where an incident will occur,
setting us back. It's one step forward and two steps back when
something occurs that is not always a positive spin on relations with
aboriginal people.
Particularly here in Thunder Bay, our fastest growing demographic is the aboriginal population, specifically people between the
ages of 15 and 35. While the rest of the population is aging here in
Thunder Bay, the demographic with respect to aboriginals is a
younger set.
Very quickly I will give you a stat from last year. The Thunder
Bay police made almost 3,000 arrests of intoxicated persons. That's
well above the national average and certainly puts us as number one
per capita in Ontario.
Another issue that we deal with not just in Thunder Bay but in
northwestern Ontario is domestic violence. We recently did some
research on what we do and how we do it, what types of calls we go
to, to try to develop a new deployment model. What we saw was that
a great deal of our calls—I mentioned the intoxicated persons we
have to deal with—are domestic violence calls. We deal with almost
3,000 calls for domestic violence a year in a city of 117,000 people.
Again, that is well above the national average and number one in the
province of Ontario.
There's no new money. My police services board made it very
clear that there's no new money. We had to create a unit by
collapsing another unit, so we're using the domestic violence unit to
take over from the front-line officers when they get a domestic
violence call. We're hoping that will free up officers to do more
proactive policing at the uniform level.
Calls dealing with violence, drugs, organized crime, and child
exploitation are examples of what the police should be concentrating
on, and again, not just here in Thunder Bay but provincially and
nationally. However, we're left dealing with many issues that are not
core functions of policing, as I mentioned, the disorder issues,
mental health issues, things of that nature.
Our resources are being eaten up in many different ways. On the
rise are things like elder abuse, youth crime, child pornography and
child exploitation, computer crimes and identity theft.
● (0950)
I have to mention that the loss of funding through the PORF, the
police officer recruitment fund, didn't help in this endeavour. We lost
two officers when we lost that funding.
There's a provincial strategy here in Ontario on child exploitation
and child pornography. There needs to be a strategy at the national
level to prevent and combat those types of crimes. Certainly, serious
discussions on civilianization, privatization, and two-tiered policing
need to occur. As an example, we have to do court security and
prisoner transportation here in Thunder Bay, so we use seven firstclass constables, who make $83,000 a year, and five special
constables, who make approximately $70,000 a year. That's pretty
high-priced help for guarding prisoners and transporting them from
the district jail to the courthouse.
Last, I'd like to mention that there needs to be legislation and
capital investment to allow for more technologically driven
enforcement of, for example, traffic laws. This would free up
officers and add to the public coffers.
Thank you.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): Thank you very much,
Chief Levesque.
Now we'll turn to Professor Coldren.
Prof. James R. Coldren: Mr. Chairman, and members of the
committee, I, too, would like to thank you for the opportunity to
speak with you this morning for a few moments on matters
pertaining to the economics and search for efficiencies in policing.
I thought I might offer a few comments on my background and
how I came to be involved in this work of policing. I'm a sociologist
from the University of Chicago. I've been doing research, mostly
evaluation research, in the criminal justice system for the past 30
years. Since about 1997, I've been involved in research and program
development on community policing, strategic approaches to
community safety, project-safe neighbourhoods here in the States,
and now I'm working on what we call smart policing, which I'll get
to in a minute.
In addition to my duties as a professor of criminal justice here at
Governors State University, I'm currently the national director of
training and technical assistance with CNA for the Bureau of Justice
Assistance Smart Policing Initiative.
One of the movements that's under way in policing in the U.S.
these days and probably elsewhere has to do with research and
measurement. Despite several generations of progress and innovation in policing, precious little is known about what actually works
June 13, 2013
in terms of police strategies and police tactics. There's a long history
of what we would refer to as shallow analysis and weak research
design in the assessment of police effectiveness. In the last 10 years
we have seen some progress in these areas, but there is much more to
be done.
I mention this because if we want to understand efficiencies, and if
we want to understand the economics of policing, we have to
measure things better, and we have to integrate good measurement
into the culture of policing. For example, a study in the United States
that was published in 2010 examined over 5,000 research reports on
the effectiveness of police tactics. This study found that of those over
5,000 reports, only 11 of them had sufficient methodological rigour
to warrant confidence in their findings. That was a very surprising
result to me. How can we make decisions about efficiencies if we
don't know with confidence which police approaches have the
effects that have been intended?
