North Bay Police Chief Shawn Devine says he has mixed feelings about possible changes to the Police Act.
The Ford government announced yesterday new legislation called the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019.
The Conservative government says if passed, this legislation will finally fix the previous government’s Bill 175, which treated police with suspicion while making it increasingly difficult for them to do their jobs.
Devine does support a portion of the Act which would streamline the SIU investigation process.
“I am very pleased to see is that investigations involving serious allegations such as police shootings are going to be dealt with in 90 days,” noted Devine, who will be retiring officially from the North Bay Police Service this June.
“That is one that the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police have been pushing for, to have an incident which someone has been involved in an on-duty shooting which they are waiting a year to find out the consequences of that action. It can only be horrific on the mental health of our members, so seeing that being resolved is quite good.”
However, Devine is disappointed that nothing has changed relating to suspending officers without pay - which has been a controversial subject with the local service for the past few years.
“The portions that I heard regarding the ability for chiefs to suspend members in serious situations without pay has not changed,” said Devine.
“I find that unfortunate.”
Devine, who has been on the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police for seven years, believes the province should have consulted with the Chiefs before making these changes.
“I know there was a lot of input from the police associations but very little involvement from the Chiefs of Police who actually have to administer this legislation,” he said.