Friday, April 11, 2008

Timmins Police chief says more recruits needed

The Timmins Police Service has “critical” need for more officers and at least one city councillor wonders if enough is being done to attract white young males.
The issue was discussed this week when Timmins Police Chief Richard Laperriere presented his department’s new business plan to council.
Laperriere mentioned that recruitment for the service “is a critical issue.” He says Timmins police is looking to hire 20 new officers in the next three years to replace officers who retire or move to other communities.
“Our challenge, and it’s a real challenge, is we have to do more in regards to the recruitment of female and aboriginal candidates,” the chief told council.
Councillor Gary Scripnick told the chief he had seen several summer students who worked at his business trying to get hired on as police recruits.
“. . .WHITE YOUNG MALE. . .”
“It does concern me that if you are a white young male the chances of getting on the Timmins Police force are getting smaller because you’re trying to get these proportions of females and aboriginals,” Scripnick said.
“I know that’s the proper way to go,” he commented, “but a white young male seems to have a hard time to get in, because we’re trying to proportion our forces.”
The chief responded that it’s difficult to attract any candidates at the present, but “I think we still have a mandate in regards to being representative of the community.”
Laperriere told council that five years ago, Timmins police would put out a call for recruits and get 75 applications.
“On our last intake, we had eight,” said the chief.
Councillor Denis Saudino wondered if the hiring process was too expensive in that applicants must pay several hundred dollars up front, just to get to the interview process.
The chief says it’s a common and accepted practice among police services in Ontario that applicants must reach an accepted standard being being considered.
“Our pool right now is limited. They have to meet a certain set standard and if they don’t meet that standard, then basically we can’t give them an offer to hire,” said Laperriere.
In his report, the chief also told council that the police service is being run more efficiently that most. The average cost per capita for policing in Ontario is $240. In Timmins, Laperriere said the figure is only $224.
Laperriere says Timmins Police is also working to reduce incidents of violent crime and youth crime. He says youth crime will be partially addressed in 2009 with an effort to appoint a First Nations liaison officer
“There will be real growth in our aboriginal population and we need to do more,” he told council.
The chief also said there will be stepped-up enforcement of aggressive driving in Timmins with a crackdown on speeding offences. It’s hoped this will result in fewer accidents and fewer personal injuries. He says police are working to set up an aggressive driver hotline, where motorists can call in to report bad drivers.

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