[Fwd: The Politics of Policing]

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@arcos.org)
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 12:00:38 -0400


---------forwarded message---------

> Kingston Whig Standard 4/17/98
>
> Prison policy angers chief
>
> Brent Davis
>
> Kingston Police Chief Bill Closs is fuming over the OPP's request to
> transfer police jurisdiction for Joyceville and Pittsburgh institutions to
> the city police.
> "It's dirty policing politics," he said. "This request amounts to nothing
> more than the Government of Ontario downloading to the municipality through
> the OPP." Closs was arguing the proposal with OPP Inspector Dale Linton
> during the
> Police Services Board meeting yesterday. The prisons, located in the former
> Pittsburgh Township, are still under the jurisdiction of the Penitentiary
> Squad. The squad has nine OPP officers, two Corrections Canada officers and
> one
> city police officer. The OPP feel that, since Kingston Police took over
> jurisdiction of Pittsburgh Township on Jan. 1, it is only natural that
> Kingston Police should also take over jurisdiction of the two prisons.
>
> Inspector Linton termed the Pen Squad a "specialized support service." He
> said that when the need for the service becomes a full-time commitment, as
> in the case of the Pen Squad, "it is reasonable to expect the municipality
> to take control" of that service. Linton indicated that the Provincial
> Police Services Act mandates the OPP to make this sort of request. If the
> situation did not
> require a full-time commitment, the OPP is entitled to charge the
> municipality for its services. Closs viewed such a move as provincial
> "Harris-ment" and said that "as municipal taxpayers, we will become the
> victims of downloading by Ontario's government and Ontario's police. "I
> refuse to reduce our level of service to law-abiding citizens by diverting
> it to convicted offenders locked up in federal
> institutions," he said.  Linton insisted that this request was "not an
> affront or attack on the citizens of Kingston."  Closs said that during the
> debate over who would police the former Pittsburgh Township last fall, the
> government was willing to overlook charging the municipality for the Pen
> Squad service. However, once the OPP lost the contract, "the government
> wants to apply those costs to our municipal taxpayers," Closs said.  He
> wondered why the OPP had not made a similar request of the federal
> government. "We're talking about the federal government's federal
> institutions, on federal property, staffed by federal employees to supervise
> federally sentenced offenders from anywhere and everywhere in Canada ...
> Where would one get the impression that any part of the equation
> necessarily includes a single municipality or its police?"  Closs had an
> answer to his own question. "It's quite simple: we're the little guy, a
> much easier target to hit at."
>
> In addressing the issue of federal responsibility, Linton said that
> discussion with the federal government was ongoing. "If it becomes a
> federal matter, we'll all be happy. But right now, we need to resolve this
> on a local level," Linton said. He defended the OPP's request. "In the
> short term, should we continue to
> accept a responsibility that we don't think is ours?" Board member Mayor
> Gary Bennett echoed Closs' concern over municipal policing in federal
> institutions, and said that "the province put the wrong address on the bill
> - it should be going to the federal government, not the municipality.  "If
> we just accept this responsibility, we'll be writing cheques for the next
> 100 years," Bennett added.
>
> Closs urged the board to reject the request, and said that he will not
> stand for an increase in municipal taxes should the city be forced to
> absorb the costs of policing the institutions.  "I will not accept
> responsibility for this exclusive area of policing and certainly not at the
> expense of the Kingston taxpayer," Closs
> said, adding "I will not put the safety of Kingston citizens and police
> response time in second place." Board chairman Jim Clark said that the
> request was "taken under advisement." It is expected that the issue will be
> discussed further at the provincial, and perhaps the federal, level.
>
> THE POLITICS OF POLICING
>
> What: Debate over police jurisdiction of federal institutions at a Police
> Services Board meeting yesterday afternoon
>
> The issue: OPP have requested that the city force take over responsibility
> for policing the Joyceville and Pittsburgh institutions Why: OPP contend
> that the two institutions now fall under municipal jurisdiction as the city
> police force is responsible for the former Pittsburgh Township
> Problem: Kingston Police Chief Bill Closs sees this as a further
> downloading of provincial costs on municipalities



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