I've been involved for the past four years in an approach to
policing in the United States called smart policing. Smart policing is
kind of a funny name. It's not the opposite of dumb policing. We
think it represents a natural evolution in policing that relies heavily
on scientific research methods. Simply put, smart policing
encourages police agencies to collaborate with researchers in several
key areas: crime problem analysis; development of a response; the
development of solutions and interventions; monitoring and
assessment of those interventions, which we typically call process
evaluation, with real time feedback to the police agency on how
things are going; outcome and impact evaluation; and very
importantly, examining the issue of external validity. If a police
tactic or strategy is implemented in one area and researched
thoroughly and found to be effective, we have to ask ourselves
whether it would translate to any other jurisdiction.
More specifically, police agencies that adopt a smart policing
approach engage in one or more of the following approaches through
a strategic planning process. One is the deep analysis of crime and
public order and quality-of-life problems in their jurisdiction, which
often involves the collection and analysis of new data. There's the
development of place and offender-based prevention and intervention initiatives. I think more recently we are starting to see place and
offender based strategies together. Also, there are improvements and
enhancements in crime analysis and intelligence analysis, and rapid
delivery of the results of that analysis to patrol, as well as
technological enhancements of various kinds.
● (0955)
There are focused efforts at not only developing these new
approaches but integrating them into the agency so that they are
June 13, 2013
With respect to collaboration and outreach, I think we have coined
a phrase on smart policing. We call it “in reach”. This means if
you're introducing innovations into a police agency, you have to
communicate and collaborate as much with individuals within your
agency as you do with people outside of your agency.
I can also say that if you look at what's going on in smart policing,
few of these practices in and of themselves are new or innovative. It's
the engagement of the researcher that's different. It's the focus on the
elevation of crime and intelligence analysis in the agency that's
different. It's the utilization of technology to get better information to
cops on the street that's different. It's the assessment of impact using
rigorous research design that is different.
I'm not sure how my time is, but I could talk for a few minutes
about a couple of applications of smart policing if there's time for it.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): You have about three
minutes remaining.
Prof. James R. Coldren: Okay, let me mention one. This has
been fairly well documented by a researcher from Harvard
University. Maybe you've come across him. His name is Anthony
Braga. He is the research partner for the Smart Policing Initiative in
Boston. He engaged in an analysis of crime in what he calls “micro
places” in Boston. He identified over 8,000 street segments in
Boston and he was able to collect 30 years' worth of violent crime
data sorted and analyzed at these different micro places.
He was able to identify with some precision where the hotspots
were in Boston, and it wasn't just the hotspots; it was very small
geographic areas that had been hot for the better part of 30 years
consistently. The stability of these troublesome areas, these hotspots,
was incredible. They developed a safe street team approach, kind of
a problem-oriented approach to policing in these hotspots. He
studied them extensively. One of the more interesting things he
found in studying them is when left to their devices, the safe street
teams who developed problem-oriented approaches to these
problems were more likely to develop kind of social engagement
approaches, and not necessarily traditional police suppression
approaches. They were very successful through a comparative
analysis in reducing street robberies and violent street crimes by
about 17%.
I can just tell you from the work that we've done up there that in
the case of Boston, you have a researcher who is embedded in the
police organization, who has the ears of the police commissioner, as
well as the sergeants, lieutenants, and captains. He does analysis on
how things are going in the streets of Boston, and they change their
tactics and their approaches based on the analysis that Dr. Braga
provides them. That's an example of smart policing.
● (1000)
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): Thank you very much,
Professor Coldren.
We will now proceed to our first round of questions. There will be
seven minutes for questions and answers. We'll start with the
government side with Mr. Leef.
Mr. Ryan Leef (Yukon, CPC): Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to both of our witnesses, and welcome today.
Chief Levesque, we've heard a lot in committee from police forces
across the country. One of the things that does come up, of course, is
the continuing pressure on police budgets and the outstanding
request for more resources, both financial and human. The one thing
that's been a fairly consistent theme, which you touched on yet again
today, was that police are responding to a lot of non-core policing
things and have become, over the years, the agency of preferred
choice, not necessarily the last or the best. A number of the agencies
have been recognizing, despite their wishes for additional financial
support, that this may not be the answer in terms of delivering the
best policing models.
I know from my policing background in native northern
communities in Yukon Territory we would have said that if we
doubled our police numbers, we would be able to tackle this issue,
but truth be told, when there are mental health, drug addiction and
domestic violence issues, there are social challenges that need to be
dealt with elsewhere before a police agency is involved.
I don't think you touched on it much in your address, but what's
the Thunder Bay police force doing with regard to engaging in an
integrated approach with mental health services, with community
group social services? You mentioned homelessness and poverty.
