Police chief outlines priorities to business crowd
October 25, 2023 By Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Oct. 25, 2023, Thunder Bay, Ont. – Thunder Bay Police Chief Darcy Fleury told business owners how his first five months have been focused on three objectives: structure, enforcement and community engagement.
Fleury was the keynote speaker at the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce’s speaker series at the Slovak Legion on Tuesday. He said those priorities reflect what’s going on in the community, the things that they need to do as an organization and how everyone can work together.
“We looked at the things that we’re doing right now and (identified) the things that are really important,” he said.
As part of the restructuring, the organization and its board are following key recommendations and a second administrative deputy chief will be appointed for administration, human resources and finance, as well as all relationships including Indigenous relations.
“The structure of the organization also is about creating a learning environment,” Fleury said. “What it comes down to is empowering our people to do the best we can, giving them all the tools that they need, the education, the guidance, the opportunities and skills, to really perform their duties and to advance in their careers. When I arrived, there was a different style of leadership here. But the style that we’ve taken on is one of autonomy . . . which is really important when you’re trying to be progressive and modernize the course.”
The second of the priorities, which the chief called “an overall arching priority,” is the rebuilding of the trust with Indigenous communities. The police chief said good progress in communication with them is being made.
The third priority, their enforcement strategy, is focusing on guns and gangs crimes.
“We have an emphasis on that focus to really put some efforts on taking on these crime groups, and the people that have committed these offences,” he said, adding they have developed some good partnerships to help with the work on this.
Fleury said they want people to feel safe and enjoy themselves in the community while visiting the different markets and stores, and encourage conversation with the business community to ensure this.
“To have that, I need their input to see what they’re faced with and what we can do to work towards that,” he said, noting he has so far met with two local business associations of the four.
“I’ve only started talking to them . . . and I need to hear more as to where we need to be more of a presence. If there’s some urgency, then obviously we send our response to it.”
Charla Robinson, chamber president, says there are things that business operators can do to try to make sure that they don’t encourage crime.
Robinson told the chief that for many years, business owners have been asked not to call 911, but instead call SOS if they have someone hanging around their business who is maybe intoxicated, sleeping or harassing their patrons.
“We don’t have the SOS anymore,” she said.
Fleury says business owners should call 911 but they may not get a response due to the severity of the call.
“Whether it’s a broken window, or you’ve been broken into and something has been stolen, you do need to report that because that’s important,” Robinson said.
– The Chronicle-Journal
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