Police Services Board Changes Suggested

Sarnia Police Services Board with newest member John Girard on the left. June 4, 2015 (BlackburnNews.com Photo by Briana Carnegie)

A Sarnia council sub-committee says city councillors should be automatically excluded from serving as chair or vice-chair of police services boards.

The committee was formed earlier this year to provide input as the Community Safety and Correctional Services Ministry looks to rewrite the Ontario Police Services Act, something that hasn’t been done in over 25 years.

Chair Cindy Scholten and council colleagues Matt Mitro and Brian White also suggest that term limits be introduced for those serving on the boards to avoid decisions being based solely on political considerations.

Mayor Mike Bradley is a long-term member of the local police board and has served many years as chair.

Scholten says they divided their report based on two sections.

“The first was basic recommendations for AMO [Association of Municipalities Ontario], which we did suggest supporting,” says Scholten. “The second section was other problems and concerns we felt should also be endorsed by AMO.”

She says the guide asked how we wanted to be policed in the future, how service can be improved and communication between police service boards and councils can be increased.

Scholten says it also discussed ways to move forward and figure out ways to save money.

“There were a lot of good examples. Like moving toward hiring civilian employees, versus special constables, for things like animal welfare complaints, public events for paid duty, modernizing and expanding the use of technology etc,” she says.