How do you feel your agency is working on that front? What kind of
work is Thunder Bay doing to engage those groups to work with
them so that, for example, you don't have officers who aren't mental
health experts dealing with mental health issues, and you don't have
officers who aren't drug and alcohol addictions experts dealing with
common clients all of the time from a purely police perspective?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, off the top
of my head I can think of two initiatives right away.
As the Thunder Bay Police Service, we belong to the Thunder Bay
Crime Prevention Council in which 30-plus agencies are involved,
mental health, health, addiction services, all those types of things.
The professor touched on research. That committee is run by a
doctor. She has a Ph.D. in research and she helps us out with those
types of things. That's one thing.
The other side, the addiction part of it, is big for us. I can give you
an example. The needle exchange program here in Thunder Bay in
2011 gave out 660,000 needles but only collected 220,000, so we're
getting calls to pick up dirty needles all the time. That's not a police
The other side of that is that a managed alcohol program started up
recently. I mentioned earlier that we make 3,000 arrests for
intoxication every year. Probably 50 people make up about 80%
of those 3,000 arrests. The managed alcohol program is a 15-bed
facility that is trying to get the worst of the alcohol-addicted people
into this program and managing their alcohol, thereby freeing up our
resources as a police service.
● (1005)
Mr. Ryan Leef: Thank you for that.
You mentioned the needle exchange program. I'm fairly familiar
with that type of program in our territory. I don't know if they
pitched it the same way in Thunder Bay as they did in the north, but
it was basically promoted in the community as a safe needle
exchange program. Their branding was one-for-one needle exchange, which gave the community the perception that before a
needle was handed out, a needle was returned by a drug user.
Is that the same way it's sold in Thunder Bay? Obviously, you've
indicated that so many are going out but not so many are coming
back. Can you touch on that?
Is there a way the government can be involved at different levels,
or is there a different education path we need to take to make that
one-for-one notion a reality instead of only being a thought? It's not,
obviously, only a waste of police officers' time, but it's a serious
community safety issue to have needles lying around in the
Chief John Paul Levesque: Mr. Chair, I'm sorry I missed the first
part of the question. I probably missed the first five seconds of it, but
I think I got the gist of it.
I refer to it as a needle exchange program here in Thunder Bay.
Clearly it's not. When you're giving out over 600,000 and only
collecting 200,000, it's not an exchange program. It's certainly not a
one-for-one exchange. Superior Points which runs the program
doesn't refer to it as an exchange program. Certainly, a policy that
says it's one-for-one, as opposed to handing out to an individual a
box of 20 at a time and not getting any back, would be a big help to
Mr. Ryan Leef: You mentioned that your officers are doing court
transfers and prisoner transport. Are there available models or other
agencies in Thunder Bay, for example the RCMP, engaged in a
program to have the correctional staff do that? Of course, that would
be hinging on whether or not there are correctional staff available,
but can you outsource that particular responsibility at all?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, there are
two issues with that.
First, by law we're legislated to provide court security, not so
much prisoner transportation. But as the police agency, we must
provide security for the courthouse, as it's in our municipality.
The other part of that is that civilianization or privatization is very
tough with police association collective agreements. It's very
difficult to bring in part-time policing or other civilian agencies, or
to contract out, with the strong language we see in our collective
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): Be very brief, Mr.
Leef, please.
Mr. Ryan Leef: If I don't have much time then, I don't have any
more questions.
Thank you, gentlemen, for your time this morning.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): We'll now turn to the
opposition for seven minutes.
Mr. Rafferty.
June 13, 2013
Mr. John Rafferty (Thunder Bay—Rainy River, NDP): Thank
you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you both for being here.
I have a question for Professor Coldren.
Regarding the Smart Policing Initiative, you talked about Boston
and the targeted work and measurement that has gone on there. With
the way tactics have changed in Boston, would you have any idea
whether there is any way to have measured financial savings in that
particular case?
Prof. James R. Coldren: That's a very good question.
If I would mention one of the challenges we have in smart
policing and policing research generally, it's the cost-benefit piece.
Boston has not conducted, or at least has not published to my
knowledge, the cost-benefit analysis of that part of their work.
We know of several studies that have been done and if the
committee hasn't come across them, then I would be happy to
provide them. There have been several studies done on the cost of
policing and the cost of criminal justice processing for different
types of crime. I actually made a few notes about that and these costs
range greatly.
One study estimated the cost of a murder at $1.4 million, and
another study estimated the cost of a murder at $8.6 million. The
implication is if you reduce your homicide rate by 10%, you're
potentially introducing $10 million, $20 million, $30 million in
savings. But this methodology is not quite refined yet. It's hard these
days to put a good confident cost figure on these crime reductions.
● (1010)
Mr. John Rafferty: Chief Levesque, I want to ask a quick
question about the managed alcohol program. It's relatively new; I
know exactly when it started because the building is right across
from my office. It is a fairly small facility.
Could you say, or is it too early or impossible to tell, whether or
not that has reduced the number of calls you're getting to that part of
Chief John Paul Levesque: Unfortunately, I'm unable to answer
that question, Mr. Chair. It's early in the program, as Mr. Rafferty
pointed out. A comprehensive study is ongoing and the results of
that will be released in December.
Mr. John Rafferty: You talked about the domestic violence unit
and folding others into that unit. Am I correct in making the
assumption that it's not just officers who are in that unit, that perhaps
officers travel with mental health professionals, or people who are
particularly skilled at dealing with domestic violence? In other
words, could you perhaps expand a little bit on the unit?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, there are no
civilians in the unit. There are five detective constables and one
sergeant running the unit. We do engage civilians and other agencies
for training and things of that nature. Outside of victim assistance
workers who will show up at calls, they don't ride with our people. I
guess the answer to the question is no.
June 13, 2013
The domestic violence unit was set up, as I mentioned, to free up
front-line officers. For a domestic violence call here in Ontario
where there are charges laid, it takes anywhere from four to six hours
to complete all the paperwork, so you have two uniformed officers
tied up for that length of time. What we're trying to do is have the
uniformed officers get through the emergent part of the call, that is,
get things calmed down, get things settled down, get people
separated. Then this unit would step in and do all the follow-up
work, thereby freeing up the officers to do, as I said, more proactive
policing and be more visible on the street.
Mr. John Rafferty: I wonder if you could make some more
comments about the budgetary pressures you face and the reasons
for them. I know that police services right across Canada, municipal
services in particular, are being pressured by mayors and councils,
and ratepayers, to not continually year after year ask for a percentage
increase. I wonder if you could make a few more comments about
that, or just expand on your comments.
Chief John Paul Levesque: Here in Ontario it's interesting for
chiefs of police because the police associations bargain their
contracts with the police services board. The police services board
will settle the contract and chiefs are left to deal with it. As an
example, last year our officers received the 3% raise increase and,
along with a benefit increase, it worked out to 3.5%. The direction
from the board was to come in as close to zero in a budget increase
as I could. Well, 90% of our budget is wages and benefits, so without
cutting jobs, it was near impossible to come in at zero. I was actually
fairly pleased that we were able to come in at 3.5%, which is a very
bare-bones budget.
We need to find efficiencies, and I understand that. There's no new
money; it's been made very clear. Things like this domestic violence
unit are one of the ways we're hoping to free up resources, so maybe
we're not paying as much overtime for certain calls.
We're tied up at the hospital quite frequently for hours on end
waiting for a prisoner to be seen by a doctor. It's those types of
things. We're in negotiations with the hospital here locally to try to
free up our officers from those types of things.
● (1015)
Mr. John Rafferty: One of the other expenses we've heard about
quite extensively from various police services is not just courthouse
duty, but actually sitting in the courtroom for eight hours waiting for
a case to come up, and then it's remanded or some other sort of
situation. Often that's overtime for the police officer. How would you
characterize that kind of expense is happening in Thunder Bay?
Have you thought of some alternatives?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, we recently
did a study on just what you are talking about, and 82% of our
officers who attend court never testify. It's a bit of a shell game with
defence lawyers. They'll come in and they'll see if all the officers
who were called are there to testify. If they're all there, they'll plead
out their client. Our officers here in Thunder Bay get an automatic
four hours at time and a half, so six hours' pay just for showing up.
We—the deputy chief and I—recently met with the regional
crown attorney to address this issue. We're hoping that the new
courthouse, which has a lot of automation in it, is going to alleviate
some of those issues. Certainly, scanning the files more closely and
determining exactly which officers need to attend to testify and those
who don't will help.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): Thank you very much.
We'll now turn to Mr. Gill for seven minutes.
Mr. Parm Gill (Brampton—Springdale, CPC): Thank you, Mr.
I also want to thank our witnesses for taking the time to be with us
My question is for Chief Levesque. Chief, can you help us
understand the makeup of your community? You mentioned you
have about a 25% aboriginal community. Are there other community
challenges that you face which you may want to talk about?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, of the
challenges I cited in my opening remarks, the addictions issues and
mental health issues are huge for us. We spend a lot of time dealing
with people in situations. Somebody mentioned that the police are
responding to all sorts of things, and we basically have become what
we refer to as a social safety net. People don't know whom to call.
They find a handful of dirty needles in a park, and the police are
We're doing all kinds of things we shouldn't be doing as a police
service, and it's taking away from our ability to investigate serious
things like child exploitation, violent crimes, and things of that
I talked about the makeup of our city. I said the aboriginal
community is the fastest growing demographic. I also mentioned that
we have an aging population as well, so we're seeing a rather big
increase in crimes against elderly people, fraud in particular. In some
cases we're seeing some physical abuse through family members as
Mr. Parm Gill: What is the current population of Thunder Bay?
Chief John Paul Levesque: The current population of Thunder
Bay is 117,000.
Mr. Parm Gill: Could you also tell us how many police officers
and civilians you employ? What sort of overall budget numbers are
we dealing with?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Yes. Through you, Mr. Chair, we had
224 sworn police officers. We lost our funding through PORF, so it's
down to 222. We have another 93 civilians on top of that. We deal
with a budget of approximately $38 million.
Mr. Parm Gill: Could you briefly give us a breakdown of your
budget? What percentage is going toward salaries and other
Chief John Paul Levesque: Mr. Chair, 90% of our budget is
salaries, or wages and benefits. The other 10%, which is a very small
portion and certainly is not discretionary...we're experiencing an
increase in legal bills for discipline issues. We will have a large
inquest getting under way shortly. That's going to cost a lot in legal
The budget is being eaten up in a lot of different ways that it
wasn't traditionally.
Mr. Parm Gill: Does your force currently have any sort of
volunteer or auxiliary officer program?
● (1020)
Chief John Paul Levesque: We do not at this time. As part of the
overall deployment study we recently did, we just started a new
initiative called the zone watch program. It's a virtual neighbourhood
policing program. The city will be broken into five areas. People
who live in those areas or businesses in those areas can join the zone
watch program. They get some training through us. The other side of
that is, the same officers will be assigned to those areas for one to
two years. We're hoping they will get to know the people and the
businesses in the area. They will stay connected with these people in
the zone watch program via our website.
June 13, 2013
Chief John Paul Levesque: Mr. Chair, I mentioned a couple of
initiatives. What we're trying to do is find efficiencies by not having
our front-line officers tied up with things that are non-policing issues
and are not core functions of policing.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): Thank you very much.
We'll now turn back to the opposition side, to Mr. Scarpaleggia for
seven minutes.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.): Chief
Levesque, you mentioned at the outset that your core funding had
been cut. Did I understand that correctly?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Yes, we had funding for two police
officers, and it was cut at the end of March.
Mr. Parm Gill: Chief, you mentioned in your remarks that you're
having difficulty recruiting and retaining officers. Can you talk about
the challenges?
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: What was that core funding? Was it
the federal component, the police fund funding, or did your city cut
funding to your force? Can you clarify what this funding was?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Yes. Actually, that reference was to
first nations policing. Nishnawbe Aski and Anishinabekare having
all kinds of difficulties recruiting and retaining.
Chief John Paul Levesque: I'm sorry; I was referring to PORF,
the police officers recruitment fund, not core funding.
We are having some difficulties recruiting. We're not seeing nearly
the numbers we used to. In particular, if you talk about a police
service that's supposed to represent the community, 25% of our
officers should be aboriginal. That's not the case. That's nowhere
near the case.
You mentioned that it would be possible to get civilians to do such
things as collect needles instead of having to send an officer to do
that task. Is there anything that would stop your force from creating a
special unit, a civilian unit, to do that kind of work?
As hard as we try to recruit, it's just not a profession that most
aboriginal youth even consider.
Mr. Parm Gill: Chief, can you also tell us your thoughts on
further developing a whole-of-community effort to share information
among police, the judiciary, schools, mental health professionals,
and others?
Chief John Paul Levesque: I'm sorry. If you're looking for....
I mentioned our Crime Prevention Council, where we have all
kinds of partner agencies we deal with, children's aid societies,
Dilico Anishinabek Family Care, community groups. We meet
regularly. I'm not sure if that's what you're asking.
Is that the type of community involvement you're looking for?
Mr. Parm Gill: Yes.
Chief John Paul Levesque: Also, our officers are involved
heavily, in communities and provincially, on different boards and
committees. Our officers sit on more than 90 boards and committees
both provincially and municipally.
Mr. Parm Gill: As a chief of police you must deal with a variety
of problems balancing the needs and wants of the community against
the resources available to do a job. I'm assuming you must be
regularly called upon to make decisions that increase the efficiency
also of your force and its operations.
I'm wondering whether you can describe to us some of the
initiatives that you are currently undertaking or that you would like
to see.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): We have time for just a
very brief answer.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Ah, okay.
You're sending officers, and you said it would be less expensive to
send non-officers. Is there a reason that you can't, within your force,
set up your own group of non-officers, of civilians, to do that work?
Do you need special permission from the province to do so? What
stops you from cutting costs that way now?
● (1025)
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, I don't see
picking up dirty needles and used needles as a police function. I
would never—
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: I understand that—
Chief John Paul Levesque: I would never entertain starting a
unit that was solely civilian or otherwise that was responsible as the
lead agency for doing that kind of work.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: What you're saying is that it's costing
you money to do this. How would you go about getting out of that
business, if you will? What do you need to do to ensure that this is
not your responsibility?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Mr. Chair, what we're seeing is that
the organization, Superior Points, that runs the needle exchange
program here will do that type of work during the day. They're a
civilian-based agency.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Okay, so it's being done.
Chief John Paul Levesque: It's the after hours situation in which
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Are you trying to address that issue?
It seems to be in limbo: you don't want to do it, and you don't think
it's right for you to be doing it, but there's no end in sight for your
force's doing it.
June 13, 2013
Chief John Paul Levesque: Without funding to the organization
to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I don't see it changing. We're a
24/7 operation and that's who gets the calls.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Okay, good.
You mentioned that child exploitation investigation should be
moved from the local level to the national level. Did I understand
that correctly?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Here in Ontario we have a provincial
strategy for most types of crimes. There needs to be more of a
national strategy on this, because it is not just provincial, municipal,
national, it's international, and it's growing exponentially.
I met with the OPP head of that unit earlier this week, and the
amount of child exploitation and child luring that's going on, even
for me—I'm a 27-year veteran—is mind-boggling.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: So right now you don't have access to
federal resources, whether it be databases or technical assistance
from the RCMP. You don't have access to that right now. Is that what
you're saying?
think it would be practical for each individual agency to hire a Ph.D.
trained researcher.
There's an interesting interplay between a researcher—an
academic or a trained researcher—and a crime analysis or
intelligence analysis function in a police agency. In some cases,
the analysis function in the agency is quite strong so the reliance on
the researcher is not so great. In other cases, the crime analysis
function in a police agency is actually quite weak, and then external
assistance probably would be more needed.
I think it's the analytical capacity that's at issue here, and I would
argue—I argue quite frequently—that police leaders should invest
more in research and analytic capacity, and that will in fact produce
● (1030)
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): Thank you very much,
Professor Coldren.
If you're saying it needs to be moved up to a national level, does it
mean you're not getting help at the national level, just the provincial
level at this point?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, I have two
officers who belong to our computer crime unit who are part of the
provincial strategy on child exploitation and child luring. I wouldn't
say we don't have the resources of the RCMP when required, but
they are not part of the task force. Certainly here locally we have an
excellent relationship with the RCMP and the Ontario Provincial
Police, and we will request their resources quite often.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: But they should be part of your local
task force, essentially, is what you seem to be saying.
Chief John Paul Levesque: That would be a big help because
they do have far more resources than we can ever come up with.
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia: Thank you.
Mr. Coldren, in terms of smart policing, how would you envisage
this working?
I am going to preach for my own parish now. I studied labour
relations, work organization and resource management. One of the
big mistakes organizations make is often the lack of holistic analyses
and approaches and, I would say as well, of resource planning. The
management of resources is not only financial management, but also
the management of material attributed to human resources. But there
is not enough monitoring of that.
Each police force would have a researcher. I won't say a team of
researchers because then it gets expensive, but they would have
someone who would try to quantify the costs of actions and the
benefits that would flow from those actions.
What you seem to be saying is within a police force you would
need a position dedicated to that kind of analysis, somebody who is,
and I think you used the word “embedded”, if I'm not mistaken. Is
that how you see this rolling out? Every police force in the country
would have at least one person, and that person, being a researcher,
would have access to the latest studies on policing, whether they had
been done at a university, or at some kind of national, regional, or
state think-tank. Is that what you're suggesting?
Prof. James R. Coldren: I think about this in several ways.
It's important to think about increasing and enhancing the analytic
capacity of police agencies generally. Again, my experience is in the
States primarily. The large majority of police agencies in the United
States of America are actually small to medium-sized, and I don't
We will now have a second round of five-minute questions. We
will begin with Mr. Rousseau.
Mr. Jean Rousseau (Compton—Stanstead, NDP): Thank you
very much, Mr. Chairman.
Gentlemen, welcome to both of you.
Mr. Coldren, as I was listening to you, I realized that we are not
doing enough to measure the effectiveness of our police forces, since
it is not part of their culture.
There are three questions I often ask myself in my capacity of
manager. What are our human resources doing on the ground? Are
they efficient and useful? Are they doing a good job?
I will leave you whatever time is left over to convince my
colleagues. This study is ending and I think that my main conclusion
is that resources are not being managed well, be they human or
material or financial.
Prof. James R. Coldren: Thank you, sir. I would respond in two
I tend to agree with you. I think the police leader and the police
manager of today have to be quite adept at this approach, this type of
analysis you're talking about, and I don't believe they're trained that
way. I know when chiefs get to the executive level they get a fair
amount of training and education in leadership and dynamic
organizational approaches, but in the United States we don't see
that being implemented fully across the country when they're
working in their agencies. We do argue for this more holistic
approach to the work of policing, this more holistic approach to
analysis. As I said before, we think that will produce efficiencies.
I want to refer the committee to one study, and if you haven't come
across this I'll be happy to provide it as well. It was done in 2010 and
came from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. It looked at
the rising cost of policing and identified several reasons for a 10-year
to 15-year incremental increase in cost of policing.
Chief Levesque is right. One of the primary drivers of the cost of
policing has been the increasing expectation that police do more
things that are not necessarily directly related to order, maintenance,
and public safety, and that's actually true. But I think that kind of
begs the question, if you want to introduce new efficiencies into
policing, you have to radically rethink what it is we're asking the
police to do and how we're asking them to do it. This paper actually
makes reference to what I think are several very interesting points in
terms of how we get a return on our investment and what produces
the greatest efficiencies.
For example, the authors of this paper point out that using
technology to introduce efficiency—we call it here a force multiplier
—actually tends to introduce incremental marginal efficiencies that
are wiped out by the rising inflationary costs. So if you're going to
radically introduce efficiencies into policing, you have to completely
rethink what the roles of the police officer and the police agency are
in society, and what you expect from them.
June 13, 2013
You have two officers assigned to your aboriginal liaison office.
What percentage of crimes are committed by the 25% aboriginal
population in Thunder Bay? Do you have numbers on that?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, I'm sorry I
don't have those figures.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Would you say it's disproportionate to 25%?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, that's not
something I'd want to be guessing about, so unless I had the numbers
in front of me, I don't think it would be a good idea to guess.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: I understand that. I'm a little surprised, given
the high percentage of aboriginal population in Thunder Bay and
given the experience we've had across the country—I can only speak
for Edmonton and I don't have hard numbers—I know they are
disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. That's a
pretty commonly accepted fact across the country.
Would it make sense to assign a couple more from your 222
uniformed police officers to that unit? You said that you'd like to
double them. Would that pay some longer-term dividends in terms of
reducing the...? You talked about how 50 people accounted for 80%
of the intoxication arrests. Do you think that assigning more to that
aboriginal liaison unit might pay some dividends down the road?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, I believe it
would certainly help, if nothing else, in building relationships with
the aboriginal community. The liaison officers don't do a lot of
enforcement. They are truly liaison officers who do a lot of
community work. I would take any funding anybody—the province,
the federal government, the municipality—was prepared to give, and
increase that unit, if I could. That's not going to happen.
I don't think—
● (1035)
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): Thank you, Professor
Coldren. I'll have to stop you there.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: I'd suggest to you, from my point of view—
obviously, I don't live there and you do—that a little bit of extra
effort, on the one hand, in the short term would pay dividends in the
long term.
We'll turn back to the government side, and Mr. Hawn.
Hon. Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre, CPC): Thank you very
much, Mr. Chair.
Thank you to both witnesses for being here.
Chief Levesque, before I get to some questions, I want to ask if
you could send that study you did on court costs in terms of police
officer time and money and so on, to the committee. I believe you
talked about how 82% of police time in the courthouse is wasted.
Could you send any data on that to the committee?
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, absolutely.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: Thank you so much.
We've heard a lot about reaction to crime, but I want to talk a little
bit about prevention. As you said, your police force is 315 civilian
and police right now. It was 317 before what was clearly identified as
temporary funding under the PORF was stopped, as it was predicted
to do. That's impacted you by less than 1%.
You talked about representation on various councils, and so on,
with the social network, housing, mental health, and so on. Other
police forces—Prince Albert comes to mind—have used a much
more aggressive approach in putting not just police officers, but
people involved in housing, mental health, addictions, education,
and so on, on the ground, to intervene in those smaller percentages
of people or families who are involved in a disproportionate way in
the criminal justice system. Would something like that make sense to
● (1040)
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, I'm familiar
with the Prince Albert model. I would agree that it is something we
certainly would consider, and are considering. I can tell you our
deputy chief here in Thunder Bay is a member of our local Crime
Prevention Council. It is something he will be bringing to the next
council meeting.
June 13, 2013
The reason for that is you have all the key players at the table. It's
an easy place to bring it up and see what kind of input you get and
see if there's any desire from the other agencies involved.
Hon. Laurie Hawn: I would encourage you because from our
experience with the committee and in visiting other places, the other
agencies—I know I'm again speaking for Edmonton—are desirous
of getting involved. I'd be surprised if it wasn't the same way in
Thunder Bay.
Professor Coldren, you talked about “in reach”. I think that is very
important. You obviously have to get buy-in from folks who are out
there doing the job. In your experience with that and working with
various forces, were there any sort of aha moments, “Holy cow, I get
that; it makes sense”?
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): There will be time for
just a very brief answer.
Prof. James R. Coldren: I think that's true. I'll give one example.
In Memphis, Tennessee, they were facing a pretty serious
residential burglary problem. They did again what I would call
one of these shallow analyses, and they figured out that the police
districts with the highest residential burglary rates were the districts
where most of the returning offenders from prison were going. It's a
very common analysis in the States; it probably happens in Canada
as well. They immediately fixed on a collaboration with parole and
police to address this burglary problem. They hired a researcher from
the University of Memphis who took a more careful look at the
issue. What he found was a very strong link between truancy and
residential burglary by youth.
In a very short amount of time there was this aha moment that they
were going down the entirely wrong path because of their traditional
reliance on the data that they normally use to analyze these
problems. Once they did a little intelligence work and had some
focus groups in the community, and did some collaborative work,
they had a completely different understanding of the problem they
were facing. They clearly took a very different approach.
Things like that happen quite frequently.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): Thanks, Professor
I will now give the floor to Ms. Michaud, who has the last four
Ms. Élaine Michaud (Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, NDP):
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank our two witnesses for their presentation.
My questions are for Mr. Levesque.
At a committee, it seems that it was highly recommended that you
make more of an effort and try to apply different models, including
the Prince Albert model. In your opinion, what would constrain you
from fully implementing that model?
You already spoke of funding. If there is anything you have not
said about that, you could do so now.
In short, what other things are preventing you from applying that
Chief John Paul Levesque: Through you, Mr. Chair, I'm sure it's
not just our organization, but the limitations are the resources to put
towards it, and the desire from other agencies. As one of the
members suggested, and as you have seen, it is much desired in other
communities. As I mentioned, it is something we will be bringing
forward as a preventative concept to engage other community
organizations to help us.
Ms. Élaine Michaud: Thank you.
A little earlier, in your presentation, you talked about the Thunder
Bay Crime Prevention Council, which brings together about thirty
organizations in your region. They get together to discuss certain
problems. Can you tell us a little more about what they are currently
Chief John Paul Levesque: Mr. Chair, the group is the
connection with all the agencies that we feel should be at the table.
I used to be on the committee myself when I was the deputy chief.
It's that connectivity with the other organizations and discussing
the issues we're seeing that are not just police issues, but issues with
other social agencies, children's aid societies, and things of that
nature. There's some policy work being done. There's work being
done with community groups, such as beautifying areas and some
crime prevention through.... Ergonomic development is being done.
That's the kind of work we're seeing through that council.
● (1045)
Ms. Élaine Michaud: Thank you very much.
The Vice-Chair (Mr. Randall Garrison): Thank you very much.
Unfortunately, we're out of time for this morning. Our analysts
will be in touch with Chief Levesque and Professor Coldren for
some follow-up material. I would advise the committee that there
may be some delay in distribution, as we presume the American
material is available in English only and will have to be translated
before it is distributed.
I'd like to thank both witnesses for a very interesting session this
morning. We will be in touch with you.
The meeting is adjourned.